1876: Tsar’s mistress misses his “fountain” and its “injections”

Yekaterina ‘Katia’ Dolgorukova became the mistress of Tsar Alexander II in 1866, after the Russian emperor paid a series of visits to her finishing school. Alexander was 47, Katia was just 18. Four years later, the tsar installed Katia in apartments close to the Winter Palace. She used a secret passageway to enter Alexander’s quarters for passionate and sometimes torrid bouts of “bingerle” (their code word for sex). Alexander sometimes sketched Katia in the nude after which, according to his letters, they “clenched each other like hungry cats”.

The pair paused their affair in 1876 after the premature death of their third illegitimate child. Alexander’s doctors were also concerned that the tsar’s active sex life was having a detrimental impact on his health. During this period of abstinence, Alexander and Katia exchanged a series of emotionally charged and sometimes erotic letters, the latter writing:

“I feel so heavy but I am not grumbling because it is my fault. And I confess that I cannot be without your fountain, which I love so… After my six weeks are over, I count on renewing my injections.”

Alexander and Katia married morganatically in July 1880 following the death of his wife, Marie of Hesse. Nine months later Alexander II was assassinated in St Petersburg, his legs blown off by a bomb hurled by anarchists. Katia and their three children watched the late tsar’s funeral from an alcove; they were not permitted onto the floor of the church.

Source: Letter dated November 30th 1876, cited in Alexandre Tarsaize, Katia: Wife before God, 1970. Content on this page is © Alpha History 2019-23. Content may not be republished without our express permission. For more information please refer to our Terms of Use or contact Alpha History.