Maria Naryshkina

Maria Naryshkina, Portrait by Salvatore Tonci

Maria Antonovna Naryshkina (Russian: Мария Антоновна Нарышкина, 1779–1854), born Princess Maria Czetwertyńska-Światopełk, was a Polish noble, for 13 years the mistress of Tsar Alexander I of Russia.


She was the daughter of the Polish prince Antoni Stanisław Czetwertyński-Światopełk and his wife Tekla. In 1795, married to Dmitry Lvovich Naryshkin (a hofmeister). In 1799, she entered into a relationship with Alexander, who became tsar in 1801, with her spouse's approval. She was well liked by Alexander's family, except by his consort, the empress Elizabeth Alexeyevna. She is described as fascinating and charming, with the ability to attract people, and called "The Aspasia of the North". In 1803, she made an attempt to have Alexander divorce his spouse and marry her, but failed. She accompanied the tsar to the Vienna Congress in 1815, which gave him bad publicity.

She had at least four illegitimate daughters by Alexander; three of them (two named Yelizaveta and Zinaida) died in infancy, and the other, Sofia, lived to aged 16. She also had a son, Emanuel, who wasn't admitted by her husband and was possibly also the tsar's child.[1]

Her children were:

Alexander was persuaded to leave her in 1818 and went back to his Elizabeth. He continued to talk of her as his family.


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