Maria Naryshkina

Maria Antonovna Naryshkina (Russian: Мария Антоновна Нарышкина, 1779–1854), born Princess Maria Czetwertyńska-Światopełk, was a Polish noblewoman who was the mistress of Tsar Alexander I of Russia for 19 years.[1]

Maria Naryshkina, by Salvatore Tonci


She was the daughter of the Polish prince Antoni Stanisław Czetwertyński-Światopełk and his wife, Tekla von Kampenhausen. In 1795, she married Dmitry Lvovich Naryshkin, a hofmeister. In 1799, with her spouse's approval, she entered into a relationship with Alexander, who became tsar in 1801. She was well liked by Alexander's family, except by his consort, the empress Elizabeth Alexeievna.

She is described as fascinating and charming, with the ability to attract people, and called "The Aspasia of the North". Phillip Vigel wrote that she had beauty "so perfect that it seemed impossible".[1] In 1803, she made an attempt to have Alexander divorce his spouse and marry her, but she failed. She accompanied the tsar to the Vienna Congress in 1815, which gave him bad publicity.

She had at least four illegitimate daughters by Alexander. Three of them (two named Yelizaveta and one named Zinaida) died in infancy, and the other, Sofia, lived to aged 16. She also had a son, Emanuel, who wasn't admitted by her husband and was possibly also the tsar's child.[2]

Her children were:

  • Marina Naryshkina (1798 – 11 August 1871)
  • Yelizaveta Naryshkina (born and died 1803)
  • Yelizaveta Naryshkina (born and died 1804)
  • Zinaida Naryshkina (1806 – 18 May 1810)
  • Sofia Naryshkina (1808 – 18 June 1824)
  • Emanuel Naryshkin (30 July 1813 – 31 December 1901)

Alexander was persuaded to leave her in 1818 and went back to his wife, Elizabeth. He continued to talk of her as his family.


  1. ^ a b "Tsar-crossed lovers: 4 women who obsessed the Russian emperors". Russia Beyond the Headlines. 2016-04-02. Retrieved 2020-01-29.
  2. ^ "Alexander I of Russia & Maria Naryshkina".[permanent dead link]
  • Mistresses of Russian Royalty, Including: Anna Pavlova, Natalia Brasova, Maria Naryshkina, Catherine Dolgorukov, Pauline de Rothschild, Princess Olga ISBN 978-1-242-90165-2
  • Troyat, Henri Alexander of Russia: Napoleon's Conqueror Dutton Adult; First edition. edition (January 31, 1983) ISBN 978-0-525-24144-7