Portrait of Anna Leopoldovna (1718-1746), Duchess of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (1739), Grand Duchess and Regent of Russia (1740-1741)
Anna Leopoldovna (Russian: Анна Леопольдовна; 18 December 1718 – 19 March 1746), born as Elisabeth Katharina Christine von Mecklenburg-Schwerin, was regent of Russia for a few months in 1740 and 1741 during the minority of her infant son Emperor Ivan VI. Elisabeth Katharina Christine was the daughter of Catherine, the sister of the Russian empress Anna, and of Karl Leopold, the duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Catherine separated from Elisabeth's father and the two escaped to Russia in 1722. Catherine was considered for the imperial throne in 1730 but her sister Anna was chosen instead. In 1733, Elisabeth converted to the Russian Orthodox Church and given the name Anna Leopoldovna, which made her acceptable as an heir to the throne. In 1739, she married Anthony Ulrich (1714–1776), son of Ferdinand Albert, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. On 5 October 1740, the empress Anna adopted their newborn son Ivan and proclaimed him heir to the Russian throne. On 28 October, just a few weeks after this proclamation, the empress died, leaving directions regarding the succession and appointing her favourite Ernest Biron, Duke of Courland, as regent. The coup succeeded and she assumed the regency on 8 November, taking the title of Grand Duchess. Field Marshal Münnich personally arrested Biron in his apartment. Anna knew little of the character of the people with whom she had to deal, knew even less of the conventions and politics of Russian government, and speedily quarrelled with her principal supporters. In December 1741, Elizabeth, the daughter of Peter the Great, excited the guards to revolt. The coup overcame the insignificant opposition and was supported by the ambassadors of France and Sweden, owing to the pro-British and pro-Austrian policies of Anna's government. The French ambassador in St. Petersburg, the marquis de La Chétardie, was deeply involved in planning Elizabeth's coup and bribed numerous officers of the Imperial Guard into supporting the coup.
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