Adult Baby at the Summer Palace

In 1747, the future Catherine the Great was married to the heir presumptive of Elizabeth, the Empress of Russia. The  young Grand Duchess did not love her new husband Grand Duke Peter Fedorovich, so she was assigned a minder named Madame Choglokova. Madame’s  love for Monsieur Choglokov was mean to serve as a shinning example for her charge.


‘Back in the Summer Palace, Madame Kruse, who had not ceased to be an Argus and recognized as such, became sweeter to such an extent that very often she was willing to deceive the Choglokovs, who had become everyone’s bête noires. She did more. She procured for the Grand Duke toys, dolls, and other childish things that he loved madly; during the day they were hidden in and under my bed. The Grand Duke went to bed first after supper, and as soon as we were in bed, Madame Kruse locked the door with a key and then the Grand Duke played until one or two in the morning. Like it or not, I was obliged to take part in this fine pastime, as was Madame Kruse. Often I laughed about it, but even more often I was irritated and inconvenienced, as the bed was covered with and full of dolls and toys, which were sometimes quite heavy. I do not know if Madame Choglokova caught wind of these nocturnal amusements, but one evening towards midnight, she knocked on the bedroom door. We did not open it for her immediately, because the Grand Duke, Madame Kruse, and I were in such a hurry to hide and clear the bed of these toys, and to this end the bedcover served us well because we stuffed them underneath it.’

The Memoirs of Catherine the Great, translated by Mark Cruse and Hilde Hoogenboom