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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Social Faux Pas of History- Tsarevich Alexei Petrovich

     Alexei Petrovich was the oldest son of Peter the Great and presumed heir to the Romanov throne of the Russian Empire. It was no strange fact that Alexei and his father the Tsar had a very strained relationship so it was no surprise that in 1709 while abroad in Europe finishing his education that he did not agree with the arranged marriage his father had set up with the German Princess Charlotte of Brunswick-Wolfenb├╝ttel. The Tsar saw it as a good match as the prospective bride was well connected in the ruling families of Europe. Charlotte's sister was married to the current Holy Roman Emperor which controlled much of central Europe(modern day Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany). The Czar was interested in using the marriage to start diplomatic relations with the Emperor and hopefully gain an ally against the powerful Ottoman Turks, an enemy both rulers shared.

Upon arriving to meet his future bride Alexei was not shy about commenting on how he despised his future wife. He often commented how her face was "pock marked" and she was "too thin". While staying with Charllotte's father  Louis Rudolph, the Duke of Brunswick-L├╝neburg, he made his ill will rather apparent. The Duke came in to Alexei's room one morning to find that the Tsarevich had used the bedpan for a bowel movement but then proceeded to wipe his behind on the palace curtains. Despite the protest the Tsarevich was pressured by his father to agree to marry Charlotte after insisting as a condition that they keep separate apartments in the palace in St. Petersburg.

The Tsarevich would have a daughter and a son( future Peter II of Russia) with the princess but he would never have a loving relationship with his wife or father. Not wanting to deal with dad and Charlotte, Alexei self exiled himself for several years, missing the birth of his son(and death of Charlotte as she died giving birth) to be with his Finnish mistress. Eventually he returned but word of his public rants about his father were discovered and he and his circle were investigated. Many people that knew him were tortured, jailed, or killed. This included the Tsarevich himself who died in prison after being dealt a beating as part of his punishment.

But the important lesson is...if you don't want to anger your future father in law as well as your dad..don't use the curtains as toilet paper. People frown on that.



Princess Charlotte- The Instigation for the Crappy Curtains

Alexei Petrovich- The soiler of drapery

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