Maria Miloslavskaya

Maria Miloslavskaya
Tsaritsa consort of All Russia
Tenure 16 January 1648–18 August 1669
Born c. 1625
Died 18 August 1669 (aged 4344)
Burial Ascension Convent, Kolomenskoye
Archangel Cathedral, Kremlin (1929)
Spouse Alexis Mikhailovich
among others...
Tsarevna Sofia Alexeevna
Fyodor III
Ivan V
Full name
Maria Ilyinichna Miloslavskaya
House Romanov (by marriage)
Father Ilya Danilovich Miloslavsky
Mother Ekaterina Feodorovna Narbekova
Religion Eastern Orthodox

Maria Ilyinichna Miloslavskaya (Russian: Мария Ильинична Милославская, 1625–1669) was a Russian tsaritsa as the first spouse of tsar Alexis of Russia. She was the mother of tsar Feodor III of Russia, tsar Ivan V of Russia, and the princess regent Sophia Alekseyevna.


Tsar Alexei chooses his bride by Grigory Sedov, were Maria Miloslavskaya was selected tsaritsa.

Maria Ilyinichna was a younger daughter of the noble Ilya Danilovich Miloslavsky (d. 1668) and Ekaterina Fedorovna Miloslavskaya (Narbekova). Her father was a relative and supporter of Boris Morozov, the influential tutor and favorite of the tsar.


In 1647, tsar Alexis I of Russia reached the age required for marriage. The tsar was to choose his bride from a Bride-show of hundreds of daughters of the nobility, who were summoned to the imperial court for selection. This method to select a bride for the tsar reportedly originated from the reign of Ivan III, whose spouse Sophia Palaiologina came from the Byzantine empire, were this method had once been used to chose a bride for the Byzantine emperor.

The bridal selection of Alexis I was managed by Boris Morozov, and gathered to almost two hundred daughters of the nobility, among them Maria Miloslavskaya. She had the support of Boris Morozov, who intended to marry her sister Anna Miloslavskaya, and hoped that Alexis I would chose Maria, which would make him the brother-in-law of the tsar. During the selection ceremony, however, the tsar chose Euphemia F. Vsevolozhskaya, by presenting her with a handkerchief and a ring as a symbol of their engagement. Boris Morozov then bribed a courtier to make Vsevolozhskaya faint; he then bribed a court physician to diagnose her with epilepsy. This disqualified Vsevolozhskaya as tsaritsa and resulted in both her and her father to be exiled accused of attempting to hide her illness for the tsar, and thus the first choice of the tsar was annulled.

Maria Miloslavskaya was selected as the tsar's second choice. She was reportedly a beauty, and was declared perfectly healthy after an examination by a court physician. The wedding was conducted in 16 January 1648 in Moscow. Upon the advise of the tsar's confessor, the wedding was a very somber ceremony, excluding all music, games and other festivities except for religious singing, to follow the wish of the famously ascetic Patriarch Joseph of Moscow. Ten days after the wedding of the tsar to Maria Miloslavskaya, Boris Morozov married her sister Anna Miloslavskaya, making him brother-in-law to the tsar and strengthening his power at court. Her father, additionally, was made boyar and became one of the most influential power holders at court, making the Miloslavsky family a key power clan at the Russian court during Maria's tenure as tsaritsa.


The marriage between tsar Alexis of Russia and tsaritsa Maria Miloslavskaya is described as a happy one. Tsaritsa Maria was described as beautiful, but there was also a rumor that Maria was a witch with a goat foot who could master sorcery.[1]

During the Moscow uprising of 1648, which followed the wedding, she evacuated with the tsar to Kolomenskoye. In 1654 and 1660, she gave audience to the Georgian queen Yelena Leonovna in the Golden Room. During the Moscow Plague of 1654, Maria evacuated with her children and her court to Kalyazin Abbey.

In contemporary Moscovian Russia, the role of the tsaritsa was semi-public; all Russian noblewomen was expected to live their lives in seclusion, with as little contact with men as possible.[2] Russian noblewomen did not socialize with male guests in their home, only meeting them for a ceremonial welcome before retiring without socializing with them; they traveled in covered sleighs and carriages when outside, and even the royal women, when visiting the church or participating in official processions, only did so covered by screens.[3] Despite this, however, the tsaritsa was expected to embody an ideal of female Orthodox devotion and, outside of her religious duties, manage the affairs of the court staff and participate in public charitable and religious activity.[4]

Tsaritsa Maria fulfilled her expected role both in regard to charity and religion. She engaged in charity public donations to the Moscow city hospitals for the poor sick and disabled, and supported the work of Fyodor Rtishchev. She acted as the protector of the cult of Mary of Egypt, and favored the Sretensky Monastery (Moscow). In 1651-1652, she commissioned an icon to the monastery. The saint favored by Maria was eventually to be regarded as a patron saint of the Romanov dynasty. She also benefited the Trinity Monastery Optina (Bolhov).

Maria died of the fever after having given birth, several months after her father. When she died, it was first believed that her widower would never remarry.


  1. Tsarevich Dmitri Alexeevich (1648–1649)
  2. Tsarevna Yevdokia Alexeevna (1650–1712)
  3. Tsarevna Marfa Alexeevna (1652–1707)
  4. Tsarevich Alexei Alexeyevich (1654–1670)
  5. Tsarevna Anna Alexeevna (1655–1659)
  6. Tsarevna Sofia Alexeevna (1657–1704)
  7. Tsarevna Ekaterina Alexeevna (1658–1718)
  8. Tsarevna Maria Alexeevna (1660–1723)
  9. Fyodor III (1661–1682)
  10. Tsarevna Feodosia Alexeevna (1662–1713)
  11. Tsarevich Simeon (1665–1669)
  12. Ivan V (1666–1696)
  13. Tsarevna Yevdokia Alexeevna (1669–1669)


  1. Henri Troyat (in Swedish edition): Peter den store (Peter the Great) 1981
  2. Massie, Robert K., Peter the Great: his life and world, Abacus, London, 1995[1980]
  3. Massie, Robert K., Peter the Great: his life and world, Abacus, London, 1995[1980]
  4. Massie, Robert K., Peter the Great: his life and world, Abacus, London, 1995[1980]
Russian royalty
Title last held by
Eudoxia Streshneva
Tsaritsa consort of Russia
Title next held by
Natalia Naryshkina
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