Portrait of Elizabeth Alexeievna (1779-1826), Grand Duchess of Russia (1793-1801), Empress consort of Russia (1801-1825), 1820
Princess Louise of Baden (13/24 January 1779 – 4 May/16 May 1826) was, later known as Elizabeth Alexeievna (Russian: Елизавета Алексеевна), Empress of Russia during her marriage with Emperor Alexander I. Born Princess Louise of Baden, she was a daughter of Charles Louis, Hereditary Prince of Baden, and his wife, Landgravine Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt. She grew up in a close, warm family environment in Karlsruhe during the long reign of her grandfather Charles Frederick, Margrave of Baden. Princess Louise came to Russia in November 1792, when she was chosen by Empress Catherine II of Russia as a bride for her eldest grandson, Grand Duke Alexander Pavlovich of Russia, the future Tsar Alexander I. Louise converted to the Orthodox Church, took the title of Grand Duchess of Russia and traded the name Louise Maria for Elizabeth Alexeievna. She married Alexander on 28 September 1793, when he was fifteen and she was fourteen. Initially the marriage was happy. Elizabeth was beautiful, but shy and withdrawn. She had two daughters, but both died in early childhood. During the reign of her father-in-law, Tsar Paul I, Elizabeth supported her husband's policies and she was with him on the night of Paul’s assassination. As empress consort, Elizabeth Alexeievna took part in Court life and the duties of representation, but the role of first lady in the Empire was reserved for her mother-in-law, Maria Feodorovna, who played a more prominent position than the young empress. For almost two decades, Alexander I and Elizabeth lived in harmony, but led separate lives, with both having affairs. She was neither popular in Russia nor much loved by her Romanov relations. Elizabeth Alexeievna did not play any major political role, but during the Napoleonic Wars, she was a reliable supporter of her husband's policies. She joined her husband at the Congress of Vienna in 1814. After many years living apart, Elizabeth and Alexander I reconciled in the early 1820s. By 1824, they were once again the happy couple of their youth. As Elizabeth's health was fragile, they moved to Taganrog, where Emperor Alexander died in December 1825. Empress Elizabeth died on her return journey to the capital, five months after her husband's death.
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