Sunday, January 18, 2009
Catherine The Great's Coronation
Catherine the Great's Coronation dress at the Kremlin Armoury Museum
My ongoing fascination with everything Romanov taught me details about Catherine the Great’s remarkable coronation in 1762. The book, Russian Imperial Style, by Laura Cerwinske, described the pageantry.
Catherine’s crown was made of 5,000 diamonds, hundreds of pearls and a 415 carat ruby purchased from a Chinese Emperor. Before placing the crown on her own head, Catherine had to travel from St. Petersburg to Moscow, the historical site of Russian coronations. The trip took 13 days and was made by sled. But, by sled in Romanov fashion. Catherine’s sleigh was a palace on runners! It contained a salon, library and bedroom all warmed by porcelain stoves. It had six windows and was wide enough for 8 people to pass abreast! Behind her sleigh was a procession of 19,000 horses and 14 large sleighs and 184 smaller ones carrying the royal court.
(drawing of a typical sled carriage exclusively for Russian royals)
Along the route to Moscow 600,000 sliver coins were tossed to the crowds lining the roads-perhaps a Romanov stimulus package?
Once in Moscow, she went to Assumption Cathedral and assumed the Diamond Throne which was embedded with 870 diamonds, 144 rubies and 129 pearls. Her 5 hour coronation was attended by Circassian princes, Mongol officer, Greek-Orthodox noblewomen, Mohammedan princes and kings and queens from the numerous lands of the Empires. A week of public feasts and weeks of private festivities followed. The result, Catherine the Great proved herself to be the most regal Russian monarch.