Anna Ivanovna and Ernst Biron
The empress of the Romanov dynasty ascended the throne in February 1730. She could not boast a brilliant education or political acumen necessary to govern a huge country. Therefore, she needed an assistant. And Ernst Johann Biron, who served as the chief chamberlain at the court at the time of the Duchess Anna Ioannovna, was "discharged" from Kurland.
The main favorite of the Empress did not differ education or any special abilities. This was compensated by vanity, cunning and stubbornness. In fact, he became the ruler of the Russian Empire, and the time of the reign of Anna Ioannovna entered into history as "Birovschina". Her favorite, according to historians, became the personification of German dominance. Klyuchevsky wrote: “The Germans poured into Russia, like rubbish from a leaky bag, stuck to the courtyard, sat down on the throne, and huddled in to the most profitable places in management.” It was Ernst Johann who was blamed for all the misfortunes that fell on the country. There is even a legend that once Biron took an interest in one of the court jesters, saying that they say about me among the people? He replied: "You, your lordship, are considered by some to be god, others by Satan, but no one is considered to be human."
An ambiguous reaction was caused by the relationship of Anna Ioannovna with the Biron family. Back in 1723, he married the Duchess of Benigna Gottlieb von Trotta-Trayden. The future Russian empress perfectly got along with her. Because of this, it was rumored that the real mother of Karl, the son of Biron, was actually Anna.
In St. Petersburg, the Biron family apartments were located near the rooms of the Empress. And all her free time she spent there. This, of course, could not hide from prying eyes. Even foreigners noticed strange relationships. For example, the Spanish ambassador about the tandem of the empress - the favorite spoke like this: "Count Biron faithfully served Her Majesty for many years, at the same time fulfilling the duties of a spouse."
It was Birona Anna Ioannovna who made regent with her two-month-old son John the Sixth. But after the death of the empress, Ernst was in power all day 22, after which he was arrested and exiled to Siberia. Only under Catherine the Second, Biron was pardoned and returned to the Duchy of Courland.
Elizaveta Petrovna and Alexey Razumovsky
The family life of the future Empress Elizabeth Petrovna did not work from the very beginning. She was married to the young prince of Holstein-Gottorp Karl-August. He even arrived in St. Petersburg, but suddenly died of smallpox. Elizabeth decided that this was a sign from above, so she was not in a hurry to get married. Instead, she "tamed" his chamberlain Alexander Buturlin, making him "galant."
But soon the favorite was sent by Peter the Second to fight the Tatars. Elizabeth did not grieve for long. The vacant place was taken by her second cousin Simon Naryshkin. Only this relationship did not go well - the “galant” went “to repay the debt to the Motherland” abroad. Elizabeth’s happiness did not last long with the grenadier of the Semenov regiment Alexei Shubin. He was replaced by Aleksey Rozum, a chorister from the court choir, at the “battle post”.
Rosum was from the Ukrainian village of Lemeshi. Hereditary Cossack herd a rural herd. But then, finding in himself the ability to chant, he fled to a nearby village. Here Alex got into the church choir. This was the starting point of his career. Soon, at the invitation, he moved to St. Petersburg and began to sing in the court choir. It was there that Tsearevna Elizabeth noticed him.
Having mastered the new “position,” Alexey first of all changed his last name, becoming Razumovsky. We must pay tribute to him, unlike the other "cases" of Elizabeth, the chorister did not try to take advantage of his position. Even when the crown prince became empress. Razumovsky was not proud, didn’t make intrigues behind the sovereign’s back, didn’t get into political matters unnecessarily. And although the influence on the Empress Alexei was enormous, the leader did not encroach on her power. He just loved her. Because of his kindness, sincerity and reliability, Razumovsky stood out against the background of the rest of the court folk. Elizabeth appreciated this, therefore in letters she turned to him, “My friend is not sensible.”
Most likely, the empress and the favorite were married. Although there are no documents confirming this. But they had children. Because of this, a variety of impostors subsequently claimed the throne. The most striking example is Princess Tarakanova.
Catherine the Second and Prince Grigory Potemkin-Tavrichesky
This empress needed not just a lover, but a close friend. Smart and courageous, who could help in the management of a huge country. After replacing several favorites, in 1773, Ekaterina met with young General Grigory Potemkin, whom the whole country learned through the war with the Turks. At that time they were already familiar, because Potemkin helped the future empress to ascend the throne. Over the years, Grigory Alexandrovich has changed a lot. The impressive appearance and mind could not leave the Empress indifferent. They have become inseparable. Relations with the sovereign favorably affected his career. After only a year, Potemkin became first a lieutenant colonel of the Preobrazhensky regiment, and soon he was appointed vice-president of the Military Collegium. And in 1775, he won the title of count.
Grigory Alexandrovich settled in the Winter Palace, next to the empress's chambers. He behaved wildly, rudely and slovenly. There was also a bad habit of nibbling nails during a conversation. But the empress considered all this “cute,” and even called Potemkin “the first leg of the empire.”
The main topic of conversation among the courtiers was only one thing - how was the military able to conquer the empress? Versions have been put forward different. But Catherine most of all appreciated the favorite for her mind. He was aware of all state affairs, gave the empress advice. In addition, Grigory Alexandrovich zealously took up the army and navy, which required modernization.
In 1774, Catherine and Potemkin were married. According to one version, it happened in the church of Sampson the Freaks. Although there are no documents confirming the wedding, Catherine began to call the favorite “dear husband” in the letters.
But for Potemkin it became a kind of noose. He began to get the blues, because "everything in life has been achieved and there is nothing more to strive for." Catherine courageously endured his antics, but in December 1775, Grigory Alexandrovich still moved out of the Winter Palace. Soon, Potemkin became the governor-general of Novorossia, where he was given the task of "reviving" the territory after the Tatar raids.
Catherine's heart soon took another favorite. But until the end of his days, the empress and prince Tauride kept respect for each other.
Peter the Great and Alexander Menshikov
It is curious that the “empress - favorite” scheme did not always work in the Russian state. Peter the Great, for example, got out of the list, bringing his friend and ally closer to him. This is about Alexander Menshikov.
The sovereign's favorite was born on November 16 of the year 1673. His life did not bode well for anything, since the “career” of the boy began with the trade in cakes stuffed with rotten hare. But by the end of his life the full title of Alexander Danilovich included more than twenty points. And the most unusual were "Cavalier of the Order of the Elephant" and "Admiral of the Red Flag."
Alexashka, as they called Menshikov, first brought him closer to Franz Lefort. Then he "migrated" to Peter, becoming his batman. The former merchant of pies hand in hand with the future sovereign worked on the "amusing" shelves. And when they matured, Menshikov was always close to the emperor: from the battlefields, to the feasts.
Extraordinary mental abilities allowed Alexander Danilovich to become the best in various fields. He managed to prove himself and as a brilliant commander, and as a talented diplomat, and as an intelligent administrator, and as ... a brilliant embezzler. It was said about him that he “equalized his pocket with the state treasury”.
The latter, of course, could greatly spoil the reputation of the favorite, if not for one “but”. Menshikov knew how to justify no less ingeniously. This time. Secondly, he not only dragged money from the treasury, but sometimes took over government expenses. For example, he spent his money on the purchase of winter hats for the soldiers of the Ingermanland Regiment. And during the Pomeranian campaign, Menshikov’s wallet lost a considerable amount of money - about 50 thousand rubles. With this money he bought tents and provisions. In addition, Alexander Danilovich spent his money on bribing foreign diplomats and officials, paid salaries to spies and so on.
Peter I, of course, knew about all this. Therefore, he often pretended not to notice the hand of his favorite in the state treasury.
Alexandra Fedorovna and Grigory Rasputin
In 1903, an event occurred that influenced both the life of the royal family and the whole of Russia. Grigory Rasputin arrived in St. Petersburg. He called himself a visionary and healer, having managed to quickly impress the capricious residents of the capital. He was perceived in different ways. Someone saw in him a saint, someone - a blessed one, and still others considered the old man to be a treacherous schemer and criminal. In any case, there was no indifferent.
In November 1905, Rasputin met with the royal family. Nicholas II about this event made the following entry: "We met with the man of God - Gregory from the Tobolsk province".
Soon the old man began to treat the heir to Alexei’s hemophilia. But, according to some historians and researchers (including writer Valentin Pikul), Rasputin took it only for his own benefit. He could not help the child with anything. And during the attacks, just giving him drugs, easing the suffering.
Due to the special attitude to the elder, various rumors spread across St. Petersburg. Some claimed that Rasputin became the favorite of the queen. Others said they had an affair. And the “wonderworker” himself no, no, yes, and he added fuel to the fire, showing off (especially when intoxicated) that he had “access” to the queen and her daughters. There is a grain of truth in this or not, hard to say. It is possible that this is just a "drunken chatter." So to say, the dreams of Rasputin himself.
But the fact that Gregory did not hesitate to the royal family, demonstrating his violent temper, speaks about something. For example, Kerensky, in his memoirs, argued that once Rasputin had raped a nurse heir to the throne. She, of course, told about what had happened to Alexander Fyodorovna, but ... The Tsarina unexpectedly took the side of Rasputin, saying that she was trying to slander and defame the "holy" Gregory.
In 1912, strange, piquant letters appeared, in which both the queen and Rasputin appeared. They caused a storm of emotions in St. Petersburg. But their authenticity is highly questionable. Because their friend Gregory “merged”.
The power of Rasputin over the royal family could not last forever. 17 December 1916 of the year he was killed in a conspiracy.