Empress Elizabeth I was a daughter of Emperor Peter I and Empress Catherine I. She was educated by foreign tutors, who taught her foreign languages and a love to dancing, besides being fluent in Italian, German and French; she was an excellent dancer and rider. Elizabeth was usually regarded as the leading beauty of Russia. Although she never married, Elizabeth had a long line of lovers, including Alexei Razumovsky- her civil husband. In 1741, Elizabeth was put on the throne supported by the Preobrazhensky Guard Regiment. It was a daring coup and it passed without bloodshed. Elizabeth had vowed that if she became the empress, she would not sign a single death sentence. She kept her word. Under Elizabeth, St Petersburg was the most luxurious and sumptuous court in Europe. The empress adored balls, receptions and new clothes. Allegedly she owned fifteen thousand dresses, several thousand pairs of shoes and unlimited number of silk stockings. Despite her love of parties, Elizabeth was extremely religious; she visited convents and holy places. Elizabeth I established the Moscow University (1755), the first Russian public theatre (1756) now known as Alexandrinsky Drama Theatre named after A. Pushkin, the Imperial Academy of Arts (1757). She constructed the Winter Palace (1754-62), the Catherine Palace in Tsarskoe Selo (1752-56). Elizabeth died in St Petersburg on 25 December1761. Her death interrupted the Romanov line. Although all following sovereigns were called the Romanovs, they were not Russians. She nominated her nephew Peter, the son of her elder sister Anna, as her successor.
Text by Ekaterina Chistyakova
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