Topic: Anna Feodorovna, GD
Little is known of the Grand Duchess Anna Feodorovna, wife of the Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich.
She was born Princess Juliana Henriette Ulrike of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld on 23 September 1781. She was the third daughter of Franz Frederick Anton of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and Countess Augusta Reuss of Ebersdorf.
Juliana, along with her two elder sisters, Sophie and Antoinette travelled to Russia at the request of Empress Catherine II, who wanted a bride for her second grandson, Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich. The young Grand Duke chose Juliana.
She was not yet fifteen years of age when she took the name of Anna Feodorovna in a Russian Orthodox baptismal ceremony and married Constantine (who was only seventeen years old at the time) in St. Petersburg on 26 February 1796.
The marriage was a very unhappy one for the young grand duchess. After only three years of marriage, Anna left her husband in 1799 and returned to Coburg.
Shortly thereafter, however, she returned to Russia in an unsuccessful attempt at reconciliation. In 1801, Anna, who had become involved in several frivolous intrigues, was sent home permanently to Coburg.
During her years in exile, she gave birth to two illegitimate children, a son in 1808, and a daughter in 1812. She moved to Bern, Switzerland in 1812.
Two years later, in 1814, Constantine, accompanied by her brother Leopold, tried to get Anna to return with him to Russia, but her firm opposition prevented this attempt from succeeding. That year, Anna acquired an estate on the banks of the Aare River and gave it the name of Elfenau. She spent the rest of her life there, and, as a lover of music, made her home a center for domestic and foreign musical society of the era.
Finally, on 20 March 1820, after nineteen years of separation, her marriage with the Grand Duke Constantine was formally annulled. He remarried two months later and died on 27 June 1831. Anna survived her former husband by twenty-nine years.
Grand Duchess Anna Feodorovna died at the age of 79, on 15 August, 1860.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 23 March, 2012