Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna

Born: 1795, St Petersburg
Died: 1865, The Hague

Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna was the eighth child and sixth daughter of Paul I and Maria Fyodorovna. She was born at Gatchina Palace in 1795.

In 1809, after failing to secure her elder sister Ekaterina, Napoleon asked for Anna’s hand in marriage. But her mother managed to delay her reply long enough for Napoleon to lose interest and marry Princess Marie Luise, the eighteen-year-old daughter of the Austrian emperor.

In 1816, Anna married the man who had helped to conquer Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo, the future King William II of Holland. Alexander Pushkin celebrated the marriage in a special poem entitled To the Prince of Orange.

In 1840, following the abdication of her father-in-law, Anna became queen of the Netherlands. During her time in Holland, she studied the Dutch language, history and culture, founded more than fifty orphanages and gave birth to five children.

Anna Pavlovna died in The Hague in 1865. The current Dutch monarch, Queen Beatrice, is her great-great-granddaughter.

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