Comte and Comtesse du Nord

I love Tea at Trianon because we are often shown glimpses there of history which show us actual life in the 18th century. These are things which are not taught in school or even college. So once again Elena-Maria has dug out a gem of history...

In May of 1782 Paris was in a flurry over the visit of the "Comte and Comtesse du Nord," the pseudonyms adopted by Grand Duke Paul and Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna, future Tsar and Empress of Russia. The imperial couple traveled incognito so as to lessen the formality of their European tour, which otherwise would have entailed a variety of stiff state receptions. As it was, the young pair were able to meet with other royals, such as Louis and Antoinette, on a more informal basis. They even won the approval of the Orléans clan by sending calling cards to all the Princes of the Blood the day after their arrival in Paris. Although Paul was called a "Tartar," Maria's tact and wit made the visit of the Russian heirs a social success.

Grand Duke Paul, the son and heir of Empress Catherine the Great, was known for his mercurial temperament and general oddness. He was loved, however, with unconditional and endless devotion by his second wife, Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg, who upon her conversion to Orthodoxy became "Maria Feodorovna." When Maria married Paul in 1776 she was hailed as "an angel incarnate." They made family life a priority and had ten children, two of whom later became Tsars of Russia. Maria Feodorovna had a tenuous relationship with her mother-in-law Empress Catherine, whom she rivaled in both intellect and sense of style. Maria was a skilled horticulturist and the gardens she created at the imperial palace of Pavlovsk lasted for generations to come. More...

Thanks and a tip of the beret and a White Cockade to Elena-Maria.

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