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.
Monday, 2 July 2018
Empress Maria’s Bedroom & Salon in the Anichkov Palace
At the end of their meeting in the Anichkov Palace,
Emperor Alexander III invited the Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikolai Girs to stay for
lunch on Wednesday December 24th 1886. 'After the meal, Empress Maria
was taken to the inner apartments where changes had just been completed. Their
bedroom was moved to the top floor. Returning to the table, the empressasked her husband whether he really does not
regret to part with the room they occupied for so many years to which he
replied; Not at all’. Although five years later on May 26th 1891
Alexander was writing from Gatchina how it was ‘boring and empty without you here. It’s disgusting to be alone and
again be apart from you, dear Minnie darling’.
Aerial views (below) of Anichkov Palace
Photograph c1900 (below) of the Anichkov Palace
Photograph c1920s (below) of the Bedroom in the Anichkov
Countess Zinaida Mengden was appointed lady-in-waiting
to the Dowager Empress Maria in 1912. She recounted in her memoir a funny
incident that happened in the Anichkov Palace. Every Thursday the empress would meet
the heads of the institutions of which she was patroness to listen to their
estimates, reports and proposals. Each was met individually in the Red Salon.
'During a long report being read to her, the empress put her embroidery down on
the floor next to her chair while listening intently.Then she noticed that the brown-yellow crochet hook was far away from
her leg. Suddenly the hook began to move! The empress looked at the official
with round eyes, unable to think about the report anymore. Meanwhile the hook,
wriggling, crawled towards him. It turned out that it was an earthworm that got
out of the flower tub!’
Photographs c1920s and today (below) of the Red Salon
in the Anichkov Palace