Catherine: The Portrait of an Empress

By Gina Kaus; June Head | Go to book overview

II
The Bridal Journey

JANUARY 1, 1774. The pious Christian August and his entire family celebrated the New Year by attending divine service in the castle chapel of Zerbst. After lengthy prayers the family adjourned to dinner, and during dinner a courier arrived with a letter for the Princess Johanna Elizabeth. With pardonable curiosity, for such an event was rare in her life, the princess opened it without delay. The letter surpassed all her expectations. It was from St. Petersburg, from Brümmer, chief equerry to the Grand Duke Peter Feodorovich, and the important message ran:

"At the explicit command of Her Imperial Majesty, I have to inform you, Madame, that the Empress desires Your Highness, accompanied by the Princess your eldest daughter, to come to Russia as soon as possible and repair without loss of time to whatever place the Imperial Court may then be found. Your Highness is too intelligent not to understand the true meaning of the great impatience of the Empress to see you here soon, as well as the Princess your daughter, of whom report has said much that is lovely. There are times when the voice of the world is in fact no other than the voice of God. At the same time, our incomparable Monarch has expressly charged me to inform Your Highness that His Highness the prince your husband shall under no circumstances take part in the journey. Her Majesty has very important reasons for wishing it so. A word from Your Highness will, I Believe, be all that is necessary to fulfill the will of our divine Empress."

-25-

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Catherine: The Portrait of an Empress
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • I - Just an Ordinary Person 3
  • II - The Bridal Journey 25
  • III - Elizabeth 45
  • IV - All Haste 67
  • V - Loneliness 86
  • VI - A Child, Two Mothers, and No Father 113
  • VII - The Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess 128
  • VIII - The Die is Cast 175
  • IX - The Ruler 248
  • X - Ivan 275
  • XI - The Masks of Peter III 290
  • XII - Potemkin, or the Inspired Cyclops 308
  • XIII - Catherine the Invincible 356
  • Index 379
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