Portrait of Peter III (1728-1762), Emperor of Russia (1762), Grand Duke and heir to the throne of Russia (1742-1762), Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp (1739-1762), 1762
Peter III ((Russian: Пётр III Фëдорович; 21 February 1728 – 17 July 1762) was Emperor of Russia for six months in 1762. He was born in Kiel as Karl Peter Ulrich, the only child of Charles Frederick, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp (the child of Hedvig Sophia of Sweden, sister of Charles XII), and Anna Petrovna (the elder surviving daughter of Peter the Great). The German Peter could hardly speak Russian and pursued a strongly pro-Prussian policy, which made him an unpopular leader. He was deposed and possibly assassinated as a result of a conspiracy led by his German wife, Princess Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg, who succeeded him to the throne as Catherine II. His death could also have been the result of a drunken brawl with his bodyguard when he was being held captive after Catherine's coup. Peter was born in Kiel, in the duchy of Holstein-Gottorp. His parents were Charles Frederick, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp (a nephew of Charles XII of Sweden), and Anna Petrovna (a daughter of Emperor Peter I and Empress Catherine I of Russia). His mother died three months after his birth. In 1739, Peter's father died, and he became Duke of Holstein-Gottorp as Charles Peter Ulrich (German: Karl Peter Ulrich) at the age of 11. When Elizabeth, his mother's younger sister, became Empress of Russia, she brought Peter from Germany to Russia and proclaimed him her heir in the autumn of 1742. Also in November, Karl Peter Ulrich converted to Eastern Orthodoxy under the name of Peter Fedorovich.
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