Anna Leopoldovna (1718 - 1746)
Woman-regent at infant emperor Ioann Antonovich.
Empress Anna Ioannovna, sitting on the Russian throne, was rather concerned - whom should she pass it. Of the one living daughter of Peter the Great Elizabeth she could not even think - there was incessant struggle between Miloslavsky and Naryshkin families. Therefore Anna made a very clever 'move of the knight": in 1739 she married her niece (the daughter of sister Catherine-Elizabeth-Christina, who was named in orthodoxy "Anna" and later became Anna Leopoldovna Meklenburgskaya) to prince Anton-Ulrich-Braunschweig-Luneburgsky, hoping, that this marriage would give the future successor to the throne. It happened as had been planned - in 1740 the young couple gave birth to a son, who was named Ioann and declared the successor to the Russian throne.
Elizabeth had chances to become an empress no more. But it did not become for her a tragedy: she even sent Anna Leopoldovna a vase with flowers as a gift with congratulations on the birth of the son. Anna Leopoldovna did not want to marry Anton-Ulrich, as she loved another man, she was weeping during all wedding.
So, in 1740 Anna Ioannovna dies and baby Ioann Antonovich with Biron as regent comes to the throne. By the way, Biron rather well treated Elizabeth: supported and often visited her. It is rather possible, that, understanding the ambiguity of situation around the Russian throne, Biron had plans concerning the daughter of Peter the Great. There were rumours, that he had intentions of marrying his son Peter to Elizabeth and giving them throne. During his regency, Biron reduced head-money, limited court luxury.
However, Biron, in fact, was not so terrible and powerful as he had always been thought - he held the post of regent only for a month: on November 8, 1740 the president of Military board Minikh managed to make palace coup and deprive Biron of regency. The mother of infant emperor Anna Leopoldovna filled the post. She was 23 at that time. She did not suit at all for the role of regent. All life in the Winter palace froze. Anna Leopoldovna spent all the time in the apartments with favourite maid of honour Yuliana Mengden. They even said, that Anna Leopoldovna had certain feelings to the maid of honour and could not stand the husband. As you can see, gossips have always been identical, both in the past, and in the present.
Everything froze during Anna Leopoldovna's regency. Lawlessness prospered. She was not at all engaged in any affairs, was narrow-minded and alien to the Russian nobility (though Minikh junior in his memoirs mentioned her kind nature, besides Anna Leopoldovna fired the staff of court jesters). People recollected the time of Peter the Great with regret, and, recollecting, it was impossible not to think about Elizabeth, the daughter of the great reformer - Anna Leopoldovna understood the real danger coming from Elizabeth, and devised a plan to marry Elizabeth to prince Ludovik, the brother of her husband Anton-Ulrich. At that time Ludovik was to become duke of Kurland, and thus, marrying him, Elizabeth left the court for Kurland, and her return would be too complicated and even impossible. But Elizabeth, firm in her decision never to marry, flatly refused such a marriage.
The situation became heated. Everybody was dissatisfied, and this discontent might not result in anything but next coup. According to the reports of historians, Anna Leopoldovna on November 23, 1741 directly asked Elizabeth, whether she was going to make coup. Elizabeth answered negatively. Conversation between the women was very touching and emotional, and Anna Leopoldovna calmed down - much more dangerous than Elizabeth she considered to be her nephew, the grandson of Peter the Great, who lived in Holstein (subsequently by efforts of empress Elizabeth Petrovna this boy became the successor to the throne, grand duke Peter Fedorovich, and later even emperor Peter III).
On November 25, 1741 there was a coup, in the result of which Elizabeth came to the throne. Infant emperor Ioann Antonovich and his parents were arrested and in 1744 exiled to Kholmogory. During the exile Anna Leopoldovna gave birth to three children in addition to born before the arrest Ioann and Catherine: Elizabeth, Peter and Alexey. She died in childbed, trying to give birth to the last, fifth child. Anna Leopoldovna was buried in Alexandro-Nevskaya lavra without any monument or inscription on the tomb. Her spouse lived a long life. All their children (except for Ioann Antonovich) at the mature age were sent to Denmark where subsequently died.