Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna of Russia

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Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna
Hereditary Princess of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Elena Pavlovna of Russia by V.Borovikovskiy (1796, Gatchina).jpg
Portrait by Vladimir Borovikovsky, 1796
Born(1784-12-24)24 December 1784
Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire
Died24 September 1803(1803-09-24) (aged 18)
Ludwigslust, Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Helena Paulovna Mausoleum, Ludwigslust, Germany
SpouseFrederick Louis, Hereditary Prince of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
IssuePaul Frederick, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Marie Louise, Duchess of Saxe-Altenburg
FatherPaul I of Russia
MotherSophie Dorothea of Württemberg
ReligionRussian Orthodoxy

Elena Pavlovna (Russian: Великая Княжна Елена Павловна; 24 December 1784 [OS 13 December] – 24 September 1803) was born a grand duchess of Russia as the daughter of Paul I, Emperor of all the Russias and later became the Hereditary Princess of Mecklenburg-Schwerin as the wife of Hereditary Prince Frederick Louis (1778–1819).

Early life[edit]

Two young girls embracing each other, wearing flower crowns. The older wears a light blue dress, the younger a yellow one, both with white lace and aprons. The younger holds a pendant with the portrait of a man in it.
Elena Pavlovna (on the right, in yellow) with her older sister Alexandra Pavlovna (on the left, in blue) on a portrait by Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun from ca. 1795–1797, between the ages of 11 and 14.
A young woman with dark blonde hair and very pale white skin, wearing a simple blue dress and a red shawl.
Elena Pavlovna, Hereditary Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Schwerin in 1802 at the age of 18 on Josef Grassi's portrait.

Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna Romanova of Russia was born in Saint Petersburg in the Russian Empire as the fourth child and second daughter of Tsesarevich Paul Petrovich of Russia (1754–1801) and his second wife, Tsesarevna Maria Feodorovna, born Duchess Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg (1759–1828). Out of her nine siblings, Elena was closest to her older sister Alexandra Pavlovna (1783–1801). She was educated privately at home, for the first years, under the supervision of her paternal grandmother, Catherine the Great (1729–1796). Her education was focused mainly on fine arts, literature and music.

Marriage and life in Schwerin[edit]


In 1798, negotiations took place about the marriage of Elena Pavlovna and the heir of the Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Hereditary Prince Frederick Louis (1778–1819), the eldest son of Frederick Francis I, Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. The formal betrothal was celebrated on 5 May 1799, and on 23 October 1799, they were married at the Great Gatchina Palace near Saint Petersbourg

Life in Schwerin[edit]

Elena Pavlovna moved to Schwerin with her husband and led a content married life there. On 15 September 1800 she gave birth to her firstborn son, Paul Frederick, who would go on to inherit the throne of the duchy. He was named after his grandfathers. On 16 March 1801, Elena Pavlovna's sister Archduchess Alexandra Pavlovna of Austria died in Buda in childbirth. Only eight days later her father was assassinated. On 31 March 1803 she gave birth to a daughter, Marie Louise, named after her grandmothers, who would later become the duchess of Saxe-Altenburg.


The Helena Paulovna Mausoleum, Elena Pavlovna's resting place in Ludwigslust, Germany.

In September 1803, Elena Pavlovna fell gravely ill and died suddenly on 24 September. She was buried in the Helena Paulovna Mausoleum in Ludwigslust.[1] Her widower, Frederick Louis remarried two times and had more children, but never succeeded to the throne, as his father outlived him.


Hereditary Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna had two children with her husband, Frederick Louis, Hereditary Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1778–1819), both of whom survived to adulthood:


Elena Pavlovna's letters to her maternal grandfather, Frederick II Eugene, Duke of Württemberg written between 1795 and 1797 are preserved in the State Archive of Stuttgart in Stuttgart, Germany.[2]



  1. ^ Hans Kenzler: Kurze Lebenszeit edel ausgefüllt. Warum Ludwigslust ein Helenen-Paulownen-Mausoleum hat in: Mecklenburg-Magazin (2006), n° 37, p. 13.
  2. ^ "Herzog Friedrich Eugen (1732-1797) - Briefwechsel des Herzogs mit dem kaiserlichen Hause von Russland, 1795-1797 - 3. Schreiben der jungen Großfürsten Alexander und Konstantin und Großfürstinnen Alexandrina, Anna, Katharina, Elisabeth, Helene, Maria". Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart. Retrieved 22 November 2021.


  • Alan Palmer: Alexander I.
  • Zoé Oldenbourg: Katharina II.