Princess Charlotte of Württemberg

Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna
(Princess Charlotte of Württemberg)
Grand Duchess Michael Pavlovich of Russia

Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna of Russia. Portrait by Karl Briullov
Born (1807-01-09)9 January 1807
Stuttgart, Kingdom of Württemberg
Died 2 February 1873(1873-02-02) (aged 66)
Stuttgart, Kingdom of Württemberg
Spouse Grand Duke Michael Pavlovich of Russia
Issue Grand Duchess Maria Mikhailovna
Elizabeta Mikhailovna, Duchess of Nassau
Catherine Mikhailovna, Duchess George Augustus of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Grand Duchess Aleksandra Mikhailovna
Grand Duchess Anna Mikhailovna
House House of Württemberg (by birth)
House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov by marriage
Father Prince Paul of Württemberg
Mother Princess Charlotte of Saxe-Hildburghausen
Religion Russian Orthodox
prev. Lutheran

Princess Charlotte of Württemberg (9 January 1807 2 February 1873) was, as Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna of Russia, the wife of Grand Duke Michael Pavlovich of Russia. He was the youngest son of Tsar Paul I of Russia and Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg.


She was born in Stuttgart, as Princess Charlotte of Württemberg, eldest daughter of Prince Paul of Württemberg and Princess Charlotte of Saxe-Hildburghausen. As a child, Charlotte lived in Paris with her father and her younger sister Pauline. Their home was quite modest compared to royal standards. It was in Paris that Charlotte came under the tutelage of several intellectuals.

In 1822, she became engaged to Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich of Russia, her first cousin once removed (Mikhail's mother was her father's aunt). It was said that Charlotte was an exceptional girl, highly intelligent and mature for her age of 15.[1] The Grand Duke was obviously impressed by her beauty and her poise, and during a reception held in her honor, she charmed all the guests with her conversations.[1] On 17 December 1823, she was received into the Russian Orthodox Church and was given the name Elena Pavlovna.[2] On 20 February 1824, the couple married in Saint Petersburg and settled in the Mikhailovsky Palace. When the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna died in 1828, the palace of Pavlovsk passed on to Mikhail and he and Elena visited it often. Their marriage was not a happy one: Mikhail's only passion was for the army and he neglected Elena. Nevertheless, he and Elena had five daughters:

Elena was a close friend of her brother-in-law, Alexander I of Russia and his wife the Empress Elizabeth Alexeievna. She was also quick to befriend the shy Maria Alexandrovna, the wife of the then Tsarevich Alexander. When Princess Charlotte's husband died, in 1849, she became a patron of several charitable organizations and the arts. She founded the Saint Petersburg Conservatoire as well as a group of nursing sisters which would eventually become the forerunners of the Red Cross in Russia.

As a patroness of the composer Anton Rubinstein, she commissioned his first three operas: Fomka the Fool (1853), The Siberian Hunters, and Vengeance.[3]

Elena died in Stuttgart, at the age of 66.




  1. 1 2 Zeepvat, p.19.
  2. Zeepvat, p.20.
  3. Taylor (2007), 39
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