Posted by on Apr 5, 2014

This post is a work in progress–a response to many of your requests. I promise to update it with portraits of the chief characters of Catherine’s court who appear in Empress of the Night. 


Empress Catherine II, previously Grand Duchess Catherine Alexeyevna, born Sophie Frederica Auguste of Anhalt-Zerbst. Ekaterina, in Russian. Katinka to her lovers.

Father: Christian August of Anhalt-Zerbst (Vati)

Mother: Johanna of Holstein-Gottorp (Mutti)


Her family:

Emperor Peter III, Catherine’s husband, previously Grand Duke Peter Fyodorovich, born Karl Peter Ulrich, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp

Empress Elizabeth, Aunt of Peter III and daughter of Peter the Great.

Her children:

Grand Duke Paul Petrovich (married to Grand Duchess Maria Fyodorovna)

Grand Duchess Anna Petrovna

Count Alexei Bobrinsky (a love child with Grigory Orlov)

Her grandchildren:

Grand Duke Alexander Pavlovich, (married to Grand Duchess Elizabeth Alexeyevna)

Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich, (married to Grand Duchess Anna Fyodorovna)

Grand Duchesses: Alexandrine Pavlovna (to be betrothed to Gustav Adolf of Sweden) Yelena Pavlovna, Maria Pavlovna, Olga Pavlovna–diseased,

Grand Duke Nicholas Pavlovich–the new baby in the imperial family

Her lovers/Favorites:

Serge Saltykov (Sergey, divine Serge)

Stanislav Poniatowski, later Stanisław August, the last King of Poland,

Grigory Orlov (Grisha)

Alexander Vasilchikov (the timid lover)

Grigory Potemkin, (Grisha, Grishenka)

Alexander Lanskoy (Sashenka)

Alexander Matveyevich Mamonov (Mister Redcoat)

Platon Alexandrovich Zubov (Le Noiraud)

Her attendants:

Varvara Nikolayevna Malikina (a servant and confidante, the narrator of The Winter Palace). Darya, (also Darenka) her daughter.

Vishka: Maria Savishna Perekusikhina, Catherine’s confidante

Queenie: Anna Stepanovna Protasova, Catherine’s confidante

Zachar Ivanovich Zotov, Catherine’s valet

Doctor Rogerson, court physician


Count Alexei Orlov

Count Nikita Ivanovich Panin

Prince Lev Naryshkin

Count Alexander Andreyevich Bezborodko (first her secretary, then minister)

Adrian Moseyevich Gribovsky (Catherine’s last secretary)

Count Morkov

Prince Adam Czartoryski, a Polish noble, Grand Duke Alexander’s best friend.

Valerian Zubov, a soldier/courtier, brother of the last favorite.

Count Cobenzl, Austrian Ambassador

Prince Repnin, former Russian Ambassador in Poland, governor-general of the newly acquired Eastern Provinces after the last Partition of Poland, Adam Czartoryski’s natural father.

Alexandra Branicka (Sashenka) Potemkin’s niece.

Katya Dashkova, Princess, Catherine’s friend. Full name: Catherine Dashkova.

Political opponents:

Emelian Pugachev: the leader of the serf/Cossack uprising of 1773-75

Tadeusz Kościuszko: the leader of the Polish Uprising of 1794