Princesse Moustache

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Natalya Petrovna Chernysheva

Princess Natalya Petrovna Galitzine, née Chernysheva or Chernyshyova (17 January 1741 in St. Petersburg, Russia – 20 December 1837), was a Russian lady in waiting, socialite and noble and Dame of the Order of St. Catherine's first degree.

She was a niece of Counts Zakhar and Ivan Chernyshov and the sister of the lady in waiting Princess Darya Petrovna Saltykova. She married Prince Vladimir Borisovich Galitzine in 1766. She was known in society as "Princesse Moustache" ("Whiskered Princess") (from fr. Moustache - mustache) or "Fée Moustachine" ("bearded fairy"). She was a prototype of the main heroine of Alexander Pushkin's The Queen of Spades.

Biography[edit]

The second daughter of a diplomat, Count Pyotr Grigoryevich Chernyshyov, godson of Peter the Great, and Catherine Andreevna, daughter of a famous chief of the secret office in Biron, Count Andrei Ivanovich Ushakov. She spent her early life abroad with her father, and upon her return in 1762, she and her sister became known as two of the most learned women in Russia.

In 1762 she was appointed maid of honor to Empress Catherine the Great. She was awarded with a gold medal by the empress for her dance in the masquerade of 1766. In 1783 she left for Europe with her family, and until 1789 she participated in the French court life where she was known for her skillful dance at balls. She visited London in 1789–90 and then returned to Russia when Catherine, upon the French Revolution, summoned all Russians to Russia. She was appointed lady in waiting in 1806.

Along with successes at court, Natalya Petrovna zealously engaged in farming. In 1824 Princess Golitsyn became an honorary member of the Scientific and Economic Society.

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