1754 (1st October)
Russian Emperor, Paul I, was born Pavel Petrovich to Catherine and Peter of Holstein-Gottorp at the Winter Palace in St Petersburg. Paul’s parents were not happily married and both took lovers.
Paul was removed from his mother and raised by Empress Elizabeth of Russia. He saw his mother only occasionally while growing up and had no real relationship with her.
1757 (17th December)
Paul’s sister, Anna Petrovna was born to Catherine and Peter of Holstein-Gottorp at the Winter Palace in St Petersburg. She may have been fathered by Stanislaw Poniiatowski.
1759 (8th March)
Paul’s sister, Anna Petrovna, died.
Paul began his education. He was placed in the care of governor Nikita Ivanovich Panin and schooled by a number of tutors. He was well educated and spoke a number of different languages.
1762 (5th January)
The Empress of Russia, Elizabeth, died and Paul’s father became Emperor Peter III. Paul was designated Crown Prince.
The rule of Emperor Peter III was not popular and many of his decisions were upset the military and the nobility. Paul’s mother, Catherine, managed to stay on good terms with groups. She and her lover, Grigory Orlov, began plotting to depose her husband.
Emperor Peter III made a trip to the Palace of Oranienbaum with a number of his favourite courtiers. He had left his wife, Catherine, behind in the Winter Palace.
1762 (9th July)
Paul’s mother decided the time was right to depose her husband and take over the rule of Russia. she quickly gained the support of the Russian military and was ordained as Empress in her own right the same day. Paul’s father, Peter III, was arrested and forced to abdicate in his wife’s favour.
1762 (17th July)
Peter III of Russia died. Although officially the cause of death was recorded as a stroke, it was rumoured that he was murdered by Alexei Orlov, brother of Grigory Orlov who had helped Catherine overthrow the Emperor. This has never been proved.
1762 (22nd September)
Catherine the Great of Russia was crowned at the Assumption Cathedral, Moscow. Her crown, designed by Jeremie Pauzie, would become the coronation crown for all future Emperors.
Paul became unwell after contracting typhus.
1772 (1st October)
Paul celebrated his eighteenth birthday. Both Paul and his governor believed that as the son of Peter III, Paul was the rightful ruler of Russia, not his mother.
Catherine the Great decided that Paul should marry. She hoped that marriage would distract him from becoming rebellious against her.
1773 (29th September)
Paul married Wilhelmina Louisa of Hesse-Darmastadt. On marriage the young lady changed her name to Natalia Alexeievna.
Following his marriage, Catherine the Great invited Paul to attend council meetings in preparation for when he succeeded his mother. However, he still wanted more power and maintained a separate court to his mother.
1776 (26th April)
Paul’s wife, Natalia Alexeievna died from complications following a stillbirth.
1776 (26th September)
Paul, married Sophie Dorothea of Wurttemberg, who took the name Maria Feodorovna on conversion to Russian Orthodoxy.
1777 (12th December)
A son, Alexander, was born to Paul and Maria Feodorovna at St Petersburg, Russia.
1777 (after 12th December)
Following the birth of his son, Paul’s mother gave him an estate named Pavlovsk.
1779 (27th April)
A son, Constantine, was born to Paul and Maria Feodorovna at St Petersburg, Russia.
1779 (after April)
Catherine the Great took Paul’s sons, Alexander and Constantine into her care.
Paul and his wife began a tour of western Europe, returning to Russia the following year.
Catherine the Great gave Paul a second estate, Gatchina Palace. He kept a number of regiments on the estate and delighted in training them in weapons use and parades. He also expected a high level of discipline and any infringement was harshly punished.
1783 (9th August)
A daughter Alexandra Pavlovna, was born to Paul and Maria Feodorovna at St Petersburg, Russia.
1784 (13th December)
A daughter Elena Pavlovna, was born to Paul and Maria Feodorovna at St Petersburg, Russia.
1786 (4th February)
A daughter, Maria Pavlovna was born to Paul and Maria Feodorovna at St Petersburg, Russia.
Catherine the Great decided that after she died her grandson Alexander should succeed rather than her son, Paul.
1788 (21st May)
A daughter, Catherine Pavlovna was born to Paul and Maria Feodorovna at St Petersburg, Russia.
1792 (22nd July)
A daughter, Olga Pavlovna was born to Paul and Maria Feodorovna at St Petersburg, Russia.
1795 (7th January)
A daughter, Anna Pavlovna was born to Paul and Maria Feodorovna at St Petersburg, Russia.
1795 (26th January)
Paul’s daughter, Olga died following a tooth abscess.
1796 (25th June)
A son, Nicholas, was born to Paul and Maria Feodorovna at St Petersburg, Russia.
1796 (16th November)
Paul became Emperor of Russia after Catherine the Great died following a stroke.
In a reaction against his mother’s conquering policy, Emperor Paul I recalled all troops stationed outside the Russian border. He promoted his Gatchina soldiers to the Imperial Guard, a move which was deeply resented by the standing Imperial Guard.
The Knights Hospitaller Order, based in Malta but with priories in other countries, asked Paul I for his help with the Priory of Poland which was now on Russian land. Paul duly complied and relocated the Priory to St Petersburg.
Paul introduced a new set of laws. The law abolished the right of the Emperor to determine their successor and instead established primogeniture where the eldest son would succeed. It is likely that he set this in law for fear that his opponents would try to enact Catherine’s wishes for Alexander to succeed. Paul also reversed many of his mother’s reforms placing greater restrictions on the nobility.
The Knights Hospitaller of Malta made Paul I a protector of their Order.
1798 (8th February)
A son, Michael was born to Paul and Maria Feodorovna at St Petersburg, Russia.
Paul I was greatly distressed when Napoleon took control of Malta.
1798 (24th November)
Emperor Paul I was elected Grand Master of the St Petersburg Priory.
1798 (29th November)
Russia joined the Second Coalition against France.
Russia and Britain made a joint invasion of the Netherlands. However, things went badly and an armistice was signed.
After the failed invasion of the Netherlands, Britain took control of Malta. Paul was furious and and suspended diplomatic relations with Britain.
Paul I began negotiations with Napoleon and began planning a joint campaign against British India.
1801 (8th January)
Paul signed a decree to incorporate Georgia, weakened by civil war, into the Russian Empire.
1801 (16th March)
Paul’s daughter, Alexandra died in childbirth.
1801 (23rd March)
Paul I of Russia was assassinated by a number of his advisors and officers of the guard including General Benningsen and General Yashvil at St Michael Castle. He was succeeded by his son, Alexander I.