Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Empress Anne of Russia

"Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head."--Romans 12:20

Anne, Empress of Russia was born on February 7, 1693.  She married Frederick Wilhelm on November 11, 1710 and was crowned Empress of Russia on April 28, 1730.  Anne was not a model empress, being capricious, as well as rejecting the "Conditions", an early form of constitution to limit the monarch. 

In 1733, the War of the Polish Succession broke out.  France backed King Stanislas I while Austria and Russia supported Augustus III.  Comte de Plelo organized a French expedition to relieve Stanislas who was besieged in Danzig.  In a daring attack, Plelo was killed and his small army dispersed.  The Russians captured the remainer of the French expedition and shipped them to St. Petersburg.  In honor of her victory, Anne held a fete at the palace, which she compelled the French to attend:
"The Empress, however, seemed to have treated them with kindness otherwise.  On that same occasion at the palace, the officers were even allowed to wear their swords in Her Majesty's presence, and they were entertained as guests.  The Empress also gave to every common soldier a coat lined with sheep-skin, and every officer one lined with fox-skin, when the weather turned cold."--pg. 30, War of the Polish Succession by Vajiravudh, Prince of Siam

R. Nisbet Bain adds: "'It must be confessed,' wrote Mr. Rondeau some time later, 'that Her Majesty has been very kind to the three French regiments, most of whom would have perished here of cold if the Tsaritsa had not been so good to give every common soldier a greatcoat lined with sheepskin, and to every officer one lined with fine foxskin.'"--pg. 225, The Pupils of Peter the Great by R. Nisbet Bain (quotation from Rondeau: Dispatches)
This illustration by the author depicts the French officers and Empress Anne (center).  On the dais (raised platform) stands a nobleman and the elite Grenadier-Guards.  The captain of the Grenadier-Guards wears a green waistcoat, while the two soldiers wear red.  Comte de la Motte is bowing to the Empress and the officers stand behind him, in the uniforms of Regiments Blesois, Perigord, and La Marche, some with long greatcoats.  A gathering of gentlemen (including an officer of the Preobrazenskiy Guards) and ladies watch the captives.

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