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Catherine the Great’s lover Gregory Potemkin was made a knight of the Order of St. Andrew, Russia’s highest order. He was given the Black Eagle by Prussia and the White Eagle by Poland. Denmark bestowed upon him the Order of the Elephant, and Sweden the St. Seraph. Joseph II of Austria made him a prince of the Holy Roman Empire. Louis XV balked at giving the empress’s lover the Order of the Holy Ghost, claiming it was only for Roman Catholics, and the prudish George III flat out refused to give him the Order of the Garter.

And, indeed, her home court was eager to surround her with as many compatriots as possible to influence her on behalf of her native land. As for the bride herself, she was glad to see familiar faces and speak her mother tongue. But this influx of outsiders caused ill will in her new country from courtiers unwilling to see their remunerative positions go to babbling foreigners. In 1600 Princess Marie de Medici of Tuscany, the bride of Henri IV, arrived with a throng of Italians itching to be awarded positions at the French court.

Bristling with pride in her royal birth, Elizabeth Charlotte was devastated at such a misalliance for her only son. ”29 The duc de Saint-Simon related that after hearing the news of the betrothal, Madame “was walking briskly, handkerchief in hand, weeping without restraint, speaking rather loudly, gesticulating, and giving a fine performance of Ceres after the abduction of Proserpina. . [The next day Madame’s] son approached her, as he did every day, in order to kiss her hand; at that moment Madame slapped his face so hard that the sound was heard several paces away, which, in the presence of the entire court, deeply embarrassed this poor prince.

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America's regole


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