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Maria Cantemir

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Portrait by Ivan Nikitin
Portrait by Ivan Nikitin

Maria Cantemir (Russian: Мария Дмитриевна Кантемир, 1700–1754) was a Romanian noblewoman, Princess of Moldavia, a lady in waiting and  salonist, and a mistress of Peter the Great, the Emperor of Russia.

Maria, born in Iași as the daughter of the Moldavian Prince Dimitrie Cantemir, received an excellent education. From 1711 she lived in exile in  Russia, and in 1720, she became involved in a relationship with Tsar Peter. Maria followed Peter to Astrakhan in 1722, where she gave birth to a son by him. The child died in 1723, possibly poisoned by the physician of  Empress Catherine.[citation needed] (Catherine regarded Maria as a threat and feared that Maria might replace her as empress.) The relationship with Peter continued until his death in January 1725, when Catherine became Empress regnant and Maria was forced[by whom?] to leave court. She was a lady in waiting to  princess Natalia in 1727–28 and to Empress Anna Ivanovna in 1730–31. Later she hosted a literary salon in Saint Petersburg.

The Swedish slave Lovisa von Burghausen mentions Maria in her autobiography. Burghausen, as the prisoner of Dimitrie Cantemir in 1713-1714, credited Maria and her sister Smaragda with saving her from freezing to death during a punishment by allowing her to sleep in their bedroom instead of in an unheated stone room in the middle of winter.[1][2]


  1. ^ Alf Åberg: Karolinska Kvinnoöden (Fates of women in the Carolinian age) (in Swedish)
  2. ^ Alf Åberg: Fångars elände. Karolinerna i Ryssland 1700-1723 (The misery of prisoners. The Carolinians in Russia 1700-1723) (in Swedish)
This page was last edited on 12 July 2021, at 10:19
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