Orlov was the first of the two most important favourites of Empress Catherine the Great. He personally carried out the palace revolution that made Catherine the Empress of Russia.
Grigory Orlov’s grandfather was a fearless Streltsy who had once made a great impression on Peter the Great.
Grigory Orlov was a soldier at the regiment together with his four brothers. He participated in the Seven Years’ War. Grigory was very handsome, brave and manly soldier. Although not educated nor too elegant.
He was introduced to Catherine, who was five years older than him. They became lovers and Grigory became the main organizer of a coup against Catherine’s husband Peter III. Allegedly, Grigory himself was the one who strangled the Emperor to death.
Catherine II’s favourite
As a gift Catherine honoured him with the title of Count and Mayor-general, gave him countless treasures, estates, peasants and titles. Orlov became the most powerful nobleman in Russia.
Although Orlov greatly hoped for it, Catherine never married him. They had a son, Alexey, who was born in 1762 and was raised in secret.
Orlov’s highlight came in 1771, when plague broke out in Moscow. He was sent there to restore order and he managed to stop the epidemic.
After 1773 Catherine began to grow tired of Orlov, who could not equal her in any way intellectually. Her new favourite Grigory Potemkin gradually took the place. Grigory Orlov eventually married her close relative and died in despair and insanity.