PRINCESS LOUISE OF BADEN (13/24 January 1779 – 4 May/16 May 1826)
was, later known as ELIZABETH ALEXEIEVNA (Russian : Елизавета
Born Princess Louise of Baden, she was a daughter of Charles Louis,
Hereditary Prince of
Princess Louise came to Russia in November 1792, when she was chosen
As empress consort, Elizabeth Alexeievna took part in Court life and
the duties of representation, but the role of first lady in the Empire
was reserved for her mother-in-law, Maria Feodorovna , who played a
more prominent position than the young empress. For almost two
decades, Alexander I and Elizabeth lived in harmony, but led separate
lives, with both having affairs. She was neither popular in Russia nor
much loved by her Romanov relations. Elizabeth Alexeievna did not play
any major political role, but during the
PRINCESS OF BADEN
Elizabeth Alexeievna, praised for her beauty, would not find happiness in her marriage or fulfillment in her position in Russia
Elizabeth Alexeievna was born in
Louise grew up in a close, warm family environment. She would remain
particularly attached to her mother, with whom she maintained an
intimate correspondence until her death (The Margravine of Baden
outlived her daughter). She received a thoughtful education at the
Catherine the Great
The Princess learned Russian , converted to the Orthodox Church ,
took the title of Grand Duchess of Russia and traded the name Louise
Maria Auguste for Elizabeth Alexeievna. The wedding took place on 28
September 1793. "It was a marriage between Psyche and
GRAND DUCHESS OF RUSSIA
Elizabeth Alexeievna, by Jean-Laurent Mosnier Alexander and Elizabeth
Very young when she was married, shy and naïve, Elizabeth Alexeievna
was ill-prepared for her new position. She was overwhelmed by the
splendor of the Russian court and frightened by the vicious intrigues
waged there with cold calculation. She was appalled by the intense
sexual intrigues that flourished all around her in a court where
adultery was an accepted form of entertainment. The
The Grand Duchess felt lonely and homesick, particularly after her sister Frederica returned to Baden. Elizabeth was abandoned in an alien world where she could never be herself, even among her servants and ladies-in-waiting. The relationship with Alexander was her only source of solace. "Without my husband, who alone makes me happy, I should have died a thousand deaths"
The first years of the marriage were relatively happy, but the Grand
Duchess disappointed Catherine II, who did not live to see a son be
born to the young couple. The death of
Catherine the Great
The first cracks in Elizabeth's marriage began to appear. She did not find fulfillment for her romantic nature in a husband who neglected her. Elizabeth looked for emotional solace elsewhere. She first found refuge for her loneliness in a close intimate friendship with the beautiful Countess Golovina. Later, she started a romantic liaison with Alexander's best friend, the dashing and clever Polish prince, Adam Czartoryski . Their relationship lasted for three years.
After more than five years of a childless marriage, on 29 May 1799, Elizabeth gave birth to a daughter, Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna. At court, some attributed the paternity to the Polish prince. The child had black hair and dark eyes and at the baptism, Tsar Paul I did not fail to express his amazement that two blonde, blue-eyed parents had had a dark-haired child. Elizabeth Alexeievna soon lost both her lover and her daughter. Adam Czartoryski was sent on a diplomatic mission, and Elizabeth's baby daughter did not live long. "As of this morning, I no longer have a child, she is dead" she wrote to her mother on 27 July 1800. "Not an hour of the day passes without my thinking of her, and certainly not a day without my giving her bitter tears. It cannot be otherwise so long as I live, even if she were to be replaced by two dozen children."
Portrait of the young tsaritsa by Madame Lebrun . Russian poet
Elizabeth Alexeievna was distinguished by a soft, melodious voice, and a beautiful oval face, with delicate features, a Greek profile, large almond-shaped blue eyes and curly ash blond hair, which she usually left floating on her shoulders. With an elegant figure, regal carriage and a beautiful angelic face, she was regarded by contemporaries as one of the most beautiful women in Europe and probably the most beautiful consort at that time. Charming, generous and intellectual, Elizabeth Alexeievna loved literature and the arts. She took music lessons from Ludwig-Wilhelm Tepper de Ferguson (1768-after 1824). Unfortunately, she possessed a shy, withdrawn personality which failed to endear her to either the Russian court or her in-laws. She preferred simplicity and solitude to the pomp and ceremony of life at court.
Her marriage also failed to bring her fulfillment. Although Elizabeth Alexeievna loved her husband, and encouraged him in many personal and political crises, Alexander neglected her. Their relationship was harmonious, but emotionally distant, with each engaging in love affairs outside their marriage.
The eccentricities of Tsar Paul I led to a plot to overthrow him and place Alexander on the Russian throne. Elizabeth was well aware of this scheme and on the night of Paul's assassination, she was with her husband giving him support.
Once Alexander I became Emperor, Elizabeth Alexeievna encouraged him
to leave behind the trauma of Paul's I murder and dedicate himself to
serve Russia. As
Alexander I treated his wife indifferently, he was polite toward her
in public ceremonies and made an effort to have his meals in her
company. Elizabeth was too soft and placid to keep a hold on a
restless and soul tortured man such as her husband. In 1803,
Alexander began a love affair that would continue for more than
fifteen years with the Polish Princess Maria Czetwertynska, wife of
Prince Dmitri Naryshkin. Princess
Maria Naryshkina flaunted her
liaison at Court in a tasteless, blatant fashion. Apotheosis of
Elizabeth Alexeievna, for her part, found solace in her relationship with Adam Czartoryski, who had returned to Russia at Alexander I's ascension to the throne. This liaison ended when she started a love affair with a handsome staff captain, Alexis Okhotnikov (1780-1807). All the correspondence between Elizabeth and Alexis Okhotnikov (and some of her diaries) were destroyed by the Emperor Nicholas I after her death.
The affair with Okhotnikov had a tragic end. The staff captain died in 1807 after an attempt on his life. Many contemporaries considered that Alexander I or his brother Grand Duke Konstantin had ordered him killed.
On 16 November 1806, Elizabeth gave birth to a second daughter. There were rumors that the newborn, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Alexandrovna , was not a child of Emperor Alexander but of Okhotnikov. After his death, Elizabeth Alexeievna felt more abandoned than ever and poured out all her affection on her daughter Elizabeth, "Lisinka". Fifteen months later, the little girl died suddenly of an infection blamed on teething. "Now," wrote Elizabeth to her mother, "I am not longer good for anything in this world, my soul has no more strength to recover from this last blow."
The death of their daughter temporarily brought husband and wife closer. Although Elizabeth Alexeievna was not yet thirty years old, neither she nor Alexander had further hopes of a family and they would have no more children.
Carpet on which Elizabeth Alexeievna stood to pray after death
Alexander I of Russia
Once she reached forty, Elizabeth Alexeievna's beauty was largely
faded; she left behind any romantic pretensions. Her husband also
experienced a personal transformation that drove the couple closer
than they ever were. In 1818, Alexander I, immersed in religious
mysticism, broke his long relationship with Maria Naryshkina. From
then on, husband and wife started to spend more time together. The
By 1825, Elizabeth Alexeievna's health was frail; she suffered from a
lung condition and a nervous indisposition. The doctors recommended
her to take a rest in a temperate climate and suggested the southern
The now Dowager Tsarina was too frail to come back to St. Petersburg
for the funeral. When Elizabeth Alexeievna finally started her return
journey to the capital, she felt so sick that she had to stop at
Belev, Tula Province, on the road from
Three days after her husband's death Elizabeth had written her mother, "Do not worry too much about me, but if I dared, I would like to follow the one who has been my very life."
Alexander I and Elizabeth Alexeievna had two daughters, both of whom died in early childhood. Their common sorrow drew husband and wife closer together for a brief time.
* Maria Alexandrovna of Russia (St. Petersburg, 29 May 1799 – St. Petersburg, 8 July 1800) * Elizabeth Alexandrovna of Russia (St. Petersburg, 15 November 1806 – St. Petersburg, 12 May 1808)
ANCESTORS OF ELIZABETH ALEXEIEVNA (LOUISE OF BADEN)
4. Charles Frederick, Grand Duke of
2. Charles Louis, Hereditary Prince of
1. PRINCESS LOUISE OF BADEN
13. Charlotte of Hanau-Lichtenberg =11
29. Countess Katharina Agathe of Rappoltstein
30. Ludwig Kraft, Count of Nassau-Saarbrücken
31. Philippine Henriette of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
* ^ Rey, Alexander I: The Tsar Who Defeated Napoleon, p. 50 * ^ A B C D Lincoln, The Romanovs, p. 385 * ^ A B Lincoln, The Romanovs, p. 386 * ^ Lincoln, The Romanovs, p. 237 * ^ Bergamini, The Tragic Dynasty, p. 267 * ^ Troyat, Alexander of Russia, p. 45 * ^ A B Bergamini, The Tragic Dynasty, p. 299 * ^ Troyat, Alexander of Russia, p. 110 * ^ Troyat, Alexander of Russia, p. 279 * ^ Troyat, Alexander of Russia, p. 292
Wikimedia Commons has media related to ELIZABETH ALEXEIEVNA (LOUISE OF BADEN) .
* Bergamini, John. The Tragic Dynasty: A History of The Romanovs. Konecky font-size:90%; margin:2em">BORN: 24 January 1779 DIED: 16 May 1826
Preceded by Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg EMPRESS CONSORT OF RUSSIA 1801–1825 Succeeded by Charlotte of Prussia
* v * t * e
The generations indicate descent from Charles Frederick , the first Grand Duke of a united Baden.
* Amalie, Princess von Fürstenberg
* Princess Amalie
* Caroline, Queen of Bavaria
* Victoria, Queen of Sweden * Marie, Duchess of Anhalt
* Marie Alexandra, Princess Wolfgang of Hesse
* Margarita, Princess Tomislav of Yugoslavia *
* Princess Marie Louise, Mrs. Richard Dudley Baker* * Princess Sophie Thyra* * Princess Aglaë Margarete*
*Titular princess of
* v * t * e
Grand Duchesses of Russia by marriage
* Catherine Alexeievna (Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst)
* Elizabeth Alexeievna (Louise of Baden)
* Anna Feodorovna (Juliane of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld)
Alexandra Feodorovna (Charlotte of Prussia)
Maria Alexandrovna (Marie of Hesse)
Maria Feodorovna (Dagmar of Denmark)
* Viktoria Feodorovna (Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha)
Alexandra Feodorovna (Alix of Hesse)
* * never converted to Orthodoxy * ** also a Grand Duchess of Russia by birth * *** title granted by Grand Duke Vladimir Cyrillovich
* WorldCat Identities * VIAF : 35247922 * LCCN : no88004222 * ISNI : 0000 0000 5534 4055 * GND : 118529919 * SUDOC :