Portrait of Emperor Paul I by Vladimir Borovikovsky

Portrait of Emperor Paul I by Vladimir Borovikovsky

Pavel Petrovich – Emperor of All Russia, son of Emperor Peter III and Empress Catherine II, was born on September 20, 1754, entered the throne after the death of Catherine II, November 6, 1796. His childhood was spent in not quite ordinary conditions, which left a sharp stamp on his character. Immediately after his birth, he was taken by the Empress Elizabeth from his mother, who had rarely seen the opportunity to see him since, and was transferred to the care of nannies. The overthrow of Peter III and the reign of Catherine little changed his position.

At that moment, there was a party that wanted

to see Paul on the throne, and Catherine to grant only the rights of regency, But the party did not have enough forces to carry out its projects, and this circumstance added only to the alienation already generated between mother and son, a new connotation of rivalry especially to develop subsequently. September 29, 1773 Paul married the princess of Hesse-Darmstadt Wilhelmina, after the adoption of Orthodoxy, named Natalia Alexeevna.

At the same time, his education was declared complete, but Paul. has not received any participation in public affairs. His first wife died in April 1776 from childbirth, and on September 26, 1776, he married again, on the Princess of Wirtemberg Sophia Dorothea, in Orthodoxy Maria Feodorovna. And after that, during the whole of Catherine’s life, the place occupied by Pavel in government spheres was the place of an observer, conscious of the right to supreme management of affairs and deprived of the opportunity to use this right to change even the smallest detail in the course of affairs.

The gradual aggravation of relations between Catherine and his son finally led to the fact that Paul closed himself up with his wife in the Gatchina estate, which was donated to him by his mother in 1783, and here he made himself a special little world, different from St. Petersburg. The sudden illness and death of Catherine II, on November 6, 1796, opened the way to Pavel for the throne.

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