Portrait of Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna as a Child by Johann Baptist Lampi

Portrait of Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna as a Child by Johann Baptist Lampi

Elena Pavlovna had an unenviable fate. She was the second daughter of Emperor Paul 1 and was born on December 13, 1784. “This little one is of extraordinary beauty,” Catherine II wrote about this granddaughter, “that is why I called her Elena, that is, in honor of Trojan beauty Helen the Beautiful.”

When the girl was only six years old, the empress, comparing her with her sisters, already gave her preference for appearance, noting that she was beautiful in the full sense of the word, that her facial features were unusually correct, that she was slim, agile and light, in short grace.

Favorite Catherine was extremely alive and windy, but with a kind heart, and for the cheerfulness loved her more than the other sisters.

From her mother, she also inherited talents for the arts. Her artistic nature manifested itself in her special abilities for arts, dance and singing. Helen was not even fifteen, when she was married to the hereditary Duke Frederick-Ludwig of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. The party, however, was not very profitable; Maria Fedorovna herself found “big gaps” in her son-in-law’s upbringing. The wedding took place in October 1799, and a few days later followed by the betrothal of Sister Alexandra Pavlovna.

Despite the pomp with which the celebrations were held, the Gatchina Palace was inconvenient for them, too small and could not accommodate all of St. Petersburg society. “The dirt and the autumn sky covered with mist gave this celebration a sad look,” recalled Countess VN Golovin. Nature seemed to anticipate a sad end: in 1803, Elena passed away. She died nineteen years old. They said that – from homesickness. And over her grave an Orthodox church was erected.

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