Jun 13, 2022
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Interesting facts about Peter III

Peter III

Hello dear readers. Peter III (aka Peter Fedorovich), was the first representative of the Holstein-Gottorp dynasty on the Russian throne. He came to Russia thanks to his aunt Elizabeth, who brought him to her shortly after she became the Empress of Russia.

And today we decided to introduce you to this outstanding personality. In the article we have collected the most interesting facts from the life of Peter III.


He was Russian on his mother’s side. He was born in Kiel (Germany) and at birth received the name Karl Peter Ulrich of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp. He was the son of Karl Friedrich of Holstein-Gottorp and the Russian Empress Anna Petrovna, whose father was Peter the Great. Unfortunately, Peter III’s parents died when he was young, and he was brought up by tutors at the Holstein court.

His aunt, Empress Elizaveta Petrovna of Russia, adopted Peter when he was 14 and named him her heir. He took the Russian name Pyotr Fedorovich and was forced to abandon Lutheranism in favor of the Russian Orthodox faith.

From an early age, he showed great interest in the army, while not being interested in studies at all (although he was a fairly capable guy).


Peter III

Empress Elizabeth Petrovna really wanted Peter to have an heir. Therefore, she chose Catherine (then a minor German princess named Sophie) as his wife. The couple got married when Peter was 17 and Catherine was 16.

From the very beginning, the marriage was unsuccessful. In her memoirs, Catherine described Peter as a child addicted to alcohol. Also, he did not pay any attention to Catherine, preferring instead to play with soldiers.

Number 3

Pyotr Fedorovich was mentally weak and maximally pro-Prussian. Not only did he alienate his wife shortly after their marriage, but he also failed to win the trust of the court. His popularity fell further after he succeeded Elizabeth on the throne and began to pursue a radically different foreign policy, making peace with Prussia and withdrawing from the Seven Years’ War (1756–1763). Having formed an alliance with Prussia, he prepared to involve Russia in the war against Denmark and help his native Holstein gain control of Schleswig.

In addition to the military and nobles, he also offended the Russian Orthodox Church by trying to force her to accept Lutheran religious rites.

Catherine saw that everyone was unhappy with such a ruler, so she decided to use this to seize the throne. She entered into an agreement with her favorite Grigory Grigoryevich Orlov to overthrow her husband.


6 months after he ascended the throne, he was overthrown. Catherine staged a coup, leading 14,000 soldiers to the Winter Palace and overthrowing her husband. After he was overthrown, he was almost immediately taken to Ropsha, where he died a week later.

The causes of his death are still a mystery. The official version is death as a result of an attack of hemorrhoidal colic. However, there is a second, fairly common version. According to this version, he was killed by Alexei Orlov, brother of Grigory Orlov.


Despite the fact that many did not like him and the people nicknamed him “the worst of all the rulers of Russia”, he made many important changes. For example, he gave his subjects freedom of religion, which in those days was something incredible.

Also, he began to fight corruption, abolished the secret police and introduced public trials. He declared it illegal to kill serfs by landowners.

He also became the founder of the first state-owned bank in Russia. And this is only a small list of changes that he managed to make during the short period of his reign.


Catherine gave birth to two children from Peter (although some historians have doubts that these children were from Peter): a boy, Pavel, and a girl, Anna. The girl Anna died in infancy at the age of 14 months. Son Pavel became the ruler of the Russian Empire in 1797, after the death of his mother.


Peter III

In his personal life, he tried to imitate his grandfather Peter the Great. He woke up at 7 in the morning, from 8 to 10 he listened to the reports of dignitaries, at 11 he personally conducted a watch parade (guard posting), after which he inspected government institutions and enterprises. At 13 o’clock he dined, after which he proceeded to receive diplomats. In the evening he rested. He loved attending concerts and playing the violin.


He had more respect for the common people than the nobles. The nobles for him seemed deceitful and flattering. Ordinary people were, as they say, simple. He calmly walked around St. Petersburg without protection, as he felt safe next to the people.


He became the absolute champion in the number of impostors who tried to impersonate the untimely deceased king. In total, about 40 people pretended to be him. The most famous false Peter the Third was Emelyan Pugachev. Taking advantage of the rumors that Peter III was alive, he impersonated him and led an uprising, which was later crushed.

In addition to Pugachev, Fedot Bogomolov (a fugitive peasant), Gavril Kremnev (ordinary of the Oryol regiment of land militia), Kondraty Selivanov (Russian false Christ, founder of the scopal sect) called themselves Peter III. By the way, Kondraty Selivanov personally met with Paul I, to which the second asked: “Are you my father?”, And Selivanov replied: “I am not a father of sin. Accept my cause (castration), and I will recognize you as my son. After that, by order of Paul I, Selivanov was sent to a madhouse.


In his youth, he contracted smallpox. At that time, many died from this disease, so he was lucky that he survived. However, the disease left imprints on his body. As his wife Catherine said: “The smallpox made him ugly.” However, if we look at his portraits, we will not notice any scars from this disease. This is a kind of photoshop of the then artists.

This concludes our article, dear readers. Thank you for paying attention to our website

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