Peter the Great: Family

Figure 1.--Louis Caravaque was a French artist who went to Russia in 1715 on the invitation of the Tsar Peter. Caravaque lived and worked in Russia for 40 years until his death in 1754. Here we have the portrait of the Tsarevich Peter Petrovich (1715-1719) where he is painted as a Cupid. He is one of the many children of Peter and Catherine that died as children.

Peter married twice and had fourteen children. Only three of the the children survived to adulthood. His eldest child and Tsarevich, Alexei, was a child of his first wife. Their relationship was ruined by the way Peter treated his mother. Peter's first wife was Evdokiya Feodorovna Lopukhina (1669-1731). She was from the lesser aristocracy. She was chosen for Peter by his mother Natalia Naryshkina, apparentky because she was related to the famous boyar Fyodor Rtishchev. They married (1689). Peter ws 17 years old and had just seized control from Sophia. Their first child was Tsarevich Alexei Petrovich. Their ither two children died as infants. She was also the paternal grandmother of Peter II of Russia. Their relationship was ruined by her conservative family. Peter abandoned her for the Dutch beauty, Anna Mons. Eudoxia wrote pleadung letters to Peter filled with complaints and pleas of unrequited love. Peter during his European tour asked Naryshkin relatives to persuade Eudoxia to enter a monastery (1696). When Peter returned home and began his refirm program, Eudoxia and the Tsarevich became the center of the conservative opposition. Here the Tsarevich does not seem to have been complicit in any actual plot, but was estrauned from his father because if the way he treated hus mother. Peter divorced her and banished her to the Intercession Convent of Suzdal (1698). Peter's second wife ws Catherine. Her origins are disputed, but appear to be of peasant origins and she was illiterate throughout her life. She was, however, was beautiful which attracted the series of several men ho seemed to have owned her. It was in the household of Prince Aleksandr Menshikov, a friend that Peter first saw her and fell in love (1703). They married secretly after her conversion to Orthodioxy (1707). She by all accounts was not only beautiful, but charming and sympathetic. She seems to have been the only person capable of calming Peter in his frequent rages. Doctors would call her to attend Peter during his epileptic seizures. Peter married Catherine and decided to marry her officially. The ceremony took place at Saint Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg (1712). There were 12 children both before and after the marriage. Only two survived into adulthood: Anna (1708) and Yelizaveta (1709).


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Created: 2:54 AM 5/22/2011
Last updated: 2:54 AM 5/22/2011