The Winter Palace in St. Petersburg has been waiting to share its intimate details in English.
It is a story of a palace of immense size and of an Imperial family of immense wealth. It is a story of the daily public and intimate life in the palace that was loved and disdained and withstood decades of changes.
Wednesday, 31 January 2018
A Little-Known Palace - Schloss Bruchsal
Princess Louise of Baden was born on January 13th
1779 (OS) in Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg. At the time of her marriage in 1793 to the future Emperor
Alexander I, she adopted the name Elizabeth Alexeievna on her conversion to
Photograph c1895 (below) of Karlsruhe Palace,
Aerial view (below) of Karlsruhe and photograph of the
With the marriages of their children from the 1860s,
Queen Victoria has been called the grandmother of Europe and King Christian IX
of Denmark the father-in-law. Many are unaware that from the 1700s the princesses from the
small Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt were the ancestresses of the royal families.
A fascinating glimpse into the Russian and
Hesse-Darmstadt relationship is through Empress Elizabeth’s mother Amalie of
Hesse-Darmstadt. Amalie was the sister of Wilhelmina, the first wife of the future
Emperor Paul. Her youngest daughter Wilhelmina, wife of Grand Duke Ludwig II of
Hesse-Darmstadt, was the mother of Empress Maria Alexandrovna, the wife of
From 1792 on her arrival in Saint Petersburg until her
death in 1826, Empress Elizabeth wrote over three thousand letters to her
mother. Many are unpublished, scattered across archives and libraries. In the
reconstructed Karlsruhe Palace, the Badisches Landesmuseum exhibits the toilet
set made by the Strasbourg jeweler Johan Harnish for Elizabeth. This service
was a wedding present from her parents.
After the death of Elizabeth’s father Karl-Ludwig of
Baden on December 16th 1801, her mother Amelie moved to
Schloss Bruchsal located between Baden and Karlsruhe. Visiting Baden in 1814-1815 and 1818-1819
Elizabeth stayed at Bruchsal. Charles Edward Dodd had written in 1818 that the ladies
of Amalie’s court complained bitterly of its magnificent dreariness. I am now interested to learn more, another research project!
Photograph c1871 (below) of Schloss Bruchsal
Aerial view (below) of Schloss Bruchsal and
photographs of the Schloss today