Topic: A Russian Moment
An equestrian statue of Peter the Great stands guard in the courtyard of the Constantine Palace at Strelna.
In 1797, the Constantine Palace at Strelna (near St. Petersburg) was granted to Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich (the second son of Emperor Paul I) and his wife Grand Duchess Anna Feodorovna. Constantine did not have any direct heirs and therefore upon his death in 1831, his brother Emperor Nicholas I presented the palace to his son, Grand Duke Constantine Nicholayevich who was only three years old at the time. After his death in 1892, the palace devolved to his son, Grand Duke Dmitri Constantinovich. His brother, Grand Duke Constantine Constantinovich "KR" and his family were frequent visitors to the palace inbetween stays at their other residences of Pavlovsk and the Marble Palace.
Many years back I visited the palace when it was in a terrible state of disrepair. Several years later, it was announced that in preparation for the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the founding St. Petersburg, the Russian government decided to restore the palace and its grounds as a state conference center and presidential residence.
I returned in 2005 and met Galina Nicholayevna Eregina, who offered me a private tour of the newly restored palace. I was shown the grand halls and the private study of Grand Duke Constantine Constantinovich. My hostess held the former poet in high regard and was the custodian of a small museum dedicated to the Konstantinovichi branch of the Romanov family.
It was during this visit that Mrs. Eregina presented me with a copy of the English edition of her book, Strelna: Konstantinovsky Palace and Park Ensemble and Historic Places which she personalised for me.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 13 March, 2013