PETER III (PETER FEODOROVICH)
Son of Karl Friedrich, Duke of Holstein-Gotorb, and
Anna Petrovna, Peter the Great's daughter, Peter
III was born on February 10, 1728, in Kila and christened Karl Peter Ulrich.
Until the age of 14, he lived and was educated at the court of Holstein. He was
proclaimed official heir to the Russian throne on November 7, 1742, by his aunt,
EMPEROR OF ALL RUSSIA 1761-1762
On August 21, 1745, Peter Feodorovich married Princess Sophia Augusta
Frederica of Anhalt-Zerbst, who was christened into the Orthodox faith as
Ekaterina Alexeevna (the future Catherine the Great
Peter ascended the Russian throne on December 25, 1761, the day Empress
Elizaveta Petrovna died. His first action was an amnesty for and return from
exile of state figures arrested by Elizaveta after her accession. During his
short reign, he introduced various reforms, banned the persecution of dissenters,
dissolved the Privy Council and by special decree released the gentry from
compulsory state service.
On June 28, 1762, he was overthrown by a court coup led by his wife. After
his deposition, he was imprisoned in Ropshinskii Castle, where on July 7, 1762,
he was killed by Count Alexei Orlov, Catherine's favorite and one of the
organizers of the coup.
He had two children from his marriage with Catherine: a son, later Emperor Paul I, and a daughter, who died in
Peter III was buried in the Annunciation Church of the Alexander Nevsky
Monastery but in December 1796, by order of his son Paul I, his remains were
reburied with full honors in the Cathedral of the St. Peter and St. Paul fortress
in St. Petersburg.
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Text compiled by Alexei K. Levykin
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