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In 1761, Russian Czar Peter III was losing his empire, crown,  life, and his wife, Catherine The Great.

Peter was ousted as the Czar of all Russias; most historians believe Catherine was at the helm of the ship steering the plot.

She didn’t love him, he didn’t love her, he was a terrible Czar, and she wanted power.

A German Princess named Sophie by birth, Catherine came to Russia, sight-unseen, to marry the then prince, Peter.

His mother and hers arranged the union. 

Her mother went home, and his mother hated her.

In-laws – they can be tricky.

In the eyes of the Russians, the Imperial Guard deposed Peter “for the good of the people”; in reality, Catherine gave the orders for his ouster and his death as well.

It was quite a coup d’état.

Catherine became Empress a mere three days after his death.

All this time – the coup and Peter’s death – a Russian soldier Grigory Potemkin was on guard duty.  His charge:   Catherine’s safety.  Catherine, the soon to be Empress, took a liking to Potemkin, despite the fact that he was obese, vain and missing an eye.

Hey cutie!!*

Potemkin and Catherine - pre-photo shopped!

Catherine wasn’t exactly known for her taste in men.  It was generally about quantity, she had many lovers.  Some historians would like us to believe she was a nymphomaniac.  And maybe she was. 

Potemkin was her lover longer than any other.  And he was her most powerful.

Within a mere ten years of the revolution, Catherine had made him an official Russian statesman, a count and the commander of her armies.

They were vastly different, and most said it would never work.

But it did, for a while.

Catherine was very disciplined, early to bed, early to rise, hard working, civic minded, peasants to kill, armies to amass, nations to conquer.  You know, all that stuff.

Grigory was a frat boy at heart.  Hard working to the point of exhaustion, he would go nonstop until he collapsed.   He also like to play hard!

He bristled at her emotional and physical demands…she had some guilt…coup and all.  He was a tease, promising to come to her suite, and then standing her UP while carousing with the boys on the streets of Moscow and St. Pete!

She woke UP and said, “who needs this crap” and started to push him away. 

Grigory, being no fool, and liking the power he held, helped his beloved find a new man. 

Or two.

He had to make sure that even though someone might replace him in the Empress’ bed, they would not replace him as her right hand man.

He vetted the candidates, and then sent them to Catherine’s apparently trampy friend, Countess Bruce so that she could “assess” their boudoir behavior.  Only then, if they passed her muster, would they be taken to the Empress.

Sloppy seconds?

“Hi, I’m new at court, what do you do?”

“Oh me, I’m the conjugal visits coordinator for the Empress.”

Wow, kinda makes that food taster job look easy!

Although her love relationship with Potemkin  ended in 1776, he remained the love of her life. When he died at age 52, Catherine went into a depression from which she never fully recovered.

Love, is also blind, and a little ugly!

* just a note, all portraits of Potemkin show him with both eyes, he was a tad sensitive about it, and refused to wear an eye patch.

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