Dorothea Lieven: A Russian Princess in London and Paris, 1785–1857

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McFarland, Nov 15, 2006 - History - 300 pages
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Dorothea de Benckendorff was born December 28, 1785. Bright, vivacious and personable, she was destined to become an influential player in international diplomacy. Spending three of her most formative years in exile with her mother, Dorothea was not only the recipient of an excellent education, she was also the beneficiary of years of her mother’s careful social training. She was adopted by an intimate friend of her mother, Empress Maria of Russia, after her mother’s death. Dorothea’s close connections to the Russian imperial family positioned her for the life role she wished to play. Marriage to Count Christopher Lieven at the age of 14 (a custom typical of the place and time) furthered Dorothea’s desire to play a part in the fascinating world of politics. Beginning with her husband’s appointment by Tsar Alexander I as ambassador to Great Britain, Dorothea used her intellect, charisma and social skills to become a political force in European diplomacy during the first half of the nineteenth century. This biography provides a detailed look at the life and times of Dorothea Lieven, a woman who achieved the status of an independent stateswoman in her own right in the diplomatic communities of Russia, France and England. It examines the way in which Dorothea, entrusted with a secret diplomatic overture to England by Tsar Alexander I, participated in events which culminated in the birth of modern Greece. Using Princess Lieven’s memoirs and other unpublished correspondence, the work provides a perspective on four Romanov rulers—Empress Catherine, Tsar Paul I, Tsar Alexander I and Tsar Nicholas I. The extent of Dorothea’s political and diplomatic influence, through her friendships with King George IV, the Duke of Wellington and Talleyrand as well as her liaisons with Clement Metternich and Francois Guizot, is also discussed. An appendix contains medical testimonial regarding the Princess’ declining health as well as some of Princess Lieven’s letters. A reference list of key events in her life is provided.
 

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Contents

Prologue
3
Heady Surroundings
37
Exalted Company
46
Love in a Diplomatic Climate
55
Four Envelopes
64
Partners in Politics
72
The Cottage Coterie
80
The Living Dispatch
90
An Impossible Mission
153
What a Country Is Mine
163
The Path to Paris
172
The Struggle to Stay in Paris
180
You Are Not Alone
192
Make Her Obey
200
The Entente Cordiale
219
The Last Act of the Drama
237

Realpolitik
100
Checkmate
108
To Know Everything and to Meddle in Nothing
126
The Princess the Prime Minister and Poland
145
Epilogue
251
Select Bibliography
275
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Historian Judith Lissauer Cromwell lives in New York.

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