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Catherine Dolgorukov

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Title: Catherine Dolgorukov  
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Catherine Dolgorukov

Catherine Dolgorukov
Princess Yurievskaya
Princess Catherine Dolgorukova photo by Sergei Lvovich Levitsky and Rafail Sergeevich Levitsky 1880
Born (1847-11-14)14 November 1847
Died 15 February 1922(1922-02-15) (aged 74)
Nice, France
Spouse morganatic)
Issue Prince George Alexandrovich Yurievsky
Princess Olga Alexandrovna Yurievskaya
Prince Boris Alexandrovich Yurievsky
Princess Catherine Alexandrovna Yurievskaya
Full name
Catherine Mikhailovna Dolgorukov
House Dolgorukov
Father Prince Michael Dolgorukov
Mother Vera Vishnevskaya

Princess Yekaterina Mikhailovna Dolgorukova (Екатерина Михаиловна Долгорукова), also known in English as Catherine Dolgorukova, Catherine Dolgoruki, or Catherine Dolgorukaya, (14 November 1847 – 15 February 1922), was the daughter of morganatic wife, was created Princess Yurievskaya (Светлейшая княгиня Юрьевская).

Alexander and Catherine already had three children when they formed a Narodnaya Volya.


  • Relationship with the Tsar 1
  • Later life 2
  • Children 3
  • In media 4
  • Notes 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Relationship with the Tsar

Tsar Alexander II, Princess Catherine Dolgorukova with their children George and Olga

Catherine first met Alexander when she was twelve and he paid a visit to her father's estate. At the time, he saw her only as a little girl and probably forgot their visit. After the death of her father, who had left his family without resources, Catherine and her sister were sent to the Smolny Institute for Noble Maidens in St. Petersburg, a school for well-born girls. The Tsar paid for their education and that of their four brothers. Alexander met the sixteen-year-old Catherine there on an official visit to the school in the fall of 1864 and was immediately attracted.[1] One contemporary described the young Catherine as "of medium height, with an elegant figure, silky ivory skin, the eyes of a frightened gazelle, a sensuous mouth, and light chestnut tresses."[2] He visited her at the school and took her for walks and on carriage rides. Catherine had liberal opinions, formed in part by her time at the school, and she discussed them with the Tsar.[1] He later arranged for her to become a lady-in-waiting to his wife, who was suffering from tuberculosis.[2] Catherine liked the Tsar and enjoyed being in his company, but she didn't want to become one of a series of mistresses. Though her mother and the headmistress of the Smolny Institute both urged her to seize the opportunity to better her circumstances and those of her family, Catherine and Alexander did not actually become intimate until July 1866, when she was moved by her pity for the Tsar after the death of his eldest son, Nicholas Alexandrovich, Tsarevich of Russia, and after an attempt to assassinate him. Her own mother had died two months before. That night, she later recalled in her memoirs, the Tsar told her: "Now you are my secret wife. I swear that if I am ever free, I will marry you."[1][3]

A teenage Catherine

The Tsar insisted that Catherine and their children remain nearby. He saw her three or four times a week[4] when she was escorted by the police to a private apartment in the [6] Alexander sketched Catherine in the nude,[5] rented her a mansion in St. Petersburg,[5] and thought of her constantly. Still, great secrecy was required. They never signed their letters to one another with their real names and used the code word "bingerle" to refer to the sex act.[6] When she went into labor with her third child, Boris, in February 1876, Catherine insisted on being taken to the Winter Palace, where she gave birth in the Emperor's rooms, but the baby was taken back to Catherine's private residence while Catherine recovered from childbirth in the Emperor's rooms for nine days. Boris caught cold and died a few weeks later.[7]

The relationship met with tremendous disapproval from the Tsar's family and from those at Court. Catherine was accused of scheming to become Empress and of influencing the Tsar towards liberalism. She was said to associate with unscrupulous businessmen.[8] Some members of the family feared that Catherine's children might supplant the Tsar's legitimate heirs. The Tsar tired of hearing veiled criticisms from relatives and wrote to his sister Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaevich of Russia, was sorry for Catherine because the family treated her so coldly.[14]

Though they were happy together, the troubled political situation and constant threats of assassination cast a shadow over their lives together. On 1 March 1880, an explosion shook the dining room of the Winter Palace. Alexander ran upstairs to Catherine's rooms, shouting "Katya, my dearest Katya!" She was unhurt, as was the dying Empress, who was so ill she was unaware an explosion had occurred. Alexander's brother-in-law

  • Genealogy of Dolgorukov Family (in Russian)
  • Alexander II and Princess Dolgorukaya, a thread at

External links

  • Bergamini, John (1969). The Tragic Dynasty: A History of the Romanovs. Konecky and Konecky. ISBN 1-56852-160-X
  • Lincoln, W. Bruce (1981). The Romanovs: Autocrats of All the Russias. Anchor Press/Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-27908-6.
  • Mager, Hugo (1998). Elizabeth: Grand Duchess of Russia. Carroll & Graf Publishers Inc. ISBN 0-7867-0678-3
  • Mironenko, Sergei and Maylunas, Andrei (1997). A Lifelong Passion: Nicholas and Alexandra: Their Own Story. Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-48673-1
  • Perry, John Curtis and Pleshakov, Constantine (1999), The Flight of the Romanovs. Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-02462-9
  • Radzinsky, Edvard (2005). Alexander II: The Last Great Tsar. Free Press, a division of Simon and Schuster, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7432-7332-9
  • Tarsaidze, Alexandre (1970). Katia: Wife Before God. Macmillan. ISBN B000J1KZAU


  1. ^ a b c Radzinsky (2005), pp. 194–198
  2. ^ a b Lincoln (1981), p. 440
  3. ^ Tarsaidze (1970), p. 92
  4. ^ a b Lincoln (1981), p. 441
  5. ^ a b c Bergamini (1969), p. 344
  6. ^ a b c Harding, Luke (16 May 2007). "From Russia with lust: Tsar's erotic letters to young mistress auctioned". "Guardian Unlimited" (London). Retrieved 28 January 2008. 
  7. ^ a b Tarsaidze (1970)
  8. ^ Bergamini (1969), p. 353
  9. ^ Radzinsky (2005), p. 233
  10. ^ Radzinsky (2005), p. 300
  11. ^ Radzinsky (2005), p. 368
  12. ^ Radzinsky (2005), pp. 377–378
  13. ^ Radzinsky (2005), p. 378
  14. ^ Radzinsky (2005), pp. 378–380
  15. ^ Mager (1998), p. 71
  16. ^ Radzinsky (2005), pp. 409–410
  17. ^ Radzinsky (2005), p. 419
  18. ^ Maylunas and Mironenko (1997), p. 7
  19. ^ Bergamini (1969), p. 370
  20. ^ a b Perry and Pleshakov (1999), p. 31
  21. ^ Bergamini (1969), pp. 370, 464
  22. ^ Perry and Pleshakov, p. 31
  23. ^ a b c Maylunas and Mironenko (1997), p. 133
  24. ^ Bergamini (1969), p. 464


The first film, Katia, released in 1938 and featuring Danielle Darrieux, was directed by Maurice Tourneur, and the identically-named Katia, released in 1959 and featuring Romy Schneider, was directed by Robert Siodmak.

A biography of Princess Catherine was written by Princess Marthe Bibesco. This biography was the basis for two films. The English translation by Priscilla Bibesco was published in 1939.

In media

Three of the children left descendants.

  • Duke Constantine Petrovich of Oldenburg and Agrafena Djaparidze, Countess von Zarnekau.
  • Princess Olga Alexandrovna Yurievskaya (7 November 1874 – 10 August 1925); married Georg Nikolaus, Prince Nikolaus Wilhelm of Nassau by his wife, Natalia Aleksandrovna, daughter of Alexander Pushkin.
  • Prince Boris Alexandrovich Yurievsky (23 February 1876 – 11 April 1876).
  • Princess Catherine Alexandrovna Yurievskaya (9 February 1878 – 22 December 1959); married, firstly, Prince Alexander Vladimirovich Baryatinsky; married, secondly, Prince Sergei Platonovich Obolensky.

Catherine and Alexander had four children styled Prince/Princess (knyaz/knyaginya):

The three surviving children of Catherine and Alexander, pictured as adults
Family tree of princes Yuryevsky (1872-2013)


After the Tsar's death, Catherine received a pension of approximately 3.4 million Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich of Russia informed her by letter, but he was granted a place in the Cavalry School.[23] Catherine survived her husband by forty-one years and died just as her money was running out.[24]

Later life

When she heard the news, Catherine ran half-dressed into the room where he lay dying and fell across his body, crying "Sasha! Sasha!"[17] In his memoirs, Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich recalled that the pink and white négligée she was wearing was soaked in Alexander's blood.[18] At his funeral, Catherine and her three children were forced to stand in an entryway of the church and received no place in the procession of the Imperial Family. They were also forced to attend a separate Funeral Mass than the rest of the family.[19]

Alexander II on his deathbed in 1881.

that something would happen to him. He quieted her objections by making love to her on a table in her rooms and leaving her behind. Within hours he was mortally wounded and was brought back to the palace, broken and bleeding. premonition A year later, on the day that Alexander was assassinated, Catherine pleaded with him not to go out because she had a [15]

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