Thursday, October 1, 2020

Egyptian Kings--

Muhammed Ali Pasha
Wali of Egypt & Sudan

Muhammad Ali Pasha
Wali of Egypt
Khedive of Egypt & Sudan.

Son of: Ibrahim Agha, tobacco & shipping merchant & Zeinab.

"Muhammad Ali's family was large, with a number of wives and mistresses. The wives that we know of include Amina Nosrati, his first and apparently a divorced woman, by whom he would father five children, including his successor Ibrahim, along with two other sons and two daughters, Ayn al Hayat, from whom he would father only one child, Mohammed Said, Namchaz, from whom he fathered only one child, Ziba Khadiga, from whom he fathered one child. However, there were many other wives and mistresses, and many other children. Indeed, his family is well beyond the scope of this article." (Muhamma Ali Pasha @Tour Egypt)

"Muhammad Ali had 9 wives and many mistresses, he had 8 

Husband of:
1. Amina Nosrati
widow of Ali Bey.
2. Ayn al Hayat.
3. Khadija Ziba
4. Mah-Duran
5. Mumtaz.
6. Namchaz
7. Nuraj
8. Shama Nur
9. Shams-i-Nur
10. Shams uz-Zafar
11. Zepha.

His lovers were:
Midhat Pasha

His lover was:
"...The museum is alternatively known as the Kaliopa House.  According to legend, the Turkish governor, Madhat Pasha, gave the house to his reputed mistress, Calliope, the beautiful Greek wife of the Prussian ambassador." (Watkins & Deliso, 2008, p. 270)
Ismail Pasha of Egypt
Khedive of Egypt
Son of Ibrahim Pasha & Hoshiar Khushiyar.

Admirer of Empress Eugenie of France.
"To say that Ismail Pasha was besotted by French culture is putting it mildly. Having loitered two full years in the court of Napoleon III in Paris, the khedive had developed a keen taste for all things French. He had, too, fallen deeply in love with the French empress Eugenie. So head over heels in love was the young khedive with the beautiful and glamorous French empress that he desperately tried to impress her with all sorts of extravagant and reckless gifts. He ordered, for example, the construction of splendid palaces along the Nile and sumptuous villas solely to induce her to visit Egypt (which she never did). He even went as far as trying to rebuild Cairo as a 'Paris on the Nile.' Amazingly, Ismail Pasha openly declared to his baffled compatriots that our country [Egypt] is no longer in Africa; we are now part of Europe. It is therefore natural for us to abandon our former ways and to adopt a new system adapted to our social conditions.'" (The Soul of Ancient Egypt: Restoring the Spiritual Engine of the World)

His lovers were:
Blanche d'Antigny
1) Blanche d'Antigny (1840-1874)
French actress and courtesan.
Blanche d'Antigny
Daughter of: Jean Antigny, a sacristan at a local church & Eulalie-Florine Guillermain.

"Blanche (born Marie-Ernestine Antigny), is widely believed to have been the inspiration for Emile Zola’s infamous courtesan, Nana. She certainly met Nana’s physical description, burnt through money at the same rate, and died a similar death to the heroine at the young age of 33. A part-time actress, she could list a Russian prince, Maharajahs and French bankers amongst her conquests. She kept a magnificent set of rooms in Paris, draped with turquoise satin and populated by liveried footmen, where she threw extravagant parties for her friends. She is infamous for appearing in public draped in diamonds." (Decadent Handbook's Blog) [Bio3:Amis et Passiones] [Bio4:Amis] [Bio5:Mossman] [Bio6] [Bio7:Blanche d'Antigny Blog]

" . . Blanche d'Antigny was 'imported' to Russia by its (sic) Prince only to be exported by the Empress, whom she had offended by buying a dress which was supposed to have been reserved for her Royal Highness. She is considered to be the model on whom Emile Zola based his famous courtesan Nana. . . ." (Writing with a Vengeance: n.p. )

2) Caroline Otero.

3) Hortense Schneider.
"Ismail, a nineteenth-century Medici and the founder of modern Egypt, reflected the dichotomies of the age.  Perfectly happy to have his finance minister strangled to death in the palace he had built for his beloved Eugenie, he posed in Europe as the perfect gentleman.  In Paris he probably shared the actress-courtesan, Hortense Schneider, as his mistress with Edward Prince of Wales. . . ." (Egypt's Belle Epoque: Cairo and the Age of the Hedonists: 2)
Queen Nazli Sabri of Egypt

Her lovers were:
1. Riad Ghali (1919-1978)
Egyptian diplomat."

Nazli Fouad, 83, former Queen of Egypt whose life shifted from palaces on the Nile to bankruptcy and family tragedy, died Monday at her Beverly Hills home. Mrs. Fouad was wife of King Fouad and mother of Egypt's last king, Farouk. She had lived in Southern California for nearly 30 years -- ever since her royal title and $5,000 a month allowance were stripped by Farouk, who was angered when his sister, Princess Fathia, married an Egyptian commoner, Riad Ghali, a diplomat assigned to the traveling royal party. Fouad had died in 1936. The former queen was barred fro returning to Egypt, and lived in exile in a 28 room mansion, which ultimately was sold as her fortunes dwindled. The family's extensive property in Egypt was confiscated after Farouk was ousted in a 1952 coup. Egypt was proclaimed a republic in 1953. The former queen and her daughter, who had separated from her husband, filed for bankruptcy in 1973 and subsequently auctioned off more than $140,000 worth of Mrs. Fouad's jewels to pay for steadily mounting debts. Mrs. Ghali worked briefly that year as a cleaning woman. Three years later, Mrs. Ghali, 45, was shot to death while visiting her estranged husband in his $200 a month West Lost Angeles apartment. Ghali, 57, was sent to state prison after his conviction on manslaughter charges. Mrs. Fouad spent her last years in a Beverly Hills home provided by friends. She is survived by a daughter, Princess Faiza Rauf of Westwood, two grandsons and a granddaughter." (Daytona Beach Morning Journal, June 22, 1978)

Fuad I of Egypt
Sultan of Egypt & Sudan 1917
9th King of Egypt & Sudan 1922
Sovereign of Nubia, Kordofan & Darfur.
1st Rector of Cairo University 1908-1913

Son ofIsmail Pasha & Farial Kadin.

Husband of:
1. Shivakiar Khanum Effendi (1876-1947)
Egyptian princess

Daughter of Prince Ibrahim Fahmi Ahmad Pasha, Field Marshal
mar 1895, div 1898.
Queen Nazli of Egypt
2. Nazli Sabri (1894-1978)

Daughter of Abdu'r-Rahim Pasha Sabri, Minister of Agriculture, Governor of Cairo

" . . . Queen Nazli had no shortage of fun herself. At the time of Farouk's Wedding, she began a celebrated affair with her son's tutor, Ahmed Mohammed Hasanein, a famous soldier, scholar and explorer. Then she took up with a young diplomat, a Coptic Christian named Riad Ghali, who she married off to her daughter, Farouk's little sister. The three of them moved to Beverly Hills, where they lived together. It all became too much for Farouk when mother and daughter converted from Islam to Catholicism. He confiscated their lands and banished them from Egypt forever." (Sex Lives of the Great Dictators: 44)

His lover was:
Mrs. Suarez.

"The fact that Irene was Jewish did not bother Farouk. In fact, it rather counted in her favour. His father, Fuad, had a Jewish mistress, Mrs. Suarez, for twenty years. She even arranged his first marriage for him to his nineteen-year-old cousin, Princess Shevekar. The princess was one of the wealthiest in Egypt. Fuad had crippling gambling debts and Mrs. Suarez steered the princess's money into investments with her Jewish friends, who turned an already great fortune into a vast one. Mrs. Suarez also pressured the British into putting Fuad on the throne, even though he was not, strictly speaking, next in line of succession. She died in his arms, waltzing at a ball, and he spent the rest of his life mourning her." (Sex Lives of the Great Dictators: 45)

Russian Empresses & Regents----

Catherine I of Russia

Daughter of: Samuel Skowronski, a Lithuanian peasant of Polish origin, & Dorothea Hahn.

Wife of:
1. Johan Cruse, a.k.a. Johann Rabbe, a Swedish dragoon, mar 1702

2. Pyotr I the Great, Emperor of Russia, mar 1707.

"A servant girl, Martha Scavronsky, made a great career in the Russian court. In her native Lithuania during the war she was taken by the Russian soldier. Then she caught the eye of Prince Boris Sheremetyev, who purchased her for one ruble and made her one of his many mistresses. Prince Alexander Menshikov, tsar's favorite 'borrowed' her for himself. Peter I saw Martha in Menshikov's house and ordered, 'When I go to bed, you, beauty, take a candle and light the way.' According to the 'etiquette' that meant she was obliged to sleep with the tsar. In the morning Peter paid her with a copper coin. Peter had granted himself this modest sum for love expenses when still a young man and all his life he strictly followed the tariff. Later, though, the tsaar married Martha and she became Catherine I, Empress of Russia. She gave Peter three children and proved a fit companion for the restless monarch." (Best of Russia)

A life of very little claim to chastity.
"Catherine, the second wife of Peter the Great, whatever might be her other recommendations, had little claim to the virtue of chastity. Her origin was low, as she was the illegitimate daughter of a Livonian peasant. With no opportunity of education, she lived for some years in a menial capacity in the household of a clergyman, when she married a Swedish dragoon, who shortly afterwards went with his regiment on a distant expedition, and never returned. She then resided with the Russian general Bauer, either as servant or paramour, a delicate question which remains involved in obscurity. Prince Menzikoff accidentally saw her, became enamoured of her charms, and received her from his brother soldier. While living with the prince, Peter noticed her, and the obsequious vassal surrendered his prize, who thus became the mistress, and after some years, the empress of the great reforming Czar, over whom she retained her influence to the hour of his death, when she was proclaimed his successor, in utter violation of the solemn agreement by which the house of Romanoff had been placed in the throne." (Russia and the Russians: 52)

Yekaterina I's physical appearance & personal qualities.

" . . . Here before him (Peter the Great) was a sturdy, healthy, appealing girl in the full bloom of youth. She was far from a classic beauty, but her velvet black eyes, her thick blond hair (which she later dyed black to lighten the appearance of her sun-tanned skin) and her full, womanly bosom already had caught the eye of a field marshal and a future prince; the Tsar was no less observant." (Peter the Great: His Life and World: 373)

"His new wife had qualities which Peter had never found in another woman. She was warm, merry, merry, compassionate, kind-hearted, generous, adaptable, comfortable, robustly healthy and possessed of great vitality. . . ." (Peter the Great: His Life and World: 375)

Catherine I's lovers were:
Boris Petrovich Sheremetev
1) Boris Sheremetev (1652-1719)
Russian Field Marshal.

2) Rudolf Felix Bauer.
Governor of Estonia
Russian General

File:A. Menshikov (Kuskovo).jpg
Alexander Danilovich Menshikov
3) Prince Aleksander Menshikov (1673-1729)

4) Villim Mons (1688-1724)

Lover in 1716.

Imperial Chamberlain to Catherine I of Russia 1724

"Amongst Catherine's attendants was Wilhelm Mons, the brother of Peter's former mistress, who was as handsome, and every whit as unscrupulous, as his sister. He was clever and assiduous however, made himself very useful at Court, rose to the rank of Kammerherr, and at last became a personage of some importance, the Foreign Ministers, and even Princes like the Duke of Holstein, not disdaining to approach, with bribes and caresses, the adroit and good-looking young German, who was known to possess the Empress's confidence, and suspected of enjoying her secret favour. I am inclined myself to think that Catherine's relations with Mons, though dangerously familiar, were perfectly innocent...." (The Pupils of Peter the Great: 65) 

"Peter could excuse 'accidents', but never deliberate unfaithfulness. William Mons, the younger brother of Peter's first official mistress, Anna Mons, became Catherine's lover. When Peter found that out he had the man beheaded. Then he ordered the head of the unfortunate lover to be put in a jar with alcohol. The jar stood in Catherine's bedroom till Peter's death." (Olga's Gallery, 2002, February 1)

. . . (I)n the fall of 1724, Peter learns abruptly of his wife's betrayal, and the name of the empress's lover. He is young and handsome and had been close to the tsar for many years. . . (I)n 1708 Peter included in his retinue the attractive youth Villim (William) Mons, Anchen's younger brother. . . (T)he tsar had to have near at hand a face that would remind him of Anchen's endearing traits. . . In 1716, Villim is named Catherine's gentleman of the bedchamber and, thanks to his charm and industriousness, launches a fast and successful career. He is appointed to manage the tsaritsa's estates and is promoted to court chamberlain. This young man, who in the words of the Danish envoy Hans Georg Westphalen, 'was among the most handsome and elegant people whom I have ever seen,' became Catherine's lover." (Anisimonv: 35)

"Just as Anna fell from grace, her younger brother Willem Mons became the personal secretary and confidant of Peter’s second wife, Catherine I, as well as the manager of some of the emperor’s estates. He even became the Imperial Chamberlain while he was still in his mid-30s. However, his success caused jealousy among the Russian elite, and there were rumors that his relationship with Catherine was more than professional. Willem was soon charged with taking bribes and embezzlement and executed by beheading. Some, however, speculate that the real reason for his execution may have been Peter the Great’s jealousy. This theory is given some credence because the trial and execution were unusually quick. Mons’s body was left to rot on the scaffold, and his severed head preserved in alcohol. There are even stories that Peter forced Catherine to keep the severed head in her bedroom, but these are impossible to verify and are most likely exaggerations. Mons’s severed head is still being kept as a gruesome exhibit in the Kunstkamera museum in St. Petersburg." (History Info)

5) Pyotr I of Russia.
Lover in 1703.

First Encounter with Yekaterina.

"...The story of the future Catherine I's rags-to-riches courtship and marriage had been told often... The couple probably met in 1704 (Martha, as she then was, was a refugee of the Great Northern War) and their first child was probably born toward the end of that year. As Ekaterina Alekseevna, Catherine assumed the status of unofficial mistress. She never learned to read and write, but her dictated letters to Peter are in sharp contrast to the few surviving items from Evdokia, chatty, uninhibited, often crude. Other children followed of whom two daughters were alive when the pair were betrothed in secret on or before 6 March 1711, when it was announced that 'her majesty...Tsaritsa Ekaterina Alekseevna is [now] the true and legal sovereign lady...." (Hughes, 1996, p. 37)

Beneficiaries and Patronages.

"After Yekaterina found her four siblings, Krystyna, Anna, Karol and Fryderyk, she gave them the title of count or countess.

6) Reingold Gustav Lowenwolde.
Chamberlain to the Empress.

"A closeness, however, did arise between the empress and her smart handsome chamberlain Count Reingold Gustav Lowenwolde, who is some ways resembled the late Villim Mons. Times had changed and there was no reason to hide her affections; so Catherine kept the young lover by her side day and night. But at times he was also at a loss to cope with the feverish rhythm of life a court. The French diplomat Magnan reported that Menshikov and Bassewitz had visited the empress's fond friend , who 'was tired of endless feasting.' The poor count must hae been suffering greatly, and the field marechal-general was good enough to sympathize with him" (Five Empresses: Court Life in Eighteenth-century Russia: 51)
Anna of Russia
the National Matchmaker
Empress of Russia
Regent of Kurland

Appearance matching personality.
"Russia was now in the hands of a petty, suspicious woman with a decided mean streak. And her appearance seemed to match her personality. Burly, with manly features, the empress was by no means a beauty. 'Such a cheek the pictures give her,' the historian Thomas Carlyle wrote, 'in size and somewhat in expression like a Westphalia ham!'" (Secret Lives of the Tsars)

"A large, unattractive woman with lanl locks, brows and lashes dyed black to imitate the raven-haired beauties of Russian folklore, Anna, who was lazy and possessed of an indifferent education, lolled away her days, bored and dreaming, on a bearskin rug and soon became the resident's mistress---as her uncle had intended. . . ." (By Influence & Desire: xviii)

Her lovers were:
Ernst Johann von Biron
1) Ernst Johann von Biron (1690-1772)
Lover in 1772.

Duke of Courland & Semigallia, 1737-1772
Regent of the Russian Empire, 1740

A new lover to fill a vacancy in her bed.
"Grieved though she was over the loss of Betushev-Ryumin, Anna quickly filled the vacancy in her bed with a new lover, Ernst Johann von Biron---the man who would virtually dominate her ten-year reign when she became empress of Russia in 1730. So what if he was married, with three children. Anna simply made his family her own. In fact, some historians believe that the youngest of Biron's offspring, a little boy named Karl Ernst, was actually Anna's son as well. She certainly kept the child close to her, and awarded the highest titles and honors when she obtained the crown." (Secret Lives of the Tsars)

"Having now abolished all restraints, Anna ruled Russia autocratically for ten years, despite the fact that she was more interested in court gossip than in affairs of state. She is generally considered to have been among the worst of the Romanov rulers, in large part because she is wrongly believed to have allowed certain German favorites to dominate her government and ruin the country. The most hated of these was her lover, Ernst-Johann Biron, whose sole official responsibility was to arrange court affairs and celebrations. Although he was undeniably arrogant and corrupt, he had little influence in matters of public policy. . . ." (Julicher134)

"Anna appears to have spent little time on affairs of state, and power lay with her favorite, Ernst Johann Biron (Buhren) (1690-1772), who during her reign was the virtual ruler of Russia: this period was known as the Bironovshchina (Biron era). He held no official administrative position in Russia but with other Germans treated Russians with contempt and the country as a private estate. In 1727 he became her lover and was made grand chamberlain and count. He was extremely unpopular owing to his vindictive and corrupt character. Regent for three weeks after Anna's death, he was deposed and banished to Siberia. Peter III, however, permitted him to return to St. Petersburg." (Paxton: 9)

"No other imperial favorite in Russian history, with the exception of Potemkin, ever wielded as much influence as Ernest Biron, and the ten years Anna sat on the Russian throne are still known as the Age of Biron---Bironovishtchina. The only aspect of sovereignty Ernest lacked was the title. He was never far from the tsarina's side, and when she had him elected grand duke of Courland, he filled that post in absentia. Grand Duchess Benigna's diamonds were the envy of the Russian princesses, the magnificence of the Birons' silver plate astonished even the blase French ambassador, and Ernest's liveries and carriages were almost as costly as the tsarina's." (By Influence & Desire: xix)

His sister's ploy: " . . .Unbeknown to Anna [later Anna I of Russia], Bestuzhev was sharing bed with a Westphalian woman of modest background, who utilized her influence to place her brother in the Russian resident's office. Ernest Buhren (Biron, as he later spelled his name in order to claim relationship with the distinguished French family of marshals) was endowed with a splendid, towering figure, a large measure of sex appeal---and sheer determination. He rose rapidly and became Anna's private secretary, then her paramour. He proved a capable administrator, and when the Russian resident was recalled, Biron assumed his post and for a decade ably governed the duchy---and Anna."(By Influence & Desire: xviii)

Biron's personal & family background.

" . . . The Russian gentry, indeed, had little cause to love the Empress Anne, yet they imputed their disasters, principally, to the jealousy and hatred of Anne's prime favourite, Ernst Johan (sic) Biren, or Buhren, whom she had brought along with her from Courland, and who brutally tyrannized the court and the during during the whole course of her reign. The little we know of this sordid and sinister upstart is not very creditable to him. He was the grandson of a groom in the service of Duke James III of Courland, who bestowed upon him a small estate which Biren's father inherited, and where Biren himself was born on Dec. 1st, 1690. After an idle and vagabond youth, he gained a footing at the court of Mittau through the dishonour of his sister, attracted the attention of the Duchess by his handsome face and figure and bluff bonhomie, succeeded in supplanting her older paramour, Peter Bestuzhev, and, henceforth, exercised a paramount influence over her. Ambition and anxiety seem to have been the pivots on which this base adventurer's conduct constantly turned, the ambition of remaining the Empress's chief counsellor and an anxiety lest a turn of Fortune's wheel should cast him back into his original nothingness. During the latter years of Anne's reign, Biren increased so enormously in power and riches, that he must have been a marvel to himself as well as to others. His apartments in the Palace adjoined those of the Tsaritsa, and his liveries, furniture and equipages were scarcely less costly than hers. Half the bribes intended for the Russian court passed through his hands. He had estates in Livonia, Courland, Silesia and the Ukraine. His riding-school was one of the sights of the Russian capital. The massive magnificence of his silver plate astonished the French ambassador, and the diamonds of his Duchess were the envy of Princes. The climax of this wonderful elevation was reached when, in the course of June 1737, the Estates of Courland elected the son of the ostler of Mittau to be their reigning Duke, mainly through golden arguments. Henceforth his most Serene Highness received all the honours due to sovereign Princes." (The Daughter of Peter the Great: 10)

2) Pyotr Mikhailovich Bestuzhev (1664-1742)

Regent of Courland, 1712-1728.

"Maurice's (of Saxony) 'excursion' to Courland had sad consequences for Peter Bestuzhev-Riumin as well. An honorable dignitary, father of the outstanding future diplomats Mikhail and Aleksei Bestuzhev-Riumin, and an experienced courtier, he was not only the Russian resident in Courland and chief steward of the duchess's court, he was also her long-standing lover. Being nineteen years older than Anna, he seduced the young widow and made her his complete subordinate. . . ." (Anisimov: 72)
Elizabeth I of Russia 

Empress of Russia

Daughter of: Peter the Great of Russia & Catherine I of Russia

Wife of: Aleksey Razumovsky mar 1742.

The most sexually attractive Russian Empress.

"Although never officially married, Elizabeth had numerous lovers. Hingly writes that she was, 'the most sexually attractive Russian Empress.' Favorites included Alexis Razumovsky, a commoner from the Ukraine who aroused Elizabeth’s interest after she heard him singing in the chapel choir . . . ." (Streich)

Her roster of lovers.

"When not busy with her religious observances, Elizabeth enjoyed the outdoor sports of hunting and shooting, as well as dancing. She also had a healthy appetite for sex, her roster of lovers having included French doctors, Cossack choristers and Guards officer. . . ." (Catherine the Great: Love, Sex, and Power: 43)

Aspirants to her heart -- and throne.

" . . . Aspirants to Elizabeth's heart also included Prince George of England, the Infant Manuel of Portugal, the Infant Don Carlos of Spain, Duke Ernst Ludwig von Braunschweig, the well-known dandy Maurice de Saxe, Prince Ferdinand of Courland, and Nadir Shah of Persia. Elizabeth was wooed by Ivan Dolgorukov; and Ernst Johann von Biron, the Duke of Courland, had a strong desire to wed her to his son Peter. . . . " (Empress Elizabeth: the Iron-fisted Fashionista: 3)

Elizabeth's list of lovers.

"But although no man ever deposed the shepherd from the first place in Elizabeth's favour, it must not be imagined that he was her only lover. The daughter of the hot-blooded Peter and the lust scullery wench had always as great a passion for men as the second Catherine, who had almost as many favourites in her boudoir as gowns in her wardrobes. She had her lovers before she was emancipated from the schoolroom; and not the least favoured of them, it is said, was her own nephew, Peter the Second, whom she would no doubt have married if it had been possible. She turned her back on one great alliance after another, preferring her freedom to a wedding-ring that brought no love with it; and she found her pleasure alike among the gentlemen of the Court and among her own servants. In the long list of her favourites we find a General succeeded by a SergeantBoutourline, the handsome courtier, giving place to Lialin, the sailor; and Count Shouvalov retiring in favour of Voytshinsky, the coachman. Thus one liaison succeeded another from girlhood to middle-age---indeed long after she had passed the altar. But through all these varying attachments her heart remained constant to her shepherd lover, to whom she was ever the devoted wife, and, when he was ill, the tenderest of nurses. To please him, she even accompanied him on a visit to his native village, smiling graciously on his humble friends of other days, and partaking of the hospitality of the poorest cottagers; while on all who had befriended him in the days of his obscurity she lavished her favours." (Love Affairs of the Courts of Europe)

The favorite of the moment.

"The penchant for rich food and strong drink conferred upon Her Majesty a premature plumpness and annoying red blotches of the cheeks. After eating and drinking her fill, she would allow herself to nap for an hour or two. To facilitate this rest, a kid of sleepy medication, she employed the services of a few women who would take turns sitting by her side, speaking softly and scratching the bottoms of her feet. . . When the tsarina ad finished resting, the foot-scratchers would give way to the favorite of the moment. Sometimes that was Ivan Shuvalov, sometimes the chamberlain Basil Chulkov, sometimes Her Majesty's eternal suitor Simon Naryshkin, sometimes Shubin (a private in her guard), and sometimes the indestructible and ever so accommodating Alexis Razumovsky, the most assiduous and honored of all." (Terrible Tsarinas: Five Russian Women in Power: 153)
Elizabeth I of Russia
Physical appearance & personal qualities.
" . . . One contemporary described her as 'blond, not too tall . . with a tendency toward plumpness, but with a fine figure, a sweet, round face, a wonderful complexion, languishing blue eyes, and marvelous decollete . . . She has a very playful mind . . . and a liveliness that makes her seem silly. . . . She speaks superb French and passable German. Her love for all things brilliant makes her seem very French." In addition, she was wonderfully dressed, a nimble and entertaining conversationalist, and an elegant dancer. . . . " (Empress Elizabeth: the Iron-fisted Fashionista:3)

Elizabeth I's lovers were.
1) Aleksander Buturlin (1694-1767)

Russian general & courtier.
Chamberlain to the Empress, Commander-in-Chief of the Army, Count, Field Marshal.

Physical appearance & personal qualities.
"...A handsome man of gigantic height, he was chamberlain at Elizabeth's court and her lover. The Supreme Privy Council members, who ruled the country for the boy-emperor...found a pretext for inducting Buturlin into the army and dispatching him far away from Moscow, to the Ukraine. But this did not disturb the tsarevna too much. Distracted by her own fast life, she took the separation from Buturlin quite easily---he was quickly replaced by another." (Five Empresses: 183)

Achievements & honours.
" . . . Alexander Boutourline, one of the former lovers of the Empress Elizabeth, was promoted by her to the rank of Field-marshal, and ere long to that of Count in the year 1760, February 17th. . . ." (A Handbook of the Principal Families in Russia: 108)

Royal favours.

"Once she ascended the throne, she made Alexander Buturlin a count and promoted him to field marshal, lieutenant colonel of the Preobrazhensky Regiment, and awarded him Russia's highest civilian and military honor, the Order of St. Andrew...." (Russian Life: 58)

A lover within her midst.

" . . . Weary of waiting for a husband, the Tsarevna decided to acquaint herself more closely with the male sex outside the formalities of marriage. A suitable subject of her attention was at hand, her handsome thirty-three-year-old chamberlain Alexander Buturlin. With the experienced Buturlin making an excellent lover, Elisabeth was on cloud nine and became very attached to him but her days of bliss were cut short. As soon as Tsar Peter found out about the affair, helpfully tipped off by Buturlin's enemy Alexey Dolgorukov, he was struck with boyish jealousy, and dispatched Buturlin to Ukraine to do military service, to Elisabeth's great distress. The vengeful Peter gave her the cold shoulder ever after." (The Motherland of Elephants: 289)

"Elizabeth was remarkably generous to her boyfriends, even former ones. She seemed genuinely grateful for the moments of happiness they had given her. Once she ascended the throne, she made Alexander Buturlin a count and promoted him to field marshal, lieutenant colonel of the Preobrazhensky Regiment, and awarded him Russia's highest civilian and military honor, the Order of St. Andrew. . . . " (Empress Elizabeth: the Iron-fisted Fashionista)

Alexei Razumovsky
Alexei Razumovsky (1709-1771)
Lover 1742.

Ukrainian shepherd & choir singer.

Chamberlain to the Empress 1741
Chief Gentleman of Bedchamber
Count of the Holy Roman Empire 1744

She was constantly looking for new ones.

"When two young Guardsmen connected to Elizaveta were denounced for treasonable talk, Anna had them beheaded---but she also exiled the tsarevna's new lover, her page Alexei Shubin. Anna's vigilance was understandable, but at this time Elizaveta's court was more interested in sex than power: presiding over her own Ukrainian choir, Elizaveta ran several lovers in tandem. One of the choristers, Alexei Razumovsky, was to last for the rest of her life, but she was constantly looking for new ones. 'Little Mother Tsarevna, how fine that Prince Ordov is, 'lady-in-waiting Mavra Shepeleva wrote to Elizaveta, catching the tone of their coterie. 'As tall as Buturlin, just as slim, such eyes just like yours in colour, slim legs, wears his own hair down to his waist, arms as lovely as Buturlin's. I can also report I bought a snuffbox and the picture on it really resembles you when you're naked.' Apart from a few eighteenth-century touches, their chatter was saucy as that of texting teenagers today." (The Romanovs: 1613-1918: 156)

Razumovsky's physical appearance & personal qualities.

". . . [T]he Russian diplomat Count Andrei Razumovsky was throwing his eagerly anticipated end-of-the-year bash. The count was a former Russian ambassador in Vienna, renowned for his wit, good looks, cosmopolitan good manners, and, above all, his enormous fortune. He is remembered in music circles today for his love of the arts, patronizing such Viennese luminaries as Haydn and Mozart. . ." (Vienna: 1814: 190)

Razumovsky's personal & family background & professional advancement.

"Alexius Grigorevich Razum, the second son of a simple Cossack shepherd dwelling in the remote Ukrainian village of Lemesh, was born on March 17th, 1709. From an early age he tended his father's flocks, but his handsome face, amiable manners and sweet voice, attracted the attention of the village priest, who took fancy to the lad and taught him reading, writing and singing. . . [O]ne day, at the beginning of January 1731, an imperial courier, Col. Vishnevsky, returning to Moscow from Hungary...stopped at and entered the little village church. . . [T]he colonel was connoisseur enough to be struck by the beautiful voice of young Razum... [H]e had little difficulty in persuading the lad to accompany him to the Capital, there to seek his fortune. At St. Petersburg, Aleksius received proper training, and in a few years became one of the chief singers in the Court Chapel. There Elizabeth, then tsarevna, first heard him, and was so charmed that she had the youth presented to her. His beauty (Footnote: "He is described at this time as a tall stately youth with a bronzed complexion, wonderful fiery black eyes, and finely arched black eyebrows.") impressed her even more than his voice had done, and, at her request, the young chorister was transferred to her little Court, where, for a time, he held the humble position of bandurist or lute-player. On the banishment of Elizabeth's earlier paramour, Aleksius Nikiforovich Shubin to Kamschatka, Razumovsky, as he now began to be called, stepped into the exile's shoes and became the Tsarevna's chief Kammerjunker. After her accession she rapidly promoted him. He became, in quick succession, a lieutenant-general, a Count and a Field Marshal. . . [T]here are very strong grounds for believing that the Empress was privately married to Razumovsky at Perovoe in the autumn of 1742, at the instigation of her confessor, Father Dubyansky. . . There were no children of the marriage. . ." (The Daughter of Peter the Great: 142)

"Gregory Razoumovsky, a peasant of the Lesser-Russia, had two sons, Alexis and Cyrill. Alexis Razoumovsky (born in the year 1709 and deceased in 1771) was a chanter in the Court-chapel. The Grand-Duchess Elizabeth took a fancy to him, and accepted him as a lover; and when she mounted the throne, she named him Great-Huntsman and Field-Marshal, and married the man clandestinely. It was also through her care that he was installed Count of the Holy Roman Empire by the Emperor Charles VII in the year 1744, May 16th, and in the same year on the 15th of July, she created him a Russian Count. All his offspring by his marriage with the Empress died in childhood. . . ." (A Handbook of the Principal Families in Russia: 136)

Alexei Razumovsky

Razumovsky's first encounter with the empress Elizabeth.
" . . . One day a splendidly dressed stranger chanced to enter the Lemesh church during Mass---none other that Colonel Vishnevsky, a great Court official, who was on his way back to Moscow from a diplomatic mission; and he listened entranced to a voice sweeter than any he had ever heard. The service over, he made the acquaintance of the young chorister, interviewed his guardian, the 'good Samaritan' priest, and persuaded him to allow the boy to accompany him to the capital. Thus the shepherd's son took weeping farewell of the good priest, of his mother, and of his brothers and sisters; and a few weeks later the Empress and her ladies were listening enchanted to his voice in the imperial choir at Moscow---but none more delight than the Princess Elizabeth, daughter of Peter the Great, to whom Alexis' beauty appealed even more strongly than his sweet singing." (Love Affairs of the Court of Europe)

The Cossack choirboy lover of the Russian empress.
"Among those who stood by Elisabeth in her daring enterprise was her long-time favourite Alexey Razumovsky. Born into a family of Ukrainian Cossacks in 1709. the same year Elisabeth was born to Tsar Peter, the handsome Alexey became a choirboy in a neighbouring village where he was spotted bu colonel Feodor Wisniowiecki, returning from a provisioning expedition to Hungary where he had bought prodigious quantities of sweet Tokaj for the court of Empress Anna Ivanova. Apart from purchasing booze, the colonel was also tasked with spotting potential quality male entertainment on his travels. Russia's female royalty and their ladies in waiting had a traditional soft spot for Ukrainian choirboys, selected on the basis of their looks, as well as their vocal talent, and Alexey, who had both, became a court choir singer. The then princess Elisabeth fell head over heels for the handsome Cossack who became her lover, friend and confidant. After the coup, the former choirboy was promoted to lieutenant general, the Empress's chamberlain and Master of the Hunt and endowed with vast estates. In 1742, Elisabeth, tired of waiting for suitable foreign grooms, married Razumovsky in secret in a (sic) small Church of the Sign of Theotokos in the village of Perovo, now a Moscow suburb. Tales abounded of children born from this union, although documentary evidence of such offspring has never been found. A mysterious European adventuress calling herself Alina, Princess of Vladimir, and also known as Princess Tarakanova, would claim rights to the Russian throne as their daughter during the later reign of Catherine the great, but could present no credible proof." (The Motherland of Elephants: 293)

Alexei Razumovsky
Aleksei the Night Emperor.
" . . . Her long-term favourite, nicknamed the 'Night Emperor', was a Ukrainian half-Cossack whom she had first noticed when he was a young cantor in a church choir. Once he became her lover, she changed his name from Razum to the nobler-sounding Razumovsky, and awarded both him and his younger brother the title of Count. It was rumoured that she had contracted a morganatic marriage with Alexei Razumovsky in 1742, but she never married openly or produced legitimate offspring. . . ." 
(Catherine the Great: Love, Sex, and Power: 43)

"The new empress made no secret of her love affair; she openly held hands with Razumovsky and kissed him in public. Razumovsky served the empress every night with such devotion that court wags called him the 'Night Emperor.'. . . ." (Herman: 141)

Marriage of Elizabeth and Razumovsky, 1742.
"Historians report that Elizabeth had countless lovers. Allowing for the exaggerations of court gossip, this was probably true. She was a woman of generous affectionate nature and not one to exercise self-restraint. But the man she loved sincerely was quite unlike the courtiers and favorites of the age both in origin and in character. He was a simple peasant from the Ukraine, named Alexei Razumovsky. As a boy, he had tended sheep until the local priest, attracted by his gentle nature and his fine voice, had taken him under his care and taught him reading, writing, and singing. An imperial courtier, travelling from Budapest to Moscow, stopped at the village to attend the service in the local church. Mesmerized by the magnificent voice of the young Razumovsky, the courier persuaded him to go to St. Petersburg where he as soon one of the leading singers in the court chapel. Elizabeth, then tsarevna, liked this young singer and asked that he be appointed to her small court. On becoming empress, she made him a count and field marshal. In 1742, on the advice of her spiritual adviser, Father Dubyansky, a devout and wise priest who had great influence over her, she secretly married Razumovsky. The marriage was evidently childless; however, imposters came forward after he death, claiming them as their parents." (The Romanovs)

Lover and then alleged husband.

"Before she became empress, Elizabeth had fallen in love with Alexei Razumovsky - a handsome member of the court choir. When Elizabeth ascended the throne, she promoted him to chamberlain and the rank of lieutenant general. She is even alleged to have secretly married him in the village of Perovo outside Moscow during her coronation. Although occupying an official position, Razumovsky was never asked to do any work because 'Elizabeth wanted to spare him and even published a social decree forbidding anyone from giving him notes or requests."

Aleksei opens a new & seductive vista of pleasure to his imperial lover.

"Elizabeth, true daughter of her father, had already, young as she was, counted her lovers by the score---lovers chosen indiscriminately, from Royal princes to grooms and common soldiers. She was already sated with the licence of the most dissolute Court of Europe, and to her the young Cossack of the beautiful face and voice, and rustic innocence, opened a new and seductive vista of pleasure. She lost her heart to him, had him transferred to her own Court as her favourite singer, and, within a few years, gave him charge of her purse and her properties. The shepherd's son was now not only lover-elect, but principal 'minister' to the daughter of an Emperor, who was herself to wear the Imperial crown. . . ." (Love Affairs of the Courts of Europe)

Lover or secret husband?.
"After Shubin's exile, Elizabeth quickly fell in love again. This time the object of her desire was a Ukrainian choirboy, the son of a shepherd. His name was Alexei Razumowsky, and Elizabeth freely admitted that his looks attracted her more than his voice. Their dalliance went on for quite a while, and there were rumors that the quixotic Elizabeth may actually have married him in a secret ceremony. . . . " (Empress Elizabeth: the Iron-fisted Fashionista: 3)

Smitten by the greatest lover of Empress Elizabeth's life.
"When Elizabeth mounted the throne, her lover of several years was Alexei Razumovsky, a Cossack village shepherd whose exquisite singing voice had procured him a job in the royal chapel. His voice, clear and achingly sweet, pierced the smoke of incense and burning tapers, danced about the glinting icons, and rose into the vaulted arches. Curious to see the owner of this voice, Elizabeth prowled around the church until she found a tall, dark, and muscular young man with flashing black eyes. Elizabeth was smitten and began the greatest love affair of her life." (Sex With the Queen)

Effect on Aleksei Razumovsky.
"Sudden riches and elevation to the highest offices did not change Razumovsky. When she made him field marshal, he roared with laughter and assured his friends that he would not expose Russian soldiers to such dangers as to command them in battle. Simple honesty and shrewdness kept him from interfering unwisely in state affairs. If he drank too much, he became boisterous and inclined to roughhousing, but normally he was a man of quiet dignity and courtesy. Elizabeth showed great devotion to him. When he was confined to his apartments with gout, she would cancel all court functions and take care o him." (The Romanovs)

Benefits to Razumovsky.
" . . . Alexei Razumovsky was spoiled more than any of the others. He became a count, grand master of the hunt, holder of the Order of St. Andrew, lieutenant colonel of the Life Guards, lieutenant captain of the Life Guards, field marshal, and much more." (Empress Elizabeth: the Iron-fisted Fashionista)

Imperial favours for Aleksei.
" . . . .But Alexei Razumovsky was spoiled more than any of the others. He became a count, grand master of the hunt, holder of the Order of St. Andrew, lieutenant colonel of the Life Guards, lieutenant captain of the Life Guards, field marshal, and much more." (Russian Life: 58)

Beneficiaries of the imperial liaison.
" . . . He never forgot his beloved Ukraine or his Cossack relatives. Prompted by Alexey, the Empress showered favours on Molorossia, as Ukraine was then known in Russia. Alexey's mother, a simple villager, was brought to the court to be presented to the Empress. Dressed up, powdered and coiffured for the occasion by Elisabeth's maids, she famously fell to her knees in from of her own reflection in a large mirror, thinking that she was seeing the Empress herself. Alexey's younger brother Kirill, sent to Europe for his education, was deemed wizened enough upon his return at the ripe old age of eighteen to head the Russian Academy of Sciences. He was later appointed the hetman (high commander) of Cossacks in Ukraine, of which he would unsuccessfully attempt to make an independent country during the reign of Catherine the Great." (The Motherland of Elephants: 294)

"On a cold night in the autumn of 1742, the first full-fledged Empress of All Russia, daughter of Peter I, secretly married a Ukrainian fellow by the name of Oleksiy, son of Registered Cossack Colonel Hryhory Rozum, Cherkasy Regiment. Unbelievable, but the fact is corroborated by a number of prestigious historical sources. [This is] something akin to a Christmas story. It is about Oleksiy Rozum, an ordinary shepherd who became miraculously transformed as a Russian Field Marshal, eventually cutting an impressive figure as an adventuresome philosopher, made count as a legitimate spouse of the formidable Russian emperor's daughter who went down in history under the name Elizabeth Petrovna. He would make his younger brother Kyrylo the last Ukrainian Hetman." (Emperor of the Night @

". . . And while Alexis was thus luxuriating amid the splendour of a Court, he by no means forgot the humble relatives he had left behind in his native village. His father was dead; his mother was reduced for a time to such a depth of destitution that she had to beg her bread from door to door. His sisters had found husbands for themselves in their own rank; and the favourite of an Imperial Princess had for brothers'in'aw a tailor, a weaver, and a shepherd. When news came to Alexis of his mother's destitution he had sent her a sum of money sufficient to install her in comfort as an innkeeper: the first of many kindnesses which were to work a startling transformation in the fortunes of the Razoum family." (Love Affairs of the Courts of Europe)

"As lover of the empress, Razumovsky became a patron of Russian drama and opera and made Russia a leading European center for the study and performance of music. . . ." 

Razumovsky's beneficiaries and patronages.

". . . The kinsfolk of Razumovsky naturally benefited by his change of fortune. Even his old mother, Natalia, was invited to Court... His brother Cyril he sent abroad for two years and educated at his expense at Konigsberg, Berlin and Paris. The young Cossack returned to Russia in 1745, an accomplished man of the world, and at once took a prominent position at Court, where his bon ton and amiable savoir-faire made him a prime favourite... Elizabeth loaded him with gifts, and made him marry her cousin Ekaterina Ivanovna Narishkina. . . .Subsequently he was made a Count and Grand Hetman of the Cossacks." (The Daughter of Peter the Great: 144)

3) Alexei Shubin (1707-1766)

Lover in 1731?.

" . . . While still in her teens, she made a lover of Aleksius Nikiforovitch Shubin, a sergeant in the Semenovsky. Aleksius, a handsome young Cossack, who chanced to be a chorister in the Court Chapel, and first won her heart by the exquisite melody of his voice. Shortly after becoming Empress, she married her Cossack lad secretly, and altogether, this second connexion was more honourable to both parties that might have been expected from circumstances. . . ." (Bain: 70)

" . . . At that time the tsarevna fell in love with her chamber-page, Aleksandr Shubin. Their whirlwind romance was rudely interrupted by the empress, who, in January, 1732, gave orders to Munich to arrest Shubin and exile him to Siberia. Shubin's exile was to break off all connections between Peter's daughter and the Guards, who, according to an informant, had demonstrated their 'devotion' to Elizabeth on more than one occasion. And though no documents had been found compromising Shubin, Anna remained inexorable... Poor Shubin spent ten years in Siberia. In early 1742, immediately following the manifesto announcing her ascension to the throne, Empress Elizabeth Petrovna liberated her former beloved... Having learned that he was being sought, Shubin was afraid to identify himself. He did not know that Elizabeth had become empress and feared that a more severe punishment from Anna Ioannovna was in store for him... It was by sheer chance that Shubin was finally found. He returned to St. Petersburg and was received cordially by the court as well as by the empress herself. But the heart of his beloved then belonged to another man." (Anisimov: 187)

". . . Elizaveta took Alexis Shubin, a handsome sergeant in the Semyonovsky Guards regiment, as her lover but was soon banished by the Empress for being too outspoken. . . . " (Painted Veil)

"It was to be expected that by the time she was thirty-two, her age at the time of the coup, she had come to know love and affection. But she was not free to relish them. To take one example, Alexei Shubin, a second lieutenant in the Semenovski guards regiment, was arrested in 1731, deprived of his nobility, and sent off to hard labor in Siberia for the crime of having fallen in love with the tsarevna (sic). . . ." (The Russian Empire in the Eighteenth Century: Tradition and Modernization: 171)

Royal Favours: " . . . Alexei Shubin became a major general upon his return from Siberia. . . ." (Russian Life: 58)
Ivan Ivanovich Shuvalov
4) Ivan Ivanovich Shuvalov (1727-1797)
Lover in 1749-1762.

Russian intellectual
Russian field marshal & senator.

"Word spread of Ivan Shuvalov's youthful charm, the soft, dark curls over his high forehead, the absentminded smile on his sensuous lips. 'Eighteen years younger than the Empress. Always with a book in his hands. He has written a play. He wants her to rebuild the palace. He corresponds with Voltaire! He has given a pure white falcon to the Grand Duke.' . . . . " (The Winter Palace)

" . . . Their first cousin John Schouvaloff, one of the lovers of the Empress Elizabeth, was the chief protector of the Russian literature, and one of the most witty and well-instructed men of his time. He refused repeatedly to accept the title of Count. . . ." (A Handbook of the Principal Families in Russia: 104)

". . . Ivan Shuvalov, another favorite, founded the University of Moscow in 1755 and worked to promote Enlightenment ideas in Russia." (Streich, 2008)

" . . . General John Schouvaloff, commander of the place at Vyborg, under Peter I, enjoyed the confidence of the Prince. He had two sons, Alexander and Peter, both were lovers of the Empress Elizabeth, who raised them to the dignity of Counts in the year 1746; and Peter III promoted them to the rank of field-marshals of the empire. . . ." 
(A Handbook of the Principal Families in Russia: 104)

"Elizabeth Petrovna had another intimate friend--Ivan Shuvalov. The son of a guards captain, Ivan Menshoi Shuvalov, and Tatyana Rostislavskaya, he had pleasant manners and a handsome face. Ivan Shuvalov received a good education and knew several European languages. He began his career as a page of the chamber at the court of Grand Duchess Catherine Alexeyevna, who remembers him as a quiet, modest young man whom she often came across with a book in his hands. Ivan Shuvalov fell in love with Princess Anna Gagarina, an intelligent and well-read girl who was eight years his senior. She reciprocated his love and the couple hoped to get married. Ivan's cousins, however, decided that there was more benefit to be gained from making him the favourite of Elizabeth Petrovna. They prevented the marriage between the twenty-two-year-old Ivan and the thirty-year-old Anna and managed to arrange an audience with the forty-year-old empress.

Elizabeth took an immediate liking to Ivan Shuvalov. In September 1749, she appointed him gentleman of the bedchamber, followed by the usual posts and titles awarded to all favourites--chamberlain, lieutenant general, adjutant general and knight of the Orders of St. Alexander Nevsky and the White Eagle. Elizabeth's ministers attempted to ingratiate themselves with the empress's favourite by offering him even more titles and awards--senator, count and the Order of St. Andrew. Shuvalov, however, was not interested. He was happy with his status as the empress's secretary, which gave him access to her at all times. His opinion decided the outcome of all requests and petitions submitted to Elizabeth. Ivan drafted replies to the reports submitted by foreign diplomats and military commanders, writing the texts of Imperial decrees without bearing any legal responsibility for them. In 1761, the French diplomat Jean-Louis Favier wrote: "He interferes in all affairs, although he does not have any special titles or posts . . . In short, he enjoys all the advantages of a minister without actually being one." Anyone wanted to reach the empress could do so only through Shuvalov." (Royal Russia)

Jean-Armand de Lestocq
5) Jean-Armand de Lestocq (1692-1767)
French adventurer.

Personal & family background.
" . . . The most important Huguenot families in Russia possessed a variety of skills and founded military dynasties. The most important Huguenot families in Russia possessed a variety of skills and founded military dynasties. . . The integration into the foreign officer corps in Russia was aided by the fact that many Huguenot came from respectable families actually enjoying, or on the verge of, noble status. The social acceptability of a large number of them meant that barriers to employment in the army could be crossed with relative ease. Thus families, such as the Lestocqs, transformed themselves from haute bourgeois doctors of medicine, into army officers enjoying noble status; one of the earliest Lestocqs was the physician of Georg Wilhelm, Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg-Celle. The physician's son left his father at Celle, and ventured to Russia where he, too, was a doctor to many of the foreign officers in Peter the great's 'foreign quarter' at St. Petersburg. . . . " (War, Religion and Service: 232)

6) Kachinevski.

a chorister.

7) Pimen Lialin.

a sailor.
File: RusPortraits v2-182 Nikita Afanassiewitch Beketoff.jpg
Nikita Afanasievich Beketov
8) Nikita Afanasievich Beketov (1729-1794)
" . . .  a writer, lieutenant-general, senator, and favorite of Empress Elizaveta Petrovna. He was a descendant of the Cherkess dukes. From 1763 to 1774, he was the Governor of Astrakhan. B. actively supported the government idea of settle of the steppes. . . ." (The Caspian Sea Encyclopedia: 79)

"Among the cadets who acted before the Empress at the Court Theatre, was a very handsome youth of eighteen or nineteen, Nikita Afanasievich Beketov by name, who generally played the part of first lover at these entertainments. It at once occurred to Bestuzhev that such an Adonis was made for such a susceptible Cythera as Elizabeth, and he took care that the youth should frequently come in the Empress's way. What the Chancellor had anticipated very soon came to pass. The Empress was very favourably impressed by young Beketov. Soon it was generally remarked that the youth was more handsomely dressed than his comrades, and his diamond rings and buckles, and superior laced cuffs and ruffles, began to excite their astonishment and envy. Presently Alexius Razumovsky made him his adjutant, and shortly afterwards he was promoted to the rank of Colonel, with apartments in the Palace---there could now be no reasonable doubt that he shared with Ivan Shuvalov the particular favour of her Imperial Majesty, apparently with the approval and consent of her husband! This famous menage a quartre, so to speak, lasted for about twelve months, and then it was suddenly exploded by the artful counter-mining of Peter Shuvalov. Approaching the too credulous Beketov, one day, this arch-intriguer said to him, with his usual unctuous suavity: 'My dear young friend, I notice with regret that the late hours you are obliged to keep, have greatly impaired the freshness of your complexion. Now our gracious Sovereign does not like withered faces, take this ointment then from a well-wisher, and use it regularly for a few days, and you will soon see a difference.' The simple youth gratefully accepted the insidious gift, but instead of restoring the bloom to his cheek, it very speedily covered his features with a foul eruption, to which the Countess Shuvalova, previously instructed by her husband, took care to direct the Empress's attention, at the same time insinuating that Beketov was a notoriously evil liver. The horrified Tsaritsa fled at once to the rural seclusion of Tsarkoe Selo, and Nikita Afanasievich was forbidden from Court. He fell ill of grief and chagrin, but ultimately accepted the Governorship of Astrachan, and disappeared from Court. So now Shuvalov reigned without a rival, Bestuzhev making no further attempt to oust him from the imperial favour. . . ." (The Daughter of Peter the Great: 158)

"By January of 1749, St. Peterburg's salons were rife with speculation about who among the Imperial Favorites would win the battle for a place in Elizabeth's bed. . . Next came Nikita Beketov, a choirmaster, rumored to be one of the chancellor's proteges. Beketov's supremacy seemed assured until he was foolish enough to accept a gift from Countess Shuvalova, a jar of whitening cream, promising to smooth his skin. When his face erupted with bloated red patches, the Countess made sure the Empress feared for the pox. Beketov left the palace in disgrace." (The Winter Palace)
Peter Ivanovich Shuvalov
9) Pyotr Ivanovich Shuvalov (1711-1762)
"Pyotr Shuvalov began his career as a page at the court of tsarevna Elizabeth. He was brought to tsesarevna's attention when he married her close friend and in-law, Mavra Shepeleva. For his assistance in the enthronement of Elizabeth, he was promoted to the rank of Chamberlain, then appointed senator and became a count in 1746." (Wikipedia)

10) Semyon Kirilovich Naryshkin (1710-1775)
Russian dandy & bon vivant

Royal Favours.
" . . . Semyon Naryshkin became a chamberlain, marshal of the court, grand master of the hunt, and was awarded the Order of St. Andrew. . . ." (Russian Life: 58)

11) Voytshinsky.
Russian coachman.
Sofia of Russia
Regent of Russia

Daughter of: Aleksei I of Russia & Maria Miloslavskaya.

Sofia, Regent of Russia
Tsarevna Sofia's physical appearance & personal qualities.
"La Neuville is also responsible for inserting another vital piece into the jigsaw of Sophia's complex political profile: she was ugly. In a much-quoted comment (which, incidentally, appears only as a marginal note in the manuscript of his account), the Frenchman described her thus: 'of a monstrous size, with a head as big as a bushel, with hair on her face, growth on her legs, and at least forty years old.' La Neuville probably never saw Sophia himself. She was only thirty-two in 1689, the year he was describing, and no other contemporary left such an unappealing portrait, but because no one else bothered to describe her at all, it his description which has been most quoted. He adds one more piece: 'although her stature is broad, short and coarse, her mind is subtle, nimble and shrewd.' The psychological profile is complete. As the biographer of the Romanovs concludes: 'She was obliged to rely primarily upon her intellect to gain victory . . . because she had none of the physical charms to seduce men to her cause.'" (Sophia, Regent of Russia, 1657-1704: 48)

Vasily Golitsyn

Her lover was:
Vasily Golitsyn (1643-1714)

Russian aristocrat & statesman

Regent's Chief Adviser, Cup-bearer to Tsar Alexis 1658
Coach attendant 1666
Boyar 1676, Principal minister of state 1682
Keeper of the Great Seal 1684, Chancellor, Commander-in-Chief of Southern Army 1681
Head of Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1682
Son of: Prince Vasily Andreyevich Golitsyn & Princess Tatiana Streshneva

Husband of:
1. Princess Fedosya Vassilyevna Dolgoruki (d.1685);
2. Evdokia Ivanovna Streshneva, mar 1683

An act of supreme self-liberation.
"According to La Neuville, moreover, the alliance between the Tsarevna and the Prince was not just a political one. The writer of a recent popular history of the Romanovs expressed it graphically: 'In an act of supreme self-liberation, Sophia took Golitsyn to her bed and made him her lover.' This 'self-liberation' would have been made doubly bold by the fact that Golitsyn was married with several children. . . ." (Sophia, Regent of Russia, 1657-1704: 48)

Advisor, principal minister, strong right arm, comforter and lover.
" . . . [T]he greatest figure of Sophia's regency---her advisor, her principal minister, her strong right arm, her comforter and eventually her lover---was Prince Vasily Vasilievich Golitsyn. A scion of one of the oldest aristocratic houses of Russia, Golitsyn in his tastes and ideas was even more Western and revolutionary than Artemon Matveev. An experienced statesman and soldier, an urbane lover of the arts and a cosmopolitan political visionary, Golitsyn was perhaps the most civilized man Russia had yet produced. . . ." (Peter the Great: His Life and World)

A most celebrated man Russia has ever produced.

" . . . [T]he Prince Basily, surnamed Galitsyne the 'Great,' prime minister and lover of Sophia, sister of Peter I, was one of the most celebrated men Russia had ever produced. He wished to civilize his country, to bring it into contact with Europe, and to introduce there sciences, literature, and fine arts. At the same time he hatched a plot, having in view to put Sophia on the throne, to marry her, and to partake the crown with that Princess. A sharp conflict arose, in which the party of Peter I got the upper hand. Sophia was shut up in a cloister, and Galitsyne, being exiled to the banks of the Frozen Sea, was poisoned there. . . ." (A Handbook of the Principal Families in Russia: 67)

The sophisticated & cosmopolitan lover.
"Meanwhile, the new regent, ignoring Peter and his mother, pursued policies designed to promote stability and the status quo. She was assisted by a number of able advisors, including the sophisticated and cosmopolitan Prince Vasily Golitsyn, who may have become her lover...." (Renegades, Rebels and Rogues Under the Tsars: 114)

Prince Golitsyn's physical appearance & personal qualities.

" . . . Golitsyn was thirty-nine, blue-eyed, wore a small mustache, a neatly trimmed Van Dyke beard and, over his shoulders, an elegant fur-lined cape. Among a crowd of conventional Muscovite boyars in their heavy caftans and bushy beards, he looked like a dashing earl just arrived from England. . . ." (Peter the Great: His Life and World)

First Encounter with the Regent Sofia.
"Sophia met this unusual man when she was twenty-four, in the full bloom of her rebellion against the terem. . . ." (Peter the Great: His Life and World)

Relationship based on hearsay?

"Following Tsar Fedor's death in May 1682, Golitsyn rose further thanks to the patronage of Tsarevna Sophia Alekseyevna, who became regent to the joint tsars Ivan V (r. 1682–1696) and Peter I (r. 1682–1725). Their relationship is said to have begun when Sophia was caring for the ailing Fedor, to whose bedchamber Golitsyn often reported, but contemporary Russian sources do not record any such meetings. The claim that the couple became lovers rests on hearsay and some coded letters dating from the later 1680s. . . ." (Vasily Vasilievich Golitsyn @

Not a romantic relationship?

"Sophia's relationship with Prince Golitsyn was not necessarily a romantic attachment.[8] Golitsyn had a wife and a large family at a time when the boyars were still attached to the Domostroy, a matrimonial code from Ivan IV's reign. Several early 18th-century memoirs gave birth to rumours that Golitsyn had been Sophia's lover. Some see the evidence for this in the tone of Sophia's correspondence with him in 1689.[9] In any case, a romantic interaction between the two could not begin when they met under Feodor's rule. Feodor. entrusted great confidence in Golitsyn, and there remains no evidence Sophia and Vasily acted against customs that would have kept them apart until after his death. There is no suspicion of any relations until the letter in 1689, even during the period of Golitsyn’s rise to power." (Wikipedia)
Anna Leopoldovna of Russia
Regent of Russia
Her lovers were:
1) Pyotr Mikhailovich Bestuzhev (1664-1742)
Russian statesman & diplomat.

Chamberlain to Anna Ivanovna, Duchess of Courland, Governor of Duchy of Courland, Governor of Simbirsk, Ambassador to Vienna & Berlin.

2) Moritz Carl zu Lynar (1702-1768)
Lover in 1734.
German diplomat.

Saxon ambassador to Berlin, Saxon ambassador to St. Petersburg 1733, Governor of Nieder Lausitz 1741

Son of: Friedrich Kasimir zu Lynar & Eva Elisabeth von Windisch-Graetz.

Husband of: Christiane Friederike von Flemming (1709-1730) mar 1728

Graf zu Lynar's physical appearance & personal qualities: ". . . Count Lynar was well made, and above the middle size, with fair hair and a ruddy complexion. His whole external appearance announced a man of strong natural endowments; and his manners, which were highly engaging, shewed (sic) that he had lived much in the polite world. He had an agreeable voice, and spoke with great fluency and precision. He possessed the power of persuasion in an eminent degree, so that those who negotiated with him, even when the right was on their side, were in danger of being led into error. He could assume a variety of characters in the most natural manner, and by these means excited much admiration when he laid aside his dignity to entertain his company. . . ." (Aikin: 406)

" . . . The infant's mother, Anna Leopoldovna, swallowed her chagrin at not being awarded the crown herself and assumed the office of regent. She appointed her German husband Anthony Ulrich of Brunswick, commander in chief of the Russian army and then resumed her relationship with her lover, the Saxon ambassador, Count Lynar. Her husband's humiliation was public; soldiers, visible to all, were posted to bar him from his wife's apartments whenever her lover was with her." (Massie: 37)

" . . . [T]he Grand Duchess Anna, the regent, is hardly any better; only that she does not do things quite so openly. She has hardly been married two years, and yet she is already faithless to Duke Anton, who is vexed and unhappy threat, and yet takes no decided step to put an end to such scandalous doings. She has an intrigue with Count Lynar, the Polish-Saxon ambassador, and intends to follow the example of her aunt, the Empress Anna, who married her lover Biron to one of her ladies of honor, thus to cover up her own relations to him somewhat. The grand-duchess has affianced Lynar to one of her ladies, Fraulein von Mengden, and he has now gone home to arrange his affairs before marrying her. The duke must be aware of it, for everybody else knows it. But how can one pity such a prince?. . . ." (Robinson: 69)

" . . . The Saxon ambassador, the handsome count Lynar, had been dismissed by the empress Anne because he lived on terms of too great intimacy with her niece, but Bruhl had sent him back to St. Petersburg at the close of the year (1740). Count Lynar renewed his intimacy with the regent, and induced her to enter into an agreement with Saxony and Austria, and to give force to her expressed opinions in favour of the queen of Hungary by raising an army... Lynar (who for appearance sake was to be married to Mengden, one of the ladies of the regent's court) and the marquis Botta strove to outwit each other...." (Kelly, 1854, p. 423)

"Some years before her marriage, Anne-Leopoldovna had been suspected of entertaining a dangerous tenderness for the Saxon Minister, Lynar, 'an uncommonly pretty fellow,' as the then English Minister, Rondeau, had called him, of whose company she was fond. Before she had time to compromised herself, however, her aunt, the rigorous and circumspect Empress Anne, induced Lynar to return to Saxony for the benefit of his health, and hastily wedded her niece to Prince Anthony of Brunswick, whom the Princess secretly despised as a milksop. . . ." (The Daughter of Peter the Great: 40)

" . . . When, in the beginning of 1741, Count Lynar returned to St. Petersburg as representative of Saxony, and it was evident to Fraulein Mengden that the partiality of the Regent for that gentleman was stronger than ever, this complaisant bosom-friend, in order to mask her mistress's liaison, allowed herself to be married to Lynar, and the intrigue between the Grand Duchess and the ambassador was secretly carried on in Miss Mengden's apartments, only nine days after the birth of Anne Leopoldovna's second child Catherine. Nay, more, Fraulein Mengden is said to have mounted guard at the door of the Regent's bedchamber, and denied Prince Anthony access to his own wife." (The Daughter of Peter the Great: 41)

"Anna, a sixteen-year-old girl at that time, was suspected of having intimate relations with a certain ladies' man, the handsome Count Maurice Karl Lynar, the Polish-Saxonian ambassador to St. Petersburg, and Mrs. Adercass, the princess's governess, was named an accomplice in organizing their secret meetings. In late June of the same year she was put with great haste on a ship and deported; later on, at the Russian government's request, Augustus II recalled Count Lynar from Russia. . . [T]he reason for this scandal was very simple: the princess was young, and the count handsome... Nothing else can be said about this incident. We only know that Anna's coming to power in 1740 immediately brought Lynar back to the St. Petersburg court, where he soon felt quite at home, attended meetings, received the highest decoration in Russia---the Order of St. Andrew, a diamond sword, and other rewards. . . ." (Anisimov: 139)

"Count Lynar, the envoy of the Danish King, had been sent to Russia to negotiate the exchange of Holstein, which belonged to the Grand Duke, for the County of Oldenburg. He was a man who united, so it was said, a great deal of knowledge with equal ability. His outward appearance was that of the most complete fop. He was big and well built, had reddish blond hair and a woman's white complexion... He boasted that he had eighteen children and claimed tha he had always prepared his children's wet nurses by putting them in the family way. . . ." (Catherine the Great: 87)

"While her future husband was away at war, fighting Turkey, Anna Leopoldovna fell in love with Carl Moritz Linar, the "handsome and swashbuckling" Saxon ambassador. In 1735, her aunt learnt of their love affair and asked the Saxon government to recall the ambassador. Linar was sent home in 1736 and the empress kept a close watch on her niece." (Alexander Palace Forum)

Catherine's physical appearance and personal qualities.

By Poniatowski.
This is how Catherine appeared in Stanislaw Poniatowski's eyes. "She was twenty-five, that perfect moment when a woman who has any claim to beauty is at her loveliest. She had black hair, a complexion of dazzling whiteness, large, round, blue, expressive eyes, long, dark eyelashes, a Grecian nose, a mouth that seemed to ask for kisses, perfect shoulders, arms, and hands, a tall, slim figure and a bearing which was graceful, supple, and yet of the most dignified nobility, a soft and agreeable voice, and a laugh as merry as her temperament. One moment she would be reveling in the wildest and most childish of games; a little later she would be seated at her desk, coping with the most complicated affairs of finance and politics." (Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman: 185)

By the Chevalier d'Eon.

"The Chevalier d'Eon, a cross-dressing spy sent by the French king Louis XV to keep tabs on the Russian court, wrote: 'The Grand Duchess is romantic, ardent, passionate; her eyes like those of a wild beast, Her brow is high; and, if I mistake not, there is a long and awful future on that brow. She is kind and affable, but when she comes near me, I draw back with a movement, which I cannot control. She frightens me." (The Peasant Prince: and the Age of Revolution: 5)

"Other eras and cultures provide parallels that help fram the sexuality of women rulers.  Catherine the Great of Russia (1729-1796) is one of the most prominent exampl;es. Both before and after her husband died she had a series of male favorites (:132)

The office of 'favourite' and its peculiar functions.

" . . . Catherine alone, however. availed herself of the her power to exhibit to the world an example of which, happily, there has been found no second type; by making the office of favourite a recognised place at court, with an apartment, salary, honours, prerogatives, and, above all, its peculiar functions: and of all places there was not one the duties of which were so scrupulously fulfilled: a short absence, a temporary sickness of the person by whom it was occupied, being sometimes sufficient to occasion his removal. Nor perhaps was there any post in which the august sovereign displayed more choice and discernment: it would seem that ho instance occurred of its having been filled by a person incapable of it; and except the the interregnum between Lanskoi and Germolof, it was never twenty-four hours vacant." (Royal Favourites, Volume 2: 434)

Catherine the Great and her twelve favourites.
"Twelve favourites succeeded each other in this post, which became the first of the State. Several of these favourites, confining themselves to the principal duty it prescribed, and having little merit, except the performing of that duty well, had scarcely any influence beyond the immediate sphere of their peculiar department. Some, however, displaying ambition, audacity, and, above all, self-sufficiency, obtained vast influence, and preserved an ascendancy over the mind of Catherine after having lost her heart; while others continued to retain her friendship and gratitude, and when dismissed from their personal attendance on the empress, were thought worthy of serving the empire in public offices. It is a very remarkable feature om the character of Catherine that none of her favourites incurred her hatred or her vengeance, though several of them offended her, and their quitting their office did not depend on herself. No one was ever punished, no one ever persecuted. Those whom she discarded went into foreign countries, to display her presents and dissipate her treasures; after which they returned to enjoy her liberalities with tranquility in the bosom of their native land, though their formidable mistress could have crushed them in a moment. In this respect Catherine certainly appears superior to all other women. Was it from greatness of mind, or from defect of passion? Perhaps she never knew what it was to be in love; perhaps she still respected in her lovers the favours she had honoured them." (Royal Favourites, Volume 2: 435)

Favourite--the lover of the woman on the throne.
"When Catherine, then Sophia, arrived in Russia at the age of fourteen, she learned that 'favorite' was the term used to describe an established and formally recognized lover of the woman on the throne, Empress Elizabeth. While she was still a married grand duchess, Catherine herself had three lovers: Saltykov, Poniatowski, and Gregory Orlov. None of these was her 'favorite'; she was not yet the empress. Orlov, of course, remained Catherine's lover after she reached the throne, thereby becoming her first favorite. During her lifetime, Catherine had twelve lovers: the first three, named above, before she reached the throne at thirty-three, the other nine during her thirty-four years as empress. Of the twelve, she loved five: Poniatowsky, Orlov, Potemkin, Zavadovsky, and Alexander Lanskoy. For another three---Saltykov, Ivan Rimsky-Korsakov, and Alexander Mamonov---she felt passion. Three others--Vasilchikov, Simon Zorich and Alexander Yermolov---were quickly chosen and quickly discarded. The twelfth and last, Platon Zubov, was in a category of his own." (Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman: 448)

Catherine loved fresh young 'meat'.
"Catherine used her (ahem) diplomatic skills to attract the attention of Grigory Orlov, a man five years her junior. Orlov then led a conspiracy to dethrone and kill her husband, Czar Peter III. But when Catherine took the throne, she also took a new lover: Grigory Potemkin, a man ten years her junior. Discovering she loved fresh, young meat, the empress then moved on to Alexander Dmitriev-Mamonov. Despite a 29-year age gap, the two had a relationship that lasted three years, until 1789. Cat didn't mourn for long, though. She began a seven-year affair with Prince Platon Zubov less than a year after the split. She had 40 years on her new conquest. Catherine the Great, indeed." (Ngo & Okyle, 2010, January 19)

Lovers much younger than her.
" . . . Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, garnered the attention of Grigory Orlov, five years younger than she, in order to dethrone her husband, Tsar Peter III. Once Catherine was ruling, she took Grigori Potemkin as her lover, who was ten years younger. And this followed with a lover named Alexander Dmitriev-Mamonov, who was twnety-nine years younger than she. . . ." (The Nine Phases of Marriage: 185)

Catherine the Great's template for her imperial lovers.
" . . . It is surely no coincidence that all Catherine's lovers, with the exception of Poniatowski, were men of Herculean build, handsome, broad-shouldered warrior giants, well developed in body, underdeveloped in mind, tempestuous in their passions, men, in a word, whose common and conspicuous characteristic was their virility. It was because her lovers were of this type that Catherine earned the reputation of a modern Messalina. . . ." (Kaus: 184)

Recruitment & probation of an imperial lover candidate.
"Whenever the Empress, who was constantly on the look out for some new object, saw any man at Court whose appearance pleased her, she lost no time in ascertaining every circumstance calculated to throw light on his situation and character. The next step was to have him invited by the Princess Narishkin, or some other confidant, when her Imperial Majesty would take care to be present. When the stranger was announced, and ushered into the Imperial presence, etiquette required that the rest of the company should withdraw, thus giving the Empress an opportunity of freely conversing with the new candidate. The first interview was usually devoted to a conversation upon general subjects, by which she was enabled to judge of the capacity and intellect of her man: if these answered wishes of Catherine, he was commanded to present himself the following day at a private door of the palace, and which led to a suite of apartments especially appropriated to the favourites for the time time being. When once admitted, his probation was often continued for several days, during which, though not permitted to communicate with any person, except the attendants appointed by the Empress, he was pampered with all the delicacies of the Imperial kitchen, as well as the choicest wines the palace could afford. The preparatory and precautionary measures resorted to on such occasions being ended, he was ushered into the Imperial presence, and soon after experienced still more substantial proofs of confidence and distinction. No sooner had the new minion been initiated, than he assumed the minor duties of his office; these consisted principally in standing behind the chair of the Empress at court, or while at the opera, which at once gave him the rank of an officer of the Imperial presence, and private amanuensis to the Empress. This was quite sufficient to mark the distinguished place he occupied within the precincts of the palace, as well as to make him be looked up to as the great dispenser of court patronage and favour." (Private Anecdotes of Foreign Courts: 53)

Potemkin says she's had 15 lovers; Catherine admits, "No, only four before you.".
"But consumed by jealousy, Potemkin accused Catherine of having fifteen lovers before him. In her frank response, Catherine swore that besides her impotent husband, she'd only slept with four men before Potemkin (Saltykov, Poniatowski, Orlov and Vasilchikov)---'the first chosen out of necessity, and the fourth, out of desperation . . . As to the other three, if you look closely, God knows they weren't the result of debauchery, for which I haven't the least inclination, and had fate given me in my youth a husband whom I could've loved, I would've remained true to him forever. The trouble is my heart if loath to be without love even for a single hour." (The Empress of Art)

Climbing the Ladder into Catherine's Imperial Bed: Perceived (False) How-to's:
  • Serenissimus (His Serene Highness) Potemkin selected the boy out of a list of candidates
  • If liked by Catherine the Great, "official sampler" (eprouveuse) would try him out
  • Prospective favourite stayed with Potemkin for six weeks to be 'taught all he needed to know' as Catherine's lover
  • Dr, Rogerson, Catherine's sociable Scottish doctor checked him
  • Candidate is finally sent to the Empress's room for the most important test of all.] (Potemkin: Catherine the Great's Imperial Partner: 169)
Personal & family background.
"The future empress was born on 21 April 1729 in the city of Stettin (now Szczecin). Her father, Prince Christian August, was a general in the Prussian service and the commander of a regiment stationed in that city. Her mother, the Princess Johanna Elizabeth, born a princess of Schleswig-Holstein, was the younger sister of Prince Karl August, Elizabeth's betrothed, who had died in St. Petersburg. This may have been the decisive circumstance in Elizabeth's chouce of a bride for her heir." (The Emperors and Empresses of Russia: Rediscovering the Romanovs: 136)

Catherine the Great's lovers were:
Years as lover
Sergei Saltykov
Stanislaw August Poniatowski
Grigorii Orlov
Aleksandr Vasilchikov
Grigorii Potemkin
Peter Zavadovskii
Simon Zorich
Ivan Rimskii-Korsakov
Aleksandr Lanskoi
Aleksandr Ermolov
Aleksandr Dmitriev-Mamonov
Platon Zubov
How many lovers did Catherine the Great enjoy?.
"The number of Catherine's favourites after her accession, beginning with the Orloffs, of whom there were five brothers, and ending with Platon and Valerian Zouboff, amounted to seventeen. Some idea may be formed of her prodigality in rewarding these men, none of whom, with the exception of Potemkin, had much more than the capricious partiality of this singular woman to recommend them, when I add that the amounting of property, whether in estates, jewels, or money received from her, exceeded ninety million roubles. (Private Anecdotes of Foreign Courts: 55-56)

Illicit indulgences as wife of the heir to the imperial throne.

"Henceforward, full of her schemes, she flattered all vanities, all prejudices---seduced the nobles, the clergy, the people, and mixed up political intrigues with affairs of the heart; for it must be remarked that the success of her ambitious plans never cost her the sacrifice of any vice and that her very corruption created her grandeur. Disgusted with her husband---a smoker, a drunkard, and a gamester---and seeking compensation in illicit indulgences, she had in a short time progressed far. Four or five lovers had succeeded each other in the arms of this young grand-duchess already a woman strong in her temperament, and who feeling keenly, proportioned her consolations to her unhappiness. The first was Sergius Soltikoff, chamberlain of the prince, and by him ordered to amuse his wife with ingenious festivals during the languor of a feigned malady. The penetrating curiosity of the courtiers discovered the mystery of these amours; however, the effrontery of the two lovers mocked at the stupidity of the prince. Irritated at the accusations with which malevolence, as Peter imagined, pursued his favourite, he defended his chamberlain, and maintained him in office, amidst the bitter derision of the whole court. Elizabeth was also the more easily persuaded, because she troubled herself little about morals provided there was no scandal, and lubricity was masked by some bigotry." (Royal Favourites, Volume 2: 440)

Catherine's transition lovers.
"Zavadovskii's 'retirement' after some eighteen months was followed by similarly short preferments of Semen Zorich in 1777-78 and Ivan Rimskii-Korsakov in 1778-79.  Several other figures also sparked speculation for even shorter periods: Stakhiev and Strakhov in 1778, Levashev and Rontsov in 1779, Vysotskii and Mordinov in 1780-1781. (Rontsov was the bastard son of Count Roman Vorontsov and the half-brother of Princess Dashkova; he incurred Catherine's wrath and temporary disgrace for involvement in the Gordon Riots in London in 1780.)  Probably these latter incidents were mere speculation, but gossip cited them as the eighteenth-century equivalent of one-night stands. The parade slowed slightly in 1779 with the installation of Alexander Lanskoi, who held center stage until his sudden death in June 1784.  Then the steady succession resumed with Alexander Ermolov in 1785-86, Alexander Dmitriev-Mamonov in 1786-89, and, finally, Platon Zubov in 1789-1796, with briefer, shadowy appearances by several entities: Stoianov, Miloradovich, and Miklashevskii.  Since none of these confirmed and unconfirmed favorites left inside accounts of their experiences, and because only a bit of Catherine's correspondence with them has been found (presumably once existed, judging from her previous romantic graphomania), little definite can be surmised about their significance." (Catherine the Great: Life and Legend: 214)
Sergei Saltykov (1726-1765) Chamberlain and lover of the future Empress Catherine II “The Great”, it is rumoured that Emperor Pavel I was actually the son of Saltykov, but there was little resemblance them, and he seemed to have similar features and...
Sergei Saltykov

Sergei Saltykov
Lover in 1752-1755.

Catherine the Great's first lover. 
Imperial Chamberlain 
Russian ambassador to Hamburg, Paris & Dresden

Son of Vasily Fedorovich Saltykov & Marya Alekseevna Galitsyna.

Husband of Matryona Balk.

Saltykov's physical appearance and personal qualities.
" . . . Sergei was handsome and ruthless; a man who was making the seduction of women his life's purpose. He was dark-complexioned, with black eyes, of medium height, and muscular yet graceful. Constantly on the lookout for a new triumph, he always went straight to work, employing charm, promises, and persistence, in whatever combination worked. Obstacles only increased his determination. When he first noticed Catherine, he was twenty-six years old and had been married for two years to one of the empress's ladies-in-waiting, Matriona Balk. . . ." (Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman: 152)

"Most of the flirtations came to nothing, but Sergei Saltykov, then twenty-six and a scion of old Muscovite nobility, was different: he was ]handsome as the dawn' according to Catherine, but, reading between the lines, he was something of a cheap ladies's man. She fell for him. He was probably her first lover. Amazingly, steps were now taken at the highest level to make sure this was indeed the case -- the Empress required an heir no matter who was the father." (Catherine the Great and Potemkin: The Imperial Love Affair: 34)
Sergei Saltykov

Start of the affair.
" . . . Meanwhile since the spring of 1762 [1752?] a handsome, rakish courtier called Sergei Saltykov had been displaying a keen interest in Catherine, and the still largely innocent 23-year-old gradually fell for him. . . . "  (Catherine the Great: 25)

Easy prey to the sexually experienced.

"Catherine was easy prey. Sergei Saltykov was 26 years old, thus three years older than Catherine, and sexually experienced. He came from a noble family and, as Catherine put it, 'knew how to conceal his faults.' She managed to resist his blandishments for several weeks, and then Nikolai Choglokov presented him with an opportunity to pursue her more determinedly, by arranging a hunt on his island during which Saltykov managed to get Catherine to himself in order to 'start upon his favourite subject'. At first Catherine was silent while Sergei made his protestations of love, but finally she had to admit that he was 'agreeable' to her. That evening there was a storm, and the hunting party was stranded at the Choglokovs' house on the island until the early hours of the morning. As Sergei continued to make passionate verbal love to Catherine, she realised that this was a situation she might not be able to control. She was, in fact, falling in love: 'I have believed it possible to govern and influence both his heart and mine but now realized that this was going to be difficult if not an impossible task.'" (Catherine the Great: Love, Sex, and Power)

Saltykov was probably Catherine's first lover.
"Most of her flirtations came to nothing, but Serge Saltykov, then twenty-two and a scion of old Muscovite nobility, was different: he was 'handsome as the dawn' according to Catherine, but, reading between the lines, he was something of a cheap ladies' man. She fell for him. He was probably her first lover. Amazingly, steps were now taken at the highest level to make sure this was indeed the case -- the Empress required an heir no matter who was the father . . . Saltykov, nicknamed 'le beau Serge,' was admired for his looks. . . ." (Potemkin: Catherine the Great's Imperial Partner: 34)
Sergei Saltykov

Father of Emperor Paul I?.
" . . . Catherine consoled herself for the failure of her marriage by taking a number of lovers; the first, Sergei Saltykov, a courtier, may have been the father of Emperor Paul, although he was officially recognized as fathered by Peter. . . ." (Leaders of Russia and the Soviet Union Since 1613: Freom the Romanov Dynasty to Vladimir Putin:16)

" . . . [Russian Empress] Elizabeth permitted an affair between Catherine and a handsome Russian officer, Serge Saltykov. Catherine conceived and bore a son, Paul, who was accepted by Peter as his own. Immediately after his birth, little Paul was carried off to Elizabeth's quarters and the Empress raised him as her own. . . ." (Alexander Palace Time Machine)

"A chamberlain at the young court of the Grand Duke and Duchess, he belonged to one of the noblest and oldest families in Russia. When assigned to this post he had been married for two years to one of the Empress Elizabeth' ladies-in-waiting. He was charming and women found him attractive. Seeing that Catherine was abandoned by her husband, he dared to approach her. After eight years of a virgin marriage, at age twenty-three, she gave herself to Saltuikov. He is most likely the father of Catherine's first child, Grand Duke Paul, although around the same time Catherine's husband Peter had for the first time marital relations with her after a surgical intervention. Catherine had fallen hard for this charming rogue, who soon tried to distance himself from her because of fear and also because he grew tired of this clandestine affair. The Empress sent Saltuikov to the Swedish court at the end of September 1754. Catherine was very distressed and consoled herself with reading." (Catherine the Great FAQ @Ursula's History Web)

"One of Catherine’s ardent passions was Sergey Saltykov, the prince’s chamberlain. He had been a favorite among the ladies of the court, and he attempted to win Catherine’s affections. A handsome man with graceful manners, Saltykov won Catherine’s love. According to some historians, Catherine was advised to conceive an heir with Saltykov, and Paul, who after Catherine’s death became Emperor Paul I, was presumably fathered by him and raised by Empress Elizabeth." (Russia, Past and Present, 2011, March 27)

Probably not the father.
"According to the indiscreet empress, she instead found comfort in the arms of her chamberlain, Count Sergei Vasilievich Saltykov. Charming, respected and influential, Catherine certainly considered the count an ideal man to name as father yet it is unlikely that she was telling the truth. Physically Paul resembled Peter and one might safely surmise that Catherine was simply twisting the knife into her husband's memory one more time, choosing a moment when he was too dead to answer back. After all, Catherine's allegations seemed to say, what sort of a man cannot even consummate his own marriage? Certainly not one fit to be Emperor of Russia." (Life in the Georgian Court: 81)

Evidences of paternity.
"Whether Paul Petrovich was indeed the son of Grand Duke Peter, or that of Sergei Saltykov, is a question which will never be satisfactorily answered unless and until DNA tests are carried out on the remains of Pater III and Paul I. In at least one version of her memoirs, Catherine seems to want the reader to infer that Saltykov was the father. It is of course quite possibly that Catherine herself was unsure as to the child's paternity. But the evidence in support of the argument that Paul was in fact Peter's son is strong and lies both in his unprepossessing appearance as an adult (Sergei Saltykov was considered to have been exceptionally handsome) and in aspects of his character in which he closely resembled Peter. Similar characteristics were also evident in Paul's second son, Constantine. Whatever the truth of the matter, the boy was accepted as legitimate by the Empress Elizabeth and treated from the moment of his birth as a future Tsar." (Catherine the Great: Love, Sex, and Power)

Fruit of their relationship.
"Initially, too, Peter was little interested in the opposite sex and apparently impotent until he had a minor operation seven years after his marriage. By this time he was twenty-four. Meanwhile Catherine had grown tired of waiting and was fearful that she would take the blame for their joint sterility so she acquired a lover, Sergius Saltykov, soon afterwards suffering a miscarriage. It was Saltykov who seems to have persuaded a drunken Peter to undergo the operation so that he would not ask questions about Catherine's pregnancy. . . ." (Romanovs: Europe's Most Obsessive Dynasty: vii)

Affair's benefits to Saltykov.
"Saltykov was her lover from 1752 to 1755.  As Empress, Catherine appointed him envoy to France in 1762, and then to Saxony in 1764; little is known about his fate. . . ." (Catherine the Great: lviii)

The affair's end and aftermath.
"Soltikoff abused a fortune so complaisant. Beloved and happy he grew indiscreet, excited jealousy and saw himself in an instant overthrown. Elisabeth civilly banished him from court, and he died in exile. His disgrace was the work of Chancellor Bestucheff, who desired to advance from the favourite to the master---destroy the former to seize on the latter, in order to maintain himself in all the offices ha had accumulated in his own hands, and which made him the most powerful man in the empire." (Royal Favourites, Vol 2: 440)
Stanislas II of Poland

Lover in 1755-1758.

King of Poland & 
Grand Duke of Lithuania 1764.

Son of: Stanislaw Poniatowski, Castellan of Krakow & Konstancja Czartoryska

First encounter & brief torrid lover affair.
"Hanbury-Williams noticed that Sophia lusted after his blond and hazel-eyed assistant and became a matchmaker to advance Great Britain's interests. On a frigid December night in 1755, the Polish count left his apartment and was picked up by Lev Naryshkin, the gentleman of the royal bedchamber, who whisked Poniatowski through the snow on a sleigh to the side entrance of the Winter Palace, and escorted him past the guards for a secret rendezvous. The twenty-six-year-old duchess was tall and thin, with black hair, a porcelain complexion, and pinkish cheeks. She complained that the harsh Russian winters numbed her body and turned her face 'blue as a plum.' Yet underneath this delicate exterior was a red-hot sexual being. Sophia's confidant Naryshkin would signal by meowing like a cat outside her bedroom door, waiting for her whispered reply when the coast was clear. The twenty-three-year-old Poniatowski was led into the royal chambers, shivering at the thought of exile in a frozen Russian prison if he was caught. Poniatowski recalled in his memoirs that the sight of Sophia in a simple white gown trimmed with lace and pink ribbons was so enticing as to 'make one forget the very existence of Siberia.' Poniatowski spent many nights dressed incognito, tiptoeing through the corridors of St. Petersburg's Winter Palace on his way to and from secret trysts with the grand duchess. Sophia wrote in her memoirs, 'Count Poniatowski always put on a blonde wig and a cloak before leaving my room and when the sentries asked him: 'Who goes there?' he replied: 'The Grand Duke's musician.'" (The Peasant Prince: and the Age of Revolution: 6)

"One night as he twirled across the dance floor during a party, Poniatowski caught the eye of the German-born Grand Duchess Sophia Augusta Frederica. Sophia had been delivered to the royal court to marry the naive and immature heir to the Russian throne, Duke Peter III. Both remained virgins during the first years of the marriage, until the duchess erupted like a sexual volcano bursting through a chain of steamy affairs with paramours discreetly known as her 'favourites' in the royal court.

"The Polish king and the Russian empress were more than casual political associates. Through his influential Czartoryski uncles, Stanislaw secured a position in the Russian court in 1755. There, in the suite of British ambassador Sir Charles Hanbury-Williams, the charming future King met the twenty-six year old Sofia Augusta Friederika of Anhalt-Zerbst, Grand Duchess Catherine Alekseyevna, who is better known as Catherine the Great. Despite the Duchess's marital status, the two engaged in a torrid and high profile love affair. Poniatowski tutored the young Catherine in Western politics and philosophy, but their relationship was cut short when Czarina Elizabeth learned of the liaison and expelled Stanislaw in 1758. Elizabeth was no prude and recognized that Catherine was not likely to be faithful to her inadequate husband; rather Poniatowski was expelled when he was suspected of being a Czartoryski spy and because he associated with the British who recently negated their Russian alliance by signing a treaty with Prussia." (Unvanquished)

"It is said that Catherine regretted her first lover, till the young Poniatowsky, who was to be the second, appeared at St. Petersburg, and soon occasioned Soltikoff to be forgotten. Handsome, gallant and lively, he speedily engaged the affections of the youthful and amorous grand-duchess. The happiness of Stanislaus Poniatowsky was still more ephemeral than that of his predecessor, probably because he was more indiscreet. His fatuity exceeded all bounds. Elizabeth ordered him to quit Russia and he obeyed; but the passion of the grand-duchess and the policy of Bestucheff soon caused him to return. Poniatowsky re-appeared at St. Petersburg in the quality of minister plenipotentiary of the Republic and King of Poland at the court of the Empress Elizabeth. Henceforward throwing aside all modesty and prudence, Catherine never quitted her lover; and was so little reserved in her connexion, that all the Russians accused the young Pole of being the father of her second child, the Princess Anne, of whom the grand-duchess was soon confined, and who died almost in her birth." (Royal Favourites, Vol 2: 441)

" . . . In the same year, 1755, a man arrived . . . British envoy Sir Charles Hanbury-Williams. . . Within the diplomat's entourage was another man who would also play an important role in Catherine's life; the young, romantic and idealistic Polish noble Count Stanislas August Poniatowski.  the quickly fell for Catherine's dazzling white complexion, dark hair and 'large expressive blooming eyes'. In turn, she fell for the charming aristocrat, and he became the first real love of her life." (Catherine the Great: 26)

"England sent a new Ambassador, Sir Charles Hanbury-Williams to St. Petersburg. In his entourage was a charming and cultured young man, Count Stanislav Augustus Poniatowski, a member of Poland's grand families, the Czartoryskis. Three years younger than Catherine, he fell in love with the young Grand Duchess and would love her all his life. Catherine was more levelheaded after the affair with her first love, but succumbed to his persistent charm. The affair lasted five years and produced Catherine's second child, a girl, whom the Empress called Anna in honor of her late sister, the mother of Catherine's husband. Anna died at age 2 in 1759." (Catherine the Great FAQ @Ursula's History Web)

Catherine's first true love affair.

"In 1755, at a ball at Oranienbaum, the Grand Duke's palace near Peterhof, Catherine met Stanislas Poniatowski, aged twenty-three, the Polish secretary to the new English envoy. It happened that Poniatowski was the representative of Poland's powerful pro-Russian party, based around his uncles, the Czartoryski brothers, and their cousinhood, hence known as the 'Familia'. But he was also the young ideal of the cultured Enlightened man of the world, with a streak of romantic, melancholic idealism. The pair fell in love. It was her first true love affair in which her feelings were passionately reciprocated." (Catherine the Great and Potemkin: 35)

Stanislaw II August's physical appearance & personal qualities.
" . . . He was highly intelligent, brilliantly educated, hard-working, principled, and committed to improving the Commonwealth. His educational, political, and cultural leadership achieved more in Poland than any king in the preceding 150 years. Like Sobieski, Poniatowski was multilingual, speaking six languages fluently and had, at the expense of his wealthy father, conducted a grand tour of Europe in his early adulthood. He was greatly impressed with English constitutional politics and French culture, and worked to bring the best of both back to Poland. Yet Stanislaw was destined to be a tragic figure, an ardent but ineffective patriot, often blamed for the destruction of the Commonwealth. He was vain, often superficial, and had an unfortunate habit of losing his nerve under pressure, but Stanislaw loved his country and always believed his actions were in the interests of Poland. He remains one of the most misrepresented, or perhaps misunderstood, figures in Polish history." (Unvanquished)

"Stanislaus Poniatowski, three years younger than Catherine, could not compete in male beauty with Sergei Saltykov. He was short, his face heart-shaped, his eyes shortsighted and hazel. He had prominent eyebrows and a tapering chin, but he spoke six languages, his charm and conversation made him welcome everywhere, and, at twenty-three, he was a model of the young, sophisticated European aristocrat. He was the first of this type to stand before Catherine, and he represented in person the brilliant world for which the writings of Madame de Sévigné and Voltaire had stimulated her taste. He spoke in the language of the Enlightenment, could talk playfully on abstract questions, be dreamily romantic one day and childishly frivolous the next. Catherine was intrigued. Two qualities, however, Stanislaus lacked. There was little originality and no real gravitas in this young Pole, deficiencies that Catherine came to recognize and accept. In fact, no one recognized these limitations better than Stanislaus himself. In his memoirs he confessed: An excellent education enables me to conceal my mental defects, so that many people expect more from me than I am able to give. I have sufficient wit to take part in any conversation, but not enough to converse long and in detail on any one subject. I have a natural penchant for the arts. My indolence, however, prevents me from going as far as I should like to go, either in the arts or sciences. I work either overmuch or not at all. I can judge very well of affairs. I can see at once the faults of a plan or the faults of those who propose it, but I am much in need of good counsel in order to carry out any plans of my own. For a man of his sophistication, he was, in many respects, extraordinarily innocent. He had promised his mother not to drink wine or spirits, not to gamble, and not to marry before the age of thirty. Further, by his own account, Stanislaus had another singularity, odd enough in a young man just come from social triumph in Paris and other European capitals: A severe education had kept me out of all vulgar debauchery. An ambition of winning and holding a place in high life had stood by me in my travels and a concourse of singular circumstances in the liaisons that I had barely entered upon, had seemed expressly to reserve me for her who has disposed of all my destiny. In a word, he came to Catherine a virgin. Poniatowski had other qualities appealing to a proud woman who had been rejected and discarded. His devotion showed her that she could inspire more than simple lust. He expressed admiration not merely for her title and beauty but also for Catherine’s mind and temperament, which both he and she recognized as superior to his own. He was affectionate, attentive, discreet, and faithful. He taught Catherine to know contentment and security as well as passion in love. He became a part of her process of healing." (Erenow)

Affair's end and aftermath.

"Empress Elizabeth, obviously, did not wait to see if Catherine was bluffing and took steps to soothe her niece-in-law’s feelings. Peter saw that his aunt favored Catherine and followed suit in healing the breech between himself and his wife. Being Peter he did if oddly. He would hold intimate suppers for himself, Catherine, Vorontsova, and Poniatowski and would then leave with his mistress after encouraging his wife and her lover to enjoy themselves alone (Massie, 2011). This made Catherine unhappy because she knew there would be serious sociopolitical fallout from Peter’s behavior. It was one thing to turn a discrete blind eye; it was quite another to host your wife and the man cuckolding you to dinner. When word of the private suppers got around, Elizabeth could see that her nephew was making himself a laughingstock. There was nothing else for it – Poniatowski had to leave court for good in 1758." (The Last King of Poland and the Empress Who Loved Him)

Natural offspring.
" . . . Poniatowski, too, was recalled to Poland for a while, though he returned in December 1756 as Polish envoy.  Nearly a year later, in 1757, Catherine gave birth to a daughter Anna Petrovna, who is assumed to have been the Polish aristocrat's child . . .  Catherine was . . hit by the sudden death of her daughter Anna in March 1759. . . As for her lover Poniatowski, he had returned to Poland in mid-1758. . . . " (Catherine the Great: 27)

Stanislaw II August's Gallery.
Stanislaw Augustus Poniatowski

Grigory Orlov

Grigory Orlov
Lover in 1760-1772.

Russian aristocrat & imperial lover.

Count of Russia 1765, Prince of the Holy Roman Empire 1765, Master of the Ordnance 1765, President, Free Economic Society, Adjutant-General, Director-General of Engineers, General-in-Chief.

Son of: Grigory Orlov, Governor of Great Novgorod.

Husband of: Yekaterina Zinovyeva, his niece ((1759-1783) mar 1777.

Natural offspring:
1. Yelizaveta (1761-?)
2. Aleksey (1762-?)

The type man Catherine admired.
"Catherine first met Orlov when he was acting as escort officer to Count Schwerin. There is a story that, one day when the count was visiting Oranienbaum, she stood at her window gazing in boredom down at the garden, when her eyes met the fiery glance of Gregory Orlov. It cannot be doubted that the virile good looks of the young officer made an impression on her, and Orlov was no hesitant lover like Poniatowski; he seized his opportunities as soon as became aware of them. He bore little resemblance to Poniatowski, but he shared certain qualities in common with Saltykov and others who were to succeed him in Catherine's favour; he was, to put it baldly, the type of man she admired. It is surely no coincidence that all Catherine's lovers, with the exception of Poniatowski, were men of Herculean build, handsome, broad-shouldered warrior giants, well developed in body, underdeveloped in mind, tempestuous in their passions, men, in a word, whose common and conspicuous characteristic was their virility. It was because her lovers were of this type that Catherine earned the reputation of a modern Messalina...." (Catherine: the Portrait of an Empress: 184)

Orlov's physical appearance and personal qualities.

"Grigory Grigorevich Orlov was handsome, tall and blessed, wrote an English diplomat, with 'every advantage of figure, countenance and manner. Orlov came of a race of giants -- all five brothers were equally gargantuan. His face was said to be angelic, but he was also the sort of cheerful bluff soldier everyone loved -- 'he was a simple and straightforward man without pretentions, affable, popular, good-humoured and honest.  He never did an unkindness to anyone' -- and was immensely strong. . . ." (Catherine the Great & Potemkin)

Excellent equipment, unbelievable stamina & insatiable appetite.
" . . . Gregory Orlov was her on and off lover for around thirteen years. He was said to possess excellent equipment, unbelievable ‘stamina’ and an insatiable appetite for sex." (Fascinating History).

Handsome, but very stupid. .
". . . Orlov was not particularly clever -- 'very handsome', wrote the envoy Breteuil to his Minister Choiseul in Paris, 'but . . very stupid. . . . ." (Catherine the Great & Potemkin: 36)

Orlov provided both physical vigour & political muscle to Catherine.
"Early in 1761, Catherine and Orlov fell in love. After the slightly precious sincerity of Poniatowski, Grigory Orlov provided physical vigour, bearlike kindness and, more importantly, the political muscle that would soon be needed. . . ." (Catherine the Great & Potemkin)

A liberal-minded man.
" . . . Orlov had been her lover for twelve years, and was the father of her son, A Borinskoy, never legitimized, but known to be hers, and recognized as his brother by Paul I. (The rumour that she had five daughters by Orlov is quite unsubstantiated.) During their liaison Orlov seems to have conducted himself in such a way as not to arouse violent hostility. He was brave, lay, good-natured, neither very intelligent nor very cultured. He played a prominent part in court functions and festivities. But he was a liberal-minded man and he should be remembered for two initiatives: he invited the Genevese philosopher Rousseau, who quarrelled with everybody, to settle in Russia (presumably with Catherine's consent); and he sponsored a number of projects on his estates to find an alternative to serfdom for the establishment of peasants on the land, also with Catherine's knowledge and approval. Catherine was induced to dismiss Orlov in 1772 because of his unfaithfulness, and she chose a new lover, whom she did not love and who was given no governmental post, simply because she could not live alone. . . ." (Catherine the Great)
Portrait of young Count Grigory Orlov by A. Cherny, end of 1760s

First Encounter with Orlov
"Two years later, Catherine noticed Grigory Orlov, a lieutenant of the Izmailovsky Guards who, after distinguishing himself by taking three wounds from the Prussians at the Battle of Zorndorf, had returned to Petersburg charged with guarding a noble Prussian prisoner-of-war, Count Schwerin. Peter, who worshiped all things Prussian, flaunted his friendship with Schwerin. This was probably how Catherine came to know Orlov, though legend claims she first admired him on guard duty from her window." (Potemkin: 36)

"There are no records describing the circumstances of Catherine and Gregory's first meeting. An oft-told story is that one day the lonely grand duchess was staring out a palace window when she saw a tall, handsome officer in the uniform of the Guards standing in the courtyard. He happened to look up, their eyes met, and the attraction was immediate. No amorous minuet followed. . . " (Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman: 230)

Poniatowski's successor-lover.
" . . . In fact, it was not long before Poniatowski had a successor in the affections of the grand-duchess; a third intrigue engaged Catherine before the death of the Empress Elizabeth, and no one doubted it at the court. Gregory Orloff, this new lover, occupied a low rank in the guards; but if he had not advantage of illustrious birth, nature had endowed him with compensating gifts, in a masculine beauty and intrepid character.Catherine had visited him regularly by night, in the small house in which he resided in the neighbourhood of the Winter Palace; she had confided to him her most secret designs, and had made him the most determined of the conspirators. The five brothers Orloff formed the centre of this conspiracy, among whom Gregory played the chief part. The accomplices of these scandalous adulteries became the natural promoters of her usurpation; for the distance is small, for a subject, between dishonouring the bed of a king, and raising his hand against his throne. . . ." (Royal Favourites, Vol 2: 448)

"On December 9, 1758, Catherine gave birth to a daughter. The court generally believed that Poniatowski was the father, but Peter took the credit, accepted congratulations, and organized festivities to celebrate his achievement; however, the child died four months later. The Empress had Poniatowski recalled to Poland, and Catherine was briefly loveless. But she was charmed by the adventures, in love and war, of Grigori Grigorievich Orlov, aide-de-camp to Piotr Shuvalov. Orlov had made a reputation by keeping his post in the battle of Zorndorf despite three wounds. He had the build of an athlete and the 'face of an angel', but his only morality was to win power and women by any available means. Shuvalov had a mistress, Princess Elena Kurakin, one of the fairest and loosest beauties of the court; Orlov won her away from his superior; Shuvalov vowed to kill him, but died before attending to the matter. Catherine admired Orlov's courage, and noted that in the guards he had four brothers all tall and strong; these five warriors would be useful in an emergency. She arranged a meeting with Grigori, then another, and another; soon she displaced Kurakin. By July, 1761, she was pregnant; in April, 1762, she gave birth, as secretly as possible, to Orlov's son, who was brought up as Alexis Bobrinsky. ." (Rousseau and Revolution: The Story of Civilization, Volume X)

Orlov's replacement-lovers.
" . . . Continuing to serve Catherine in various capacities, Orlov became deeply resently (sic, resentful?) when she took Alexander Vasilchikov, then Grigori Potemkin, as lovers in his place. He left Russia in 1775." (Famous Diamonds)

Why him?
"Catherine's passionate affair with Orlov -- which probably began sometime in 1761 -- was a happy coincidence or personal and political needs on her part. Emotionally she had been alone since the departure of Poniatowski and she quickly fell for Orlov's looks, his imposing physique, his bluff good humour and his natural air of authority and strength. Politically the relationship meant that Catherine quickly acquired a whole new network among the Guards, young, deeply patriotic Russians who were close to the centre of power and who potentially had the means to make or break emperors. . . . "  (Catherine the Great: 31)

Orlov's personal & family background.
"Orlov was the son of a provincial governor and not of the wealthy higher nobility. He was descended from a Streltsy officer who was sentence to beheading by Peter the Great.  When it was his turn to died, Orlov's grandfather stepped up the reeking block and kicked the head of the man before him out of the way." (Catherine the Great & Potemkin: 36)

The five Orlov brothers.
" . . . Among the leaders of this clique of wild young men, whose very presence made life in St. Petersburg somewhat unsafe for the respectable citizen, were the five brothers Orlov, real giants by stature all of them, strikingly handsome, and wholly lacking in self-control. The Orlovs were the centre of a daring political intrigue which aimed at the deposition of the unpopular Tsar Peter III from the throne he had only just ascended and the proclamation of Catherine, his wife, as Regent during the minority of Tsarevitch Paul. This was in 1762, and only the previous year Grigory Grigorievitch Orlov---the second of the five brothers---had become Catherine's lover, a position he was to hold for eleven years...." (Potemkin: 44)

The most handsome of the Orlov brothers.
" . . . Catherine was soon just as interested in one of the young Guards officers whose job it had been to escort the Prussian count to St Petersburg. His name was Grigory Orlov, a Lieutenant in the Izmailovskii Guards who was already known for his bravery in battle, and who was considered the most handsome of the five Orlov brothers." (Catherine the Great: 31)

Affair's benefits to Orlov.
"For Gregory Orlof's benefit she created the institution of First Favourite, a position that corresponded to that of the maitresse en titre in France, and to which official recognition had hitherto never been given in any country.  He wore her miniature studded with diamonds as a special mark of her favour. . . ."  (Seven Splendid Sinners: 141)

Captain-paymaster of his corps. 
". . .This adventure reached the ears of Catherine. Curiosity led her to wish for an acquaintance with the young officer whose disaster was the subject of public conversation. Orloff was secretly introduced to the Grand Duchess, and as soon as the latter thought herself assured of the boldness and discretion of her lover, she unveiled to him her ambitious designs. On the death of General Schuvaloff she prevailed with lieutenant-general Villebois, who obtained the command of the artillery, to give Orloff the place of captain-paymaster of his corps." (Memoirs of the Life of Prince Potemkin: 6)

Natural offspring -- Alexei Grigorievich Bobrinskoy: " . . . On 10 April 1762 she gave birth to Orlov's son, who was named Alexei Grigoryvich, and very quickly re-entered public life. . . . " (Catherine the Great: 35)

Orlov's marriage to his first cousin.
"In September 1773 Catherine took Vasilchikov as the new favorite. He was a twenty-eight year old officer, considerably younger than Catherine, even-tempered and shy. Orlov had been sent to peace talks with Sultan Mustapha’s envoys to Foscani, in what is now Romania. Although he told Catherine he wanted to marry his young cousin Catherine Zinovieva before he left, when he heard of the new favorite, he came rushing back to St. Petersburg. Catherine had made Gregory Orlov a Prince of the Empire, now she severed her attachments to Vasilchikov and restored Orlov to his former status. She gave him many gifts, but their sexual relationship had ended. Orlov had given Catherine a 199-carat diamond, which she had mounted on the Imperial sceptre. In 1776 Catherine helped Orlov to marry his first cousin, a marriage not normally permitted by the church." (Catherine the Great FAQ @Ursula's History Web)

Orlov's and wife's offspring.
"Having accepted that he was no longer the imperial favorite, Gregory Orlov consoled himself by falling in love with, and asking to marry, his fifteen-year-old second cousin, Catherina Zinovieva, with whom he set off on an extended journey to western Europe. The empress, although piqued to find herself replaced so quickly, interceded on his behalf with the Holy Synod, arranging for it to set aside the church ban on marriages of people from the same family. In 1777, Orlov was finally able to marry. But his bride had tuberculosis and her health continued to deteriorate. Despite the fact that Orlov lavished care on her and took her everywhere for treatment, she died four years later in Lausanne. Orlov returned to St. Petersburg, where his own health declined. He suffered hallucinations and lapsed into dementia. On April 12, 1783, he died at the age of forty-six. His will left his immense fortune to Alexis Bobrinsky, his son with Catherine." (Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman: 449)

The affair's end & aftermath.
" . . . In 1777 Count Orlov married his cousin, but following her death in Lausanne in 1782, he became mentally deranged and returned to Russia to die in the following year." (Famous Diamonds)

"Catherine rewarded Orlov with titles and power and trusted his judgment without question, seeing him as her closest advisor. However, her favourite made powerful enemies and for years they dripped poison into Catherine's ear until, tiring of reports of his infidelity, Catherine set Orlov aside whilst he was on diplomatic business and replaced him with Alexander Vasilchikov. . . ." (Life in the Gregorian Court: 82)

Grigory Orlov's Other Lover.
Elena Apraksina
Princess Kurakina

Elena Stepanivna Apraksina (1735-1768)
Princess Kurakina

Wife ofPrince Boris Alexandrovich Kurakin-Leonti (1733-1764), mar 1751.

"Gregory was the second and the most handsome of the brothers. He had 'the head of an angel on the body of an athlete.' He had distinguished himself by his singular courage at the frightful slaughter of Zorndorf where, though he had been four times wounded, he did to stir from his post; and in recognition of his bravery he was made aide-de-camp to Colonel Peter Shuvalov. His heroism was, in point of fact, not of the heroic, popular brand; it was merely a manifestation of the traditional Orlov contempt for death, which needed no idealistic motive to spur it on to challenge destiny and danger. Gregory proved this quickly enough when he abducted his colonel's mistress, the beautiful Princess Kurakin. This was far more dangerous adventure that the battle of Zorndorf, but Gregory's lucky star was still watching over him. Shuvalov met with a sudden, unexpected death, and Gregory Orlov became overnight one of the most picturesque figures in Russia." (Catherine: the Portrait of an Empress: 183)

"Gregory Orloff possessed neither the advantages of birth nor those of education; but he had received from nature: courage and beauty. He was an officer in the artillery; while two of his brothers, Alexey and Vladimir, were only common soldiers in the guards. Count Peter Schuvaloff, grand master of the artillery,a vain and pompous man, was desirous of having the handsomest of his officers for his aide-de-camp, as he had for his mistress Princess Kourakin, the most beautiful lady of the court. He selected Orloff, and his mistress, pleased with this choice, soon gave the handsome aide-de-camp a hint: that she preferred him to his general. Unfortunately, the latter surprised them together. He threatened to exert his interest to have Orloff banished to Siberia. . . . " (Memoirs of the Life of Prince Potemkin: 5)

". . . One of his conquests followed the Battle of Zorndorf, when, still recovering from wounds, he managed to seduce Princess Helen Kurakina, the mistress of Count Peter Shuvalov, the Grand Master of the Artillery.  This trespass on the turf of the mighty Shuvalovs might have imperiled Orlov, but he escaped when Peter Shuvalov suddenly died a natural death.  News of this romantic conquest added to his military fame and made Grigory Orlov a conspicuous figure in St. Petersburg.  He was introduced to Empress Elizabeth---and eventually caught the eye of the wife of the heir to the throne." (The Book of the Dead)

"...On his return in 1759, Orlov was appointed adjutant to Count Peter Shuvalov.  Orlov soon managed to seduce Shuvalov's mistress, Princess Elena Kurakina.  It was Orlov's luck that Shuvalov died before he could avenge himself."  (Catherine the Great and Potemkin: The Imperial Love Affair)

Elena's other lover was:

A. Ivan Grigoryevich Orlov (1733-1791)
B. Grigory Orlov (1734-1783)
C. Alexei Orlov (1737-1808)
D. Fyodor Orlov (1741-1796)
Russian general
E. Vladimir Orlov (1743-1831)
Gatchina Castle
Affair's benefits.
"Two years earlier Orlov had visited Amsterdam where he came to learn of the existence of Safras' great diamond.  He bought it for a sum reputed to have been 1,400,000 florins, equivalent to 400,000 roubles.  Such a purchase, doubtless, would have been made both to remind Catherine of the role which Orlov played in her accession to the throne and hopefully to restore himself in her favor.  This possibility appeared even stronger at the time, because Catherine herself had refused to accept Safras' original asking price for the diamond to the Empress on her Saint's Day; she accepted it and had it set in the Imperial Sceptre, designed by Troitnoki, immediately beneath the golden eagle.  The Empress gave Orlov a marble palace at St. Petersburg but she never rewarded him with his former position as her favorite. . . . "  (Famous Diamonds)
Aleksander Vassilchiko

Aleksander Vassilchikov
Lover in 1772-1774.

Russian aristocrat & imperial lover.
Ensign in Chevalier Guard Regiment
Gentleman of the Bedchamber 1772
Order of St. Alexander Nevsky

The new (lover) kid in the (imperial) block: "Just a few days before, on 30 August, a good-looking ensign in the Horse-Guards, Alexander Vassilchikov, aged twenty-eight, was formally appointed adjutant-general to the Empress and moved into a Winter Palace apartment. courtiers knew that they had been lovers for a month. After being introduced to Vassilchikov, at the behest of Nikita Panin, Catherine had watched him closely. At Tserskoe Selo, when he escorted her carriage, she presented him with a gold snuff-box engraved 'For the good bearing of the bodyguards', an unusual reward for sentry duty. On 1 August, he was appointed gentleman of the bedchamber." (Potemkin: Catherine the Great's Imperial Partner)

A short-term distraction, just a fling: "More than fifteen years his lover's junior, the romantic and loving Vasilchikov never really stood a chance as anything other than a short-term distraction. Catherine lavished him with money and gifts yet he was unsatisfied, wishing for more than indulgence and money. However, if Catherine had taken Orlov into her confidence and shared with him the most important matters of state, Vasilchikov was no more than a fling. He might wish for power and influence but he was to have no such thin and this refusal simply go with the flow meant that he was not long for Catherine's bed." (Life in the Georgian Court: 82)

A 'stopgap' lover: "Thus Vasilchikov, not Orlov, had turned out to be the primary victim of this boudoir upheaval, and no one knew better than the wretched favorite himself. He was sufficiently sensitive to realize that he bored his mistress and that he was viewed as only a stopgap. His, shy, sweet temper, which had been one of his assets, turned peevish and sour. His description of his life with the empress is the wail of an abandoned child: 'I was nothing more to her than a kind of male cocotte, and was treated as such. I was not allowed to receive guests or go out. If I made a request for myself or anyone else, she did not reply. When I wished to have the Order of St. Anne, I spoke to the empress about it. The next day I found a thirty thousand ruble banknote in my pocket. In this way, she always stopped my mouth and sent my to my room. She never condescended to discuss with me any matters that lay close to my heart.' Catherine kept him on because, having made the unfortunate choice of this obscure young guardsman, she thought it would be cruel to dismiss him for faults for which he was not responsible. Finally, however, when she could endure him no longer, she write to Potemkin. 'Tell Panin that he must send Vasilchikov away somewhere for a cure. I feel suffocated by him and he complains of pains in his chest. Later he could be appointed envoy somewhere as ambassador---somewhere where there is not too much work to do. He is a bore. I burned my fingers and I shall never do it again.' Although Vasilchikov's performance in the role of favorite was probably the weakest of any of Catherine's lovers, she accepted most of the blame. He was a sudden replacement, installed when she was angry at the frequently and flagrantly unfaithful Gregory. 'It was a random choice,' she admitted later, 'made out of desperation. I was more heartbroken at the time than I can say. The hapless Vasilchikov departed, generously pensioned for his efforts and good intentions. He retired to a large country estate near Moscow---a gift from the empress. Over the years, he aged into a quiet country gentleman, ignored and mostly forgotten by his sovereign. Once he had gone, she replaced mediocrity with genius and boredom with intellectual fireworks. She sent for Potemkin." (Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman: 416)

Personal & family background.
"Alexander Vasilchikov came from an old family of Moscow noblemen. A handsome twenty-seven-year-old cornet of the Horse Guards (1772), he often served on guard duty at Tsarskoe Selo, where she caught the eye of Catherine the great. He was promoted to the posts of gentleman of the bedchamber and chamberlain, bringing him into constant contact with the empress. When he was awarded the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky, everyone understood that a new favourite had emerged. Pleasant and polite, he was embarrassed by his position. By 1774, however, Catherine had begun to tire of him. Awarded expensive gifts and a large pension, he moved to Moscow, where he married and lived happily for the rest of his life." (rusartnet)

The affair's end & aftermath.
"Matters at court continued to distract Catherine. Awkwardly, Alexander Vasilchikov (nicknamed 'Ice Soup' by Catherine and Potemkin, possibly because of his frosty behavior after being replaced) hadn't vacated his apartment at the Winter Palace. To expedite his departure, Catherine rewarded him with properties and a 20,000-ruble pension. 'General Potemkin is more in fashion than many others,' Catherine wrote Grimm. ' . . . I have drawn away from a certain excellent but very annoying citizen who has been quickly replaced, I don't know how, by one of the tallest, the funniest, and the most amusing originals of this iron century.' Complaining that he felt like a male cocotte, Vasilchikov, acknowledging that he had been beaten out by another suitor, retired to his Moscow country estate with a collection of Western European paintings and sculptures." (The Empress of Art.)
Grigory Potemkin
Prince of Taurida

Prince of Taurida.

Lover in 1774-1776.

Russian military leader, statesman, nobleman and favourite of Catherine the Great

Prince of the Russian Empire
Prince of the Holy Roman Empire 1775
Major-General of the Cavalry
Lieutenant General 1773
Adjutant General 1774
Field Marshal 1783
Lieutenant-Colonel, Preobrazhensky Guards 1774
Captain of Chevaliers-Gardes 1784
Governor-General of Novorossiya
Member of the State Council
Vice-President of War College
President of War College 1783?
Commander-in-Chief of the Cossacks.
Chamberlain to Empress 1768

"[The following character of Prince Potemkin is from the pen of Count Segur, who lived in habits of intimacy with him: 'I his person were collected the most opposite defects and advantages of every kind. He was avaricious and ostentatious, despotic and obliging, politic and confiding, licentious and superstitious, bold and timid, ambitious and indiscreet; lavish in his bounties to his relations, his mistresses, and his favourites, yet frequently paying neither his household nor his creditors. His consequence always depended on a woman, and he was always unfaithful to her. Nothing could equal the activity of his mind, nor the indulgence of his body. No dangers could appal his courage; no difficulties force him to abandon his projects. But the success of an enterprise always brought on disgust. Every thing with him was desultory: business, pleasure, temper, courage. His presence was a restraint on every company. He was morose to all that stood in awe of him, and caressed all such as accosted him with familiarity. None had read leass than he; few people were better informed. One while he formed the project of becoming Duke of Courland; at another he thought of bestowing on himself the crown of Poland. He frequently gave intimation of an intention to make himself a bishop, or even a simple monk. He built a superb palace and wanted to sell if before it was finished. In is youth he had pleased Catherine by the ardour of his passion, by his valour, and by his masculine beauty. Become the rival of Orloff, he performed for his sovereign whatever the most romantic passion could inspire. He put out an eye, to free it from a blemish which diminished his beauty. Banished by his rival, hee ran to meet death in battle, and returned with a story. He died in 1791, at the age of fifty-two." (The Works: 680-681)

Affair's benefits to Potemkin.
File: View of the Tauride Palace from the Garden side.jpg
Tauride Palace
Pyotr Zavadovsky

Lover in 1776-1777

The new official favourite.
" . . . As early as 1776 Peter Zavadovskii, a high-ranking official, appears at Catherine's court and becomes her new favourite. . . ." (Five Empresses: 307)

Menage-a-trois test case.
"Zavadovsky was the first official favourite to share the Empress's bed while Potemkin ruled her mind, continuing to serve as her consort, friend and minister. . .  Catherine's affair with Zavadovsky was the test case for the imperial menage-a-trois. Potemkin's presence made life for the favourites more difficult and humiliating, because they could not avoid Catherine's intimacy with him. Their relationship with Serenissimus was almost as important as their love for the Empress. Even without Potemkin, this was a difficult role and Zavadovsky was soon deeply miserable." (Potemkin: Catherine the Great's Imperial Partner: 166)

Another short fling.
"The affair with Zavadovsky was yet another short fling, any chance for deepening affection marred by Catherine's continuing reliance on Potemkin. Unable to hold his lover's interest, Zavadovsky was usurped for a short time by military here, Semyon Zorich, and then by Ivan Rimsky-Korsakov, an associate of Potemkin. However, this was to prove an unhappy tryst for all concerned as Catherine, much to her former lover's dismay, became rather too fond of 23-year-old Rimsky-Korsakov. By now in her mid-forties, Catherine loved

Physical appearance & personal qualities.
"At first, Zavadovsky appeared to have more of the qualities necessary to succeed. Born of a good family, he had accompanied the field marshal to the battlefield, where his courage had earned him the rank of lieutenant colonel.  e was thirty-seven, the same age as Potemkin, had a handsome figure, a classical education, a good mind, and a modest, courteous manner. . . Zavadovsky lived for a short time in the glow of imperial favor before settling back into life as a highly respected civil servant. . . ." (Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman: 443)

Affair's benefits.
". . . [W]hen he built his palace at Evaketindar (Catherine's gift) --  with its 250 rooms, porcelain stones, malachite fireplaces, full library -- its centrepiece was a lifesize statue of Catherine. . . . " (Potemkin: Catherine the Great's Imperial Partner: 169)

" . . . The empress showered Zavadovsky with promotions and awards, appointing him minister of education, senator, and count of the Holy Roman Empire. Zavadovsky's palace, Lyalichi at Ekaterinodar, in southern Russia, was designed on the empress's orders by a known Italian architect. Zavadovsky's palace, comprising 250 rooms, was a desolate place; he complained it felt like an aviary for crows. . . ."  (Popoff, 2010, p. 9)

"Although Catherine quickly found of successors to Zavadovskii, she respected his administrative skills and loyalty sufficiently to promote him to privy counselor and appoint him to the Senate in 1780, to send him of inspection tours in 1780-81, and to put him in charge of the St. Petersburg bank for the nobility. 

Likewise she acceded to his request in 1781 to name his favorite estate Ekaterinindar (Catherine's Gift).  With her financial assistance and architectural advice through Quarenghi, one of her favorite builders, Zavadovskii constructed a splendid palace at Ekaterinindar with 250 rooms, mosaic parquet floors, porcelain stoves, malachite fireplaces, a huge park, a library of 3,750 volumes, a bronze statue of Rumiantsev, and a full-length marble statue and full-length portrait of Catherine.  The Empress never visited this million-ruble monument to her favor. The palace still stood in 1910.  In 1786 Zavadovskii also bought the Panins' Petersburg palace, which he sumptuously refurnished at a cost of some 125,000 rubles.  Catherine's confidence in his enlightened outlook and bureaucratic skills was further reflected in his appointment to head the new commission on public schools in 172.  In 1784 he was appointed to reform the Imperial Corps of Pages and to reorganize medical-surgical instruction in St. Petersburg.  She also asked him in 187-88 to assume guardianship of Count Bobrinskoi, her son by Orlov, who had accumulated huge debts while abroad." (Catherine the Great: Life and Legend: 213)

Offspring: " . . . He asked Catherine's permission to marry Countess Vera Apraksina, later appointed a lady-in-waiting.  The couple's only surviving daughter was Countess Sophia Zavadovsky."  (Popoff, 2010, p. 9)
Semyon Zorich

Semyon Zorich 
Lover in 1777-1778.

" . . . In 1777 he (Peter Zavadovskii) was replaced by Zorich who became the empress's lover only for a short time. . . ." (Anisimov, p. 307)

" . . . [Catherine II of Russia]] was sixteen years older than Zorich. . . . " (Shaw, p. 175)

"Zorich, handsome, a major in the Hussars, had been made lieutenant colonel and inspector of all light troops, was of Serbian descent. He remained the favorite for eleven months. He began to resent Potemkin's hold over Catherine and challenged him to a duel. Neither was seriously wounded, but it was the end of Simon Zorich as favorite." (Catherine the Great FAQ @Ursula's History Web)

" . . . Simon Gavrilovich Zorich (1745-1799), a Serb by birth, uneducated, at one time a Turkish galley slave, became an officer in a Russian hussar regiment. Chosen by Potemkin for Catherine, 1777. She found his physique magnificent but conversation boring and readily agreed, when he quarreled with Potemkin, to his retirement to an estate near Mogilev with an annuity of 200,000 roubles. Founded an officer cadet school. Returned to St. Petersburg after Catherine's death." (Parkinson & Collier, 1971, p. 247)

First Encounter:  "On Saturday, 27 May 1777, the Empress arrived at Potemkin's new estate at Ozerki, outside Petersburg.  When they sat down for dinner . . . at the very bottom of the list (was) Major of the Hussars Semyon Gavrilovich Zorich, a swarthy, curly-haired and athletic Serb aged thirty-one.  It was his first appearance at an official reception, yet it seems that Catherine had already met him. Zorich, a handsome daredevil already known as 'Adonis' by the ladies at Court and as a 'vrai sauvage' by everyone else, was something of a war hero. Potemkin remembered him from the army. Zorich had been captured by the Turks. Prisoners were often decapitated in the exuberance of the moment, but noblemen were preserved for ransom -- so Zorich loudly proclaimed himself a count and survived." (Catherine the Great and Potemkin: the Imperial Love Affair: n.p.)

"No sooner had Zavadovsky faded from the scene than a more colourful lover emerged to take his place.  This was Potemkin's Serbian-born adjutant, Semen Zorich, a swarthy hussar sixteen years younger than Catherine...."  (Catherine the Great: 243)

First official imperial favourite: ". . . On his return (from war), this ambitious rogue wrote to Potemkin and was appointed to his entourage.  Within a few days, Zorich was the new official favourite and life changed instantly.  He was the first of Catherine's succession of so-called favourites or mignons who took the role as an official appointment. While raving about Zorich's looks and calling him 'Sima' or 'Senyusha', Catherine was missing her Potemkin. 'Give Senyusha the attached letters,' she asked her consort. 'It's so dull without you.' Just as modest Zavadovsky was an antidote to the ebullient Potemkin, so the excitable Serb was a relief after the moping Zavadovsky. The latter heard about the emergence of Zorich and rushed back to Petersburg, statuing with his friends, the Vorontsovs." (Catherine the Great and Potemkin)

Affair's end and aftermath: "By was no lot Catherine's current company was no longer pleasing. A disappointment outside the bedroom, Semyon Zorich had held onto his position as favorite for eleven months. Then, in early May 1778, grossly underestimating Potemkin's position, the impetuous Zorich foolishly challenged him to a duel. The incident gave Zorich a generous golden parachute that included an estate near Mogilev, 4,000 serfs, and a 200,000-ruble annuity. Corberon write his brother about he empress's generosity toward her ex-lovers, 'You must agree, my friend, that it's not a bad line of work to be in here.'" (The Empress of Art)
Ivan Rimsky-Korsakov
Ivan Rimsky-Korsakov (1754-1831).
Lover in 1778.

Russian courtier & imperial lover.

" . . . [Catherine the Great of Russia] was twenty-five years older than Rimsky Korsakov. . . ." (Shaw: 175)

"By the spring of 1778 Catherine seemed to have tired of the uncultured and brazen Zorich, who had also made the mistake of quarreling badly with Potemkin. So when Potemkin introduced another handsome young officer, Ivan Rimsky-Korsakov, Catherine quickly transferred her affections. By the beginning of July Zorich had been paid off and the 24-year-old Rimsky-Korsakov -- who was a fine singer and had an excellent ear for music, as befits an ancestor of the composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov -- was firmly a favourite...." (Streeter: 104)

"This time, Potemkin introduced Catherine to a very different lover. Elegant and artistic, Ivan Rimsky-Korsakov's classic features led Catherine to nickname him 'Pyrrhus,' after the Greek general and king of Epirus. She described her new favorite to Grimm as 'the failure of painters, the despair of sculptors.' After discovering the 24-year-old had a voice 'like a nightingale,' Catherine arranged singing lessons. (Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov was a relative.) Catherine lavished half a million rubles worth of gifts on her vain favorite and named him adjutant general. Rimsky-Korakov rarely removed the Golden Eagle, a gift from Catherine's former lover, Stanislaus Poniatowski, King of Poland. 'Adieu mon bijou,' Catherine wrote Potemkin. 'Thanks to you and the king of Epirus, I am as happy as a chaffinch and I want you to be just as happy.'" (The Empress of Art)

First Encounter: ". . . Potemkin 'who has more cunning for effecting the purposes of the day than any man living, contrived to effect these good resolutions. . . . ' He 'introduced' Korsakov 'at the critical moment'. A couple of days later, the Empress . . . set off to stay at another of the Prince's estates 'to forget her cares . . . in the society of her new minion'. . . Two days later, on 1 June, Korsakov was officially appointed adjutant-general to the Empress. . . . " (Potemkin: Catherine the Great's Imperial Partner: 170)

Why Him?:  "Catherine expressed great gratitude to Potemkin for having introduced her to (perhaps 'procured for her' would be more accurate) the 24-year-old Rimsky-Korsakov, whom she described as an angel and likened to a Greek statue (she often referred to him as 'Pyrrhus, King of Epirus'). . . . " (Catherine the Great: Love, Sex and Power)

". . . In an age of neo-Classicism, Rimsky-Korsakov, aged twenty-four, immediately struck her with his Grecian 'ancient beauty', so that she soon nicknamed him 'Pyrrhus, King of Epirus'.  In her letters to Grimm, she claimed he was so beautiful that he was 'the failure of painters, the despair of sculptors'. Catherine seemed to choose alternate types because Korsakov was as elegant and artistic as Zorich has been muscular and macho: portraits show his exquisitely Classical features.  He loved to sing, and Catherine told Prince Orlov that he had a voice 'like a nightingale.  Singing lessons were arranged.  He was showered with gifts -- 4,000 soils and presents worth half a million roubles. Arrogant, vain and not terribly clever, he was 'good-natured but silly." (Potemkin: Catherine the Great's Imperial Partner: 171)

Trysting right under his imperial mistress's nose.

"Before taking Rimsky-Korsakov as her lover, Catherine had him spend the night with her tester, lady-in-waiting Countess Bruce. The sister of nobleman Peter Rumyatsev and wife of Count James Bruce, governor of St. Petersburg, 'Brussja' was Catherine's own age---the person she trusted and confided in. It seems Rimsky-Korsakov did more than pass muster during his test run. For months, everyone at court knew about his affair with Bruce---except for Catherine. Finally, in October 1779, Potemkin arranged for Catherine to find her lover and best friend in bed." (The Empress of Art)

Affair's end and aftermath: "After his relationship with Bruce was discovered, Rimsky-Korsakov promptly began an affair with the beautiful Countess Ekaterina Stroganov, who left her husband and child, something that even the permissive culture of the Russian aristocracy saw as taboo. Affairs were tolerated, but the actual dissolution of a family was highly discouraged. Thoroughly humiliated, Catherine banished the handsome couple to Moscow, where they lived in luxurious exile in the Stroganov Palace and the Countess's estate, Bratzeva. . . ." (The Empress of Art)

Rimsky-Korsakov' other lovers were:
Praskovia Bruce
Praskovia Bruce (1729-1785)

Russian lady-in-waiting, noble and 
confidant of Yekaterina the Great.

"According to some contemporaries close to Catherine, Countess Bruce was prized by her as an 'eprouveuse', or 'tester of male capacity'. Every potential lover was to spend a night with Bruce before he was admitted into Catherine's personal apartments. Their friendship was cut short when Bruce was found "in an assignment" with Catherine's youthful lover, Rimsky-Korsakov, ancestor of the composer; they both later withdrew from the imperial court to Moscow." (Wikipedia)

"This man belonged to the family that was to produce the famous composer. He too was a talented musician, playing the violin and had a good singing voice. About fifteen months or so later, Catherine found him in the arms of Countess Bruce. She dismissed both of them with generous provisions. Once again, Potemkin chose as a favorite a man he knew he could trust." (Catherine the Great FAQ)

"Of those who would not humble themselves before him, there was no one whom he hated more than Marshal Romanzoff:  he dreaded his inflexibility as much as envied his glory.  His aversion extended even to Countess Bruce, his sister, one of the most intimate confidants of Catherine.  Potemkin anxiously watched for an opportunity to destroy her influence; and it was not long before chance threw one in his way. The Countess had taken a fancy to Korzakoff, the reigning favourite of her mistress. Potemkin procured her secret interviews with Korzakoff, not caring to sacrifice his friend, provided the sister of Romanzoff were involved in his fall.  The Empress one day surprised the lovers together in her own room; she instantly commanded Korzakoff to travel abroad, and sent the Countess to Moscow."  (Bottens & Swaine: 43)

Yekaterina Petrovna Trubetskaya
Princess Stroganovna.

". . . He had the effrontery not just to cuckold Empress but also to cuckold the cuckoldress, Countess Bruce, by beginning an adulterous affair with a Court beauty, Countess Ekaterina Stroganovna, who left her husband and child for him. This was too much even for Catherine. The ingrate was despatched to Moscow. . . . " (Catherine the Great: Love, Sex, and Power: 173) [Bio1]
Alexander Lanskoi
Lover in 1778-1784
(or 1780-1784).

First encounter.
"Lanskoj was made aide-de-champ of Potemkin in 1779, was introduced by Potemkin to Catherine in 1780, tested by Anna Protasova  and became the official lover of Catherine. . . Lanskoy, another Horse-Guardsmen, had been one of Potemkin's aides-de-camp for a few months, which is probably how Catherine noticed him. . . ."  (Potemkin: Catherine the Great's Imperial Partner: 174)

Physical appearance & personal qualities.
"Soon a lieutenant-general, he was Catherine's ideal pupil and companion. He was not highly educated but keen to learn. He liked painting and architecture. Unlike the others, he tried to avoid politics...and he made an effort to stay friends with Potemkin... Despite his taste for splendour and his greedy family, Lanskoy was the best of the minions because he truly adored Catherine and she him. For the next four years, Catherine enjoyed a stable relationship with the calm and good-natured Lanskoy at her side." (Potemkin: Catherine the Great's Imperial Partner: 175)

Persona or character.
"Lanskoy did not arouse in Catherine the passion she had for Orlov or Potemkin, but his gentleness and devotion inspired in her an almost maternal affection.  He was intelligent and tactful; he refused to take in any part in public affairs; he was artistic, had good taste, and was seriously interested in literature, painting, and architecture.  He became an ideal companion, accompanying her to concerts and the theater, sitting quietly and listening as she talked, even helping her to design new gardens at Tsarskoe Selo." (Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman: 454)

Affair's benefits
" . . . [T]he lover of Catherine the Great from 1780 to 1784.  "...He was reportedly genuinely in love with Catherine, and their relationship was described as a happy one. He did not involve in politics, did not accept bribes or ask for favours or gifts and shared her cultural interests. . . ."  (Wikipedia)

Royal favours.
" . . . Here is a rough estimate of expenses that she made for Lanskoi, who, owing to his early death, had not got all to which he was entitled by his peculiar status: one hundred thousand rubles for his wardrobe, a collection of medals and books, residence in the palace, board for twenty men at the cost of three hundred thousand rubles. All of his relations were duly promoted and received awards, and the rank of general-in-chief or general-field marshal with the allowance to match was, one may say, almost in his pocket. During the three years of their liaison he received from Catherine seven million rubles, not counting presents, two houses in St. Petersburg, a house at Tsarskoe Selo and, in addition, the buttons for his ceremonial caftan, which cost eighty thousand rubles. All the above figures should be added up and multiplied by at least seven, that is, roughly the number of Catherine's disciples." (Five Empresses: 336)

Other beneficiaries.
"Catherine's patronage of Alexander Lanskoi, a twenty-three-year-old officer of the horse-guards, revealed her strongly pedagogical streak in seeking to cultivate promising young noblemen of mediocre background. She deluged 'Sashin'ka' with presents to the tune of several million rubles, or so gossip proclaimed, and encouraged him to correspond in French with Baron Grimm. In fact when Lanskoi's younger brother Yakov tried to elope with a foreign mistress from Dresden to Paris, Catherine prevailed on Grimm to arrange the young man's return. Promoted to chamberlain and General, Lanskoi received petitions and also accompanied the Empress on her inspection tour of the newly reformed western gubernias in 1780. With Potemkin's approval (and ignoring seniority), she promoted his cousins Stepan and Paul to ensign rank in the Preobrazhenskii Guards. His sisters Elizaveta, Avdot'ia, and Varvara she appointed maids of honor and awarded Elizaveta a house in St. Petersburg; all married aristocrats in ceremonies at court. Like his predecessors, Lanskoi was constantly rumored to be on the verge of dismissal, ostensibly because of differences with Potemkin.  In August 1783 his fall from a horse alarmed her greatly, as did his ensuing illness of six weeks.  'He was a very strong man, though ill made below,' reported one foreign visitor ambiguously, 'and without the appearance of being a muscular man.'  Lanskoi's sudden death on 25 June 1784 after a short bout of 'a malignant fever accompanied by quinssy' (i.e., inflammation of the throat, possibly from diphtheria) 

Affair's end & aftermath.
"On 25 June 1784, Lieutenant-General Alexander Lanskoy, Catherine's twenty-six-year-old favourite, died at Tsarskoe Selo with the Empress beside him. His illness was sudden; he had come down with a sore throat less than a week earlier. Lanskoy seemed to know he was going to die -- though Catherine tried to dissuade him... Lanskoy probably died of diphtheria . . ." (Catherine the Great & Potemkin: 312)
Alexander Yermolov
Aleksander Yermolov (1754-1834)
Lover in 1785-1786.

Tall, blond & almond-eyed lover comes along.
"The new 'ami' -- a word which can mean friend or lover -- was a 31-year-old officer called Alexander Yermolov, a tall blond man with almond-shaped eyes, who had been presented to the Empress by Potemkin (then had to bide his time until he was 'noticed')." (Rounding)

'Replacement lover' for Alexander Lanskoy.
". . . A twenty-two year-old warrant officer of the Semyonovsky Life Guards Regiment, Yermolov appeared in the chambers of Catherine the Great eight months after the death of Alexander Lanskoi,  He was handsome, well-read, modest and enjoyed the company of educated people.  Catherine stated that he was 'extremely capable and worthy of his position.'  After spending less than a year with the empress, he was promoted to the rank of major general and sent abroad for three years." (rusartnet)

'That 'white nigger' angers the power-that-be.
"A year later, however, she (Catherine) was induced to make yet another choice.  Yermoloff, whom Potemkin now recommended, was the least striking and the least amiable of all the holders of this coveted post.  He succeeded, however, in pleasing his mistress, whereupon he had the temerity to range himself on the side of his protector's enemies, and even became the instrument of their intrigues. Potemkin was not a man to tolerate a real rival, and impetuously called upon Catherine to choose between 'that white nigger,' as he called Yermoloff, and himself. Catherine did not hesitate an instant, and so this imprudent favourite promptly received his conge; he had continued in office for less than two years in all." (catherinethegreat)

Affair's benefits.
"Ermolov had been suddenly dismissed on 15 June 1786. . . (H)e was too timid for court politics.  (H(e was awarded the Polish Order of the White Eagle, 4,300 serfs in Belorussia, 130,000 rubles in cash, a silver dinner service, and leave to live abroad for five years. . . . " (Catherine the Great:  Life and Legend: 218)

Affair's end & aftermath.
"During his seventeen months as favorite, Yermolov made little claim on Catherine's time or interest.  In the end, he engineered his own demise.  He had been Potemkin's protege, but he began behaving toward Potemkin as if he considered himself as the prince's equal. . . In 1786, an infuriated Potemkin descended on Yermolov at court. . . Yermolov. . . put his hand on his sword hilt, but a sudden blow from Potemkin sent him reeling.Then Potemkin burst into Catherine's apartment. . . Yermolov was dismissed immediately and was given 130,000 rubles in cash and permission to live abroad for five years. Catherine never saw him again." (Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman: 456)
Alexander Lanskoi
Imperial lover's death by insatiable passion.
". . . In summer 1779, he was spotted by Catherine the Great, who moved him into the royal palace.  The empress fell desperately in love with him and showered him with all sorts of favours.  The passion of the fifty-three year-old women for the twenty=two year-old man so insatiable that Lanskoi had to resort to artificial stimulants, which led to his death at the age of twenty-five in 1784. Catherine was inconsolable and buried her favourite in the part at Tsarskoe Selo, not far from the palace, where she often went to grieve. . . . " (rusartnet)

Lanskoy died in her arms.
"After Potemkin, the Empress's greatest love was probably the 'irreplaceable' Sacha Lanskoy, who died of diphtheria in her arms aged twenty-six. She was so inconsolably grief-stricken that it was several weeks before she took another man to her bed. Then she explained that she needed to resume her sex life for health reasons. (Shaw: 175)

Aleksander Mamonov (1756-1803)
Lover in 1786-1789.

Imperial Guards officer
Aide-de-Camp to Prince Potemkin 1784
Lieutenant-General 1788
HRE Imperial Count 1787.

Mr. Redcoat (by Catherine)

Lovers' first night together: ". . . Alexander Mamonov, then twenty-six, was another Guards officer, handsome, educated, fluent in French and Italian, and the nephew of the generous Count Stroganov, whose young wife had run off with Rimsky-Korsakov. Only one evening after Yermolov's dismissal, Mamonov escorted Catherine to her apartment. 'They slept until nine o'clock,' wrote Catherine's secretary in his notebook the following morning. The new favorite was immediately promoted to high rank in the Preobrazhensky Guards and in May 1788 was elevated to the rank of lieutenant-general. . . . " (Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman: 456)

Catherine's lover # 11: "Eleventh in succession (and the one-before-last) of Catherine II's lovers, his years of favor lasting from 1786 to 1789, when he was succeeded by Platon Zubov. Was originally sent to Catherine by Grigorii Potemkin as candidate for the role of official favorite and was immediately approved. However, he eventually committed the solecism of falling in love with one of the maids-of-honor and was abruptly dismissed, just as Catherine was about to appoint him Vice-Chancellor.  Nevertheless, Catherine magnanimously gave the bride away herself and richly endowed the newly married couple in recognition of the young husband's past services. . . ." (The Memoirs of Princess Dashkova: 306)

Mamonov's downfall--another woman.
"Mamonoff, notwithstanding the immense treasures he amassed, and the authority he exercised over Catherine, had formed an intimacy with one of her ladies of honour, the Countess Sherbatoff. The intrigue being reported to the Empress, she determined to be convinced of the fact by putting her faithless favourite to the test; for which purpose, she caused one of her richest subjects, the Countess of Bruce, to be presented at court, in order to marry her to Momonoff. When pressed to accede to the proposal, he fell on his knees, and avowing his previous attachment, implored the forgiveness of Catherine. Upon this, very contrary to his expectation, he was ordered to marry her and instantly depart for Moscow." (Private Anecdotes of Foreign Courts: 56)

Mamonov's physical appearance & personal qualities. "...Alexander Mamonov, -six, was another Guards officer, handsome, educated, fluent in French and English.

Affair's benefits to Mamonov.
" .  . She then distinguished the younger Mamonov with promotions, titles, gifts, and miscellaneous duties. In June 1787, for example, he was promoted to premier major in the Preobrazhenskii Guards, in May 1788 he rose to adjutant-general with the rank of lieutenant-general . . . and later that same month he received the title of count of the Holy Roman Empire. She presented him with a silver dinner service purchased from Fitzherbert, the British ambassador; a team of English horses bought from Procurator-General Viazemskii for 2,000 rubles; and a jeweled walking stick for which she paid 3,7000 rubles. Mamonov was unhappy with the last gift, however, feigning illness to avoid his mistress, but he confidentially informed a friend that he coveted the Order of St. Alexander Nevskii.  The Empress gave it to him ten days later. Eager to surprise her favorite, she arranged for an English theatrical troupe to stage a performance in his apartments, paying the seven players 200 rubles apiece.  He hosted at home a production of one of Catherine's own plays in French. . . . " (Catherine the Great: Life and Legend: 218)

"Eager to surprise Alexander Mamonov, Catherine arranged for an English theatrical troupe to stage a performance in his apartments. He also hosted a production of one of Catherine's plays in French. True to form, Catherine showered Mamonov with titles and gifts. From a promotion to premier major of the Preobrazhensky Guards, Redcoat was elevated to the rank of lieutenant-general by May 1788 and Count of the Holy Roman Empire. Catherine's largesse extended to Mamonov's family; she promoted his father to the Senate and sent a jeweled snuffbox to his mother. Catherine's other extravagant gifts for Mamonov included a silver dinner service acquired from the British ambassador Alleyne Fitzherbert, a team of English horses bought for 2,000 rubles from Procurator-General Viazemsky, and a jeweled walking stick. Reportedly unhappy with the last gift, Mamonov confided to a friend that he really wanted to join the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky. Ten days later, Catherine bestowed the prestigious award." (The Empress of Art: Catherine the Great and the Transformation of Russia)

Beneficiaries: " . . . Two months later Catherine promoted Mamonov's father to the Senate and sent his mother a jeweled snuffbox. . . . " (Catherine the Great: Life and Legend: 218)
Platon Zubov

Lover in 1789-1796.

She was 62, he 22 years old.

Personal aide-de-camp to the Empress
Prince of the Holy Roman Empire 1796
Count of the Holy Roman Empire 1793
Governor-General of New Russia
Governor General of Ekaterinoslav and Tauride Provinces
Head of the Black Sea Fleet
Commander of the Cavalry Guards
Master of the Ordnance
Colonel in the Horse Guards 1789
Lieutenant in the Horse Guards

"He was the last lover of Catherine II from 1789 until her death. He was different than other lover since he was not introduced by Potemkin. He used to be called "Our baby" or in our language nowadays "Babe" by Catherine. He was introduced by his distant relative, Nicholas Saltykov due to help Saltykov in his feud with Catherine's long-standing favourite, Potemkin. He was the youngest and the most handsome officer in the court when he first met Catherine. He was just 22 years old when he met Catherine that over 60 on that time. Soon he become new lover of Catherine. At first he didn't have any important role. When Potemkin died, he become the most powerful man in Russian Empire and amassed an enormous fortune until the last years of Catherine reign. He was described by the court that he was everything for Catherine that there is no other will but his. His power was greater than that of Potemkin. He also described as reckless and incapable as before, although Catherine keeps repeating that he is the greatest genius the history of Russia has known. She was deeply in love with him as him to hers. Many courtier couldn't believe that their intimate relationship would last for an extended period of time until her death. During Paul's reign, he paid no respect whatsoever to Paul. Therefore Paul ordered him to travelled in Europe. In Teplitz he fell in love with the Countess de la Roche-Aimont, then proposed to the Princess of Courland but was refused. Following one obscure duel, in which he ignominiously refused to take part and which resulted in his aide's killing Chevalier de Saxe, Zubov withdrew to his Rastrelliesque Rundale Palace in Courland, formerly the seat of the Biron ducal dynasty. He ended his days living in total seclusion and exploiting his serfs mercilessly." (Pinterest)

"Platon Zouboff, Lieutenant in the Horse Guards of the Empress of Russia, became in 1791 the last favourite of Catherine II. Soon afterwards he was made Grand Master of Artillery, Chevalier of the Order of St. Andrew and created Prince. Digraced under Paul I, all his papers were seized, and he was deprived of all his posts. Recalled again to Court by the influence of Comte Pahlen, Governor-General of St. Petersburg, Platon Zouboff became, with his protector, chief of the conspiracu against the life of Pauls I. He was the cruelest and most bitter of the Emperor's assassins. It was he who strangled the unfortunate prince with his scarf. Nicholas and Valerian Zouboff, his brothers, had also a larege share in the conspiracy and assassination." (Souvenirs of Madame Vigée Le Brun: 223)

'Blackie' was the handsomest favourite of all 
"Blackie was Platon Alexandrovich Zubov, Catherine's last favourite. He was probably the handsomest of all. Zubov was muscular yet frail, pretty and dark -- hence Catherine's nickname for him -- but his expression was brittle, vain, cold. His frequent illnesses suited Catherine's maternal instincts. He had been at Court since the age of eleven -- Catherine had paid for him to study abroad. This popinjay was clever in a shallow and silly way, but he was neither imaginative nor curious, nor able, merely greedy and ambitious. None of this mattered in a favourite. Potemkin helped her run the Empire and fight the war. Zubov was her companion and pupil in her work for the Empire. 'I'm doing quite well by the state,' she said disingenuously, 'by educating men.'" (Catherine the Great and Potemkin)
Platon Zubov

Platon the 'Platonic' lover.

"Catherine's next and last favourite was wittily described as her platonic lover, because of his name. This was Platon Zuboff, a young lieutenant in the horse guards, who was of medium stature, but supple, muscular, and asymmetrical, with a high and intelligent forehead and fine eyes. He spoke French fluently, had some education, was of polite and pliant disposition, could converse on literary subjects, and practised music. . . . . " (catherinethegreat)
Platon Zubov, last favourite of Catherine II.
Platon Alexandrovich Zubov
Catherine's last lover
"In the spring of 1789 a young guard's officer took up duty at Tsarskoe Selo. Later that summer he was appointed personal aide-de-camp to the Empress. Catherine seemed happy with Zubov. She wrote to Grimm that he took good care of her and was good company. He remained with Catherine until the day she died in November 1796." (Catherine the Great FAQ @Ursula's History Web)

First encounter.
" . . .On the day of Mamonov's dismissal, her friend Anna Naryshkina introduced her to the young man who was to be her last and youngest favourite. The swarthy Platon Zubov, thirsty-eight years Catherine's junior, was promptly dubbed 'the little black one' in the apothegm to Potemkin, which outlined all the usual virtues of gentleness, eagerness and modesty (a singular misapprehension of the new favourite's nature)." (Catherine the Great: 291)

A Chance encounter:  ". . . He did not owe his advancement to Potemkin, but to chance. When the rupture with Momonoff took place he happened to be in command of the guard which attended the Empress at Tzarskoe Selo, and he was so fortunate as to attract Catherine's favour. . . . " (catherinethegreat)

Replacement lover takes his post:  "Rid of one lover, the Empress eagerly embraced his replacement.  On 3 July 1789 she promoted Platon Zubov to colonel in the horse-guards and adjutant. . . . "  (Catherine the Great: Life & Legend: 223)

Catherine's 'time of mystery' with Zubov.
" . . . [T]he Empress steadily entrusted Platon Zubov with new duties and new honors. In January 1792 she quietly provided Zubov with his own chancery headed by Adrian Gribovskii, a former Potemkin aide. With his father, three brothers, one sister and one sister-in-law at court, the twenty-four-year-old Guardsman looked like the kingpin of a new 'party' under the Empress's wing. His rapid emergence into the political limelight naturally upset the established court factions. . . [S]he did not deign to put him on the council. . . His hold over Catherine, it was alleged, must be sexual. . . 'She sleeps with him in a bed separated by a partition, which whenever she chuses (sic) is removed by means of a spring and serves as a signal to her lover.' Later court gossip maintained that Catherine, 'as she is now old,' tailored her schedule to Zubov's reserving time for him each afternoon: 'From two to four is the Time of Mystery.' It may well have been her nap time." (Catherine the Great: Life & Legend: 294)
Prince Zubov

Persona or character.

". . . (T)his, the last of the favourites, was also the vainest and the most insolent."  (catherinethegreat)

Favourite with a supercilious air

" . . . Plato Zuboff was another of the favourites of the Empress, a young lieutenant in the horse guards patronised by Nicholas Soltikoff. He spoke French fluently, and had some education; he was of a polite and easy disposition, of middle size, had a high intelligent forehead, with fine eyes, but a supercilious air. Zuboff obtained his Sovereign's favour when at Tzarsko-zelo.

Attempted seduction the wife of a future emperor!
"Zubov. . . . was ambitious enough to continue pressing the imperial cellulite for the next seven years. The arrogant new lover strutted around the court giving out orders, shamelessly exploiting his new position. His private apartment was crowded with hangers-on who hoped to beg favors from the most important man in Russia. Under Catherine's very nose he tried to seduce a sixteen-year-old grand duchess, Elisabeth Alekseevna, wife of the future Czar Alexander I. It was the first time that one of the Empress's lovers had dared treat her so casually, but she was beyond caring." (Royal Babylon: The Alarming History of European Royalty: 175))

Benefits from the affair:  "During his years in power, Zubov amassed an enormous fortune.  The Empress conferred on him tens of thousands of serfs, while simultaneously the courtiers rivaled each other in lavishing presents on him. . . . "  (Wikipedia)
Platon Zubov

Zubov's ascension to greatness.
"Zubov's ascension to greatness followed a familiar rhythm: the Court noticed the youngster offer his arm to Catherine in the evening. He wore a new uniform with a large feather in the hat. After her card game, he was summoned to accompany Catherine to her apartments and took possession of the favourite's rooms, where he possibly found a cash present. The day after that, the antechamber of the 'new idol' was filled with petitioners. On 3 July, Zubov was promoted to colonel in the Horse Guards and adjutant-general and significantly he gave a 2,000 rouble watch to his sponsor Naryshkina. Zubov's patrons already feared Potemkin's reaction and warned him to show respect to 'His Highness'." (Catherine the Great & Potemkin)

A count, a prince and amassed great wealth.
Platon Zubov was one of the Empress's last lovers. The 22 year old was able to convince the 60 year old Catherine to promote him not only to count but the rank of prince. He amassed great wealth during their 7 year relationship and became one of the most powerful men in Russia during her reign." (spiderlily)

". . . He was finally awarded on 25 March 1796 . . . the dignity of prince of the Holy Roman Empire. . . (T)he day before her sixty-seventh birthday, 20 April 1796, she granted Zubov 100,000 rubles 'in appreciation of his distinguished labors on behalf of the state service.' . . . . "  (Catherine the Great: Life & Legend: 321)

". . . In 7 years, he was made a Count and then a Reichsfurst, or Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, becoming the fourth (and last) Russian to receive the title. Upon Potemkin's death, he succeeded him as the Governor-General of New Russia...." (Wikipedia)  

Estates & thousands of serfs: During his years in power, Zubov amassed an enormous fortune. The Empress conferred on him tens of thousands of serfs, while simultaneously the courtiers rivalled each other in lavishing the most extravagant presents on him...." (Wikipedia)
Platon Zubov

Handsomely rewarded with a former lover's post & estates.

". . . He was handsomely rewarded. . . with a portrait of the Empress in diamonds (a gift only Orlov and Potemkin had enjoyed) and the Order of St. Andrew. . .  Two days later she signed decrees appointing Zubov to Potemkin's old post, governor-general of Ekaterinoslav gubernia and the Tauride. The young favorite 'is flying high,' despite his years and that not everything will be placed on one person,' Zavadovskii remarked bitterly; 'he is minister of all parts of the administration. . . . " (Catherine the Great: Life & Legend: 308)

Showered with money, medals, estates & other gifts.
". . . (H)e was appointed commander of the Cavalry Guards, master of the ordnance, governor general of Ekaterinoslav and Tauride Provinces and head of the Black Sea Fleet. The empress showered money, medals, estates and other gifts on her new favourite. . . . " (rusartnet)

Other beneficiaries
"During the months since the death of Potemkin, the influence and power of Platon Zubov had been rising inexorably. In January 1793 he, his brothers and his father were awarded the title of Count of the Holy Roman Empire, and on 23 July Platon received the portrait of the Empress to wear and the Order of St. Andrew. . . Two days after the Orders of St. Andrew were awarded, Platon Zubov was also made Governor-General of Ekaterinoslav and the Crimea, a post formerly held by Potemkin."  (Catherine the Great: Love, Sex & Power)

Beneficiaries of the love affair.
". . . She showered cash on him; he in turn made cash gifts of Zotov and Naryshkina, presumably for their assistance in his ascent. . . In elevating Zubov the Empress followed her customary practice and promoted his father and three brothers. . . . "  (Alexander: 223)

Affair's end & aftermath.
" . . . Unsurprisingly, Catherine's death all but brought him to the verge of madness... Nevertheless, he was stripped of his estates, relieved of all his posts and was strongly advised to go abroad." (Wikipedia)

" . . . His young widow, Thekla Walentinowicz, a local landowner's daughter, remarried Count Shuvalov, thus bringing the vast Zubov estates into the Shuvalov family."  (Wikipedia)

"After Catherine's death he married a landowner's daughter, Thekla.  He lived the rest of his days in seclusion and worked his serfs mercilessly."  (spiderlily)

". . . On 21 June 1789, he departed from Catherine at eleven o'clock in the evening. Three days later, he was awarded ten thousand roubles and a signet ring with the empress's portrait. . . . " (rusartnet)
Imperial Gifts to Platon Zubov
Rundale Palace
Rundale Palace
Rundale Palace, Catherine the Great's Gift to Lover Platon Zubov's Brother Valerian.

" . . . Catherine presented it to Count Valerian Zubov who was the younger brother of her last lover, Prince Platon Zubov. It was rumoured that despite the prince being the last great love of her life, Catherine had been flirting with his brother behind his back." (Palace Fit for a Prince)

Other lovers of Catherine's.
1) Andrei Chernyshev.
Flirtation in 1746-1747.

"When Catherine first arrived, unmarried, in Russia, Peter's intimate circle included three young noblemen---two brothers and a cousin---named Chernyshev. Peter was immensely fond of all three. It was the eldest of the brothers, Zakhar, who had so worried his own mother with his obvious affection for Catherine that she arranged to have him sent away from court, out of reach. The cousin and the younger brother remained, however, and the cousin, Andrei, also harboured feelings for Catherine. He began by making himself useful. Catherine had discovered that Madame Krause 'had a great liking for the bottle. Often my entourage managed to make her drunk, after which she went to bed, leaving the young court to frolic without being scolded.' Her 'entourage' in this case was Andrei Chernyshev, who could persuade Madame Krause to drink as much as he chose. Before Catherine's marriage to Peter, Andrei had fallen into a pattern of lighthearted flirtation with the bride-to-be. Far from opposing or feeling uncomfortable with this intimate but still innocent banter, Peter enjoyed and even encouraged it. For months, he talked t his wife of Chernyshev's good looks and devotion. Several times a day, he would send Andrei to Catherine with trivial messages. Eventually, however, Andrei himself became uncomfortable with the situation. One day, he said to Peter, 'Your Imperial Highness should bear in mind that the grand duchess is not Madame Chernyshev'---and, more bluntly---'She is not my fiancee, she's yours.' Peter laughed and passed these remarks along to Catherine. To put an end to this uncomfortable joke after the couple was married, Andrei proposed to Peter that he redefine his relationship with Catherine by calling her Matushka (Little Mother) and that she call him synok (son). But both Catherine and Peter continued to show great affection for the 'son' and talked about him constantly, some of their servants became concerned." (Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman: 103)

"Given that her marriage was an emotional void, it was not surprising that Catherine became involved in some, at first first harmless, flirtations of her own.  These included a brief intrigue with Andrei Chernyshev, a member of the Grand Duke's entourage, who was later briefly interrogated over the matter and sent away from court. . . . "  (Catherine the Great : 23)

"The suspicion that Catherine might be in love with someone else had arisen from her friendship with Andrei Chernyshev, the cousin of Zakhar and his brother Ivan, all three of whom had been among the members of Peter's entourage (until Zakhar had been removed).  The Grand Duke was particularly fond of Andrei and regularly employed him to convey messages to Catherine. Andrei provided Catherine with information about goings-on at Court (in such a Court everyone needed their spies and confidants) and it is possible that, starved of other male affection, she became rather too fond of him and made her feelings obvious enough to place herself in danger.  Her own valets certainly thought so and were concerned to protect her from her indiscretion.  Apprised of their danger they were in, Andrei decided to follow the common practice of Russian courtiers when faced with potential trouble -- to stay in bed.  He feigned illness for several weeks, and later, at the same time as Maria Choglokova received her appointment, all three Chernyshevs were sent away from St. Petersburg to serve as lieutenants in regiments based near Orenburg on the Yaik river (later named the Ural)." (Catherine the Great: Love, Sex and Power)

2) Semyon Fyodorovich Uvarov.
" . . . It was at this time Catherine is said to have had a short affair with Semyon Fyodorovich Uvarov, the Guards officer who entertained GAP by playing his bandore and dancing the prisiadka.  However, if true, this short interlude led to nothing and Uvarov returned to his respectable career in the Guards. . . ." (Potemkin: Catherine the Great's Imperial Partner: 554)
Valerian Zubov
Russian general.

"The Russian empress, Catherine II, in her declining years, at the age of about fifty-eight, fell madly in love with a certain dashing young beau Platon Zubov. He was twenty-one years old, and he really was a very attractive young man. Although, his brother Valerian was even more attractive. Both their portraits are in the Russian museum so it's really true: the brother was of untold beauty. But the old girl didn't see the brother till later, and so, not knowing what was what, instantly fell in love with Platon. And when she saw Valerian, she sighed and said: "Yes, this young man could please me, too. But since I've already fallen in love with Platon, so, if you please, I'll go on with it." But Platon, seeing that Valerian made an irresistible impression on the old girl, sent this brother of his off to war. And in the war a cannon ball tore off the beau's leg. So that the old girl devoted herself to Platon entirely and bestowed various amazing favors upon him."  (Scenes from the Bathhouse: And Other Stories of Communist Russia: 133)

General Valerian Zubov Gallery.
Valerian Zubov
Valerian Zubov
Valerian Zubov
Zakhat Chernyshov
4) Zakhat Chernyshov (1722-1784)
Lover in 1751.

" . . . In 1751, his (Andrei Chernushev) cousin, Count Zakhar Chernyshev, declared his passion for Catherine and the two exchanged letters. Indeed, Zahar Chernyshev was one of a number of young Guards officers who Catherine had been discreetly cultivating; several of whom seem to have fallen in love with her. She was therefore adept at picking up important items of information about what was really going on at court. . . . " (Catherine the Great: 23)