Peter III of Russia

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Peter III (21 February 1728 – 17 July [O.S. 6 July] 1762) (Russian: Пётр III Фëдорович, Pyotr III Fyodorovitch) was Emperor of Russia for six months in 1762. He was very pro-Prussian, which made him an unpopular leader. He was supposedly assassinated as a result of a conspiracy led by his wife, who succeeded him to the throne as Catherine II.


Early life and character

Peter was born in Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein. His parents were Karl Friedrich, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp (nephew of Charles XII of Sweden) and Anna Petrovna, a daughter of Emperor Peter the Great of Russia and his second wife, Catherine I of Russia. His mother died less than two weeks after his birth. In 1739, Peter's father died, and he became Duke of Holstein-Gottorp as Karl Peter Ulrich. He could thus be considered the heir to both thrones (Russia and Sweden).

When Anna's sister Elizabeth became Empress of Russia she brought Peter from Germany to Russia and proclaimed him her heir in the autumn of 1742. Previously in 1742 the 14-year-old Peter was proclaimed King of Finland during the Russo-Swedish War (1741–1743) when Russian troops held Finland. This proclamation was based on his succession rights to territories held by his childless granduncle, the late Charles XII of Sweden who also had been Grand Duke of Finland. About the same time, in October 1742, he was chosen by the Swedish parliament to become heir to the Swedish throne. However, the Swedish parliament was unaware of the fact that he had also been proclaimed heir to the throne of Russia, and when their envoy arrived in Saint Petersburg in November, it was too late. It has been reported that the underage Peter's succession rights to Sweden were renounced on his behalf (such an act in name of a minor has been regarded as questionable and probably invalid).

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