Aurora Karamzina

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Aurora Demidova

Eva Aurora Charlotta Karamzina(née Stjernvall) (1 August 1808 - 13 May 1902), better known as Princess Aurora Demidova and Aurora Karamzina, was a Finnish-Swede philanthropist, and the founder and supporter of various charities. Her better-known names and titles were acquired after her first and second marriages respectively.

Early life and family[edit]

Aurora was born in Ulvila (Ulvsby), in Saaren Kartano, Finland, the daughter of Carl Johan Stjernvall (1764–1815), and Baroness Eva Gustava von Willebrand (1781–1844). Baroness Eva Gustava von Willebrand was a remote niece of Gustav I of Sweden of Sweden. Carl, a high official in the Grand Duchy of Finland, became the first governor of the Viipuri Province in 1812.[1] Following Carl's death in 1815, the Baroness remarried, becoming the wife of Finland's procurator, Carl Johan Walleen.

Aurora had an older brother, Emil (1806–1890), and two sisters, Emilie (1811–1846, married to Vladimir Musin-Pushkin), and Alexandra (Aline) (1812–1851). She had also three half-brothers from her mother's second marriage. Her brother Emil Stjernvall-Walleen became a Finnish minister of state and a baron. Aurora's sister Alexandra became the second wife of José Maurício Correia Henriques, 1st Count de Seisa.


The Hakasalmi manor house was in the centre of Helsinki where Aurora Karamzina lived most of her life. Now a museum

Aurora was appointed a lady-in-waiting to Empress Alexandra Fedorovna the elder (consort to Tsar Nicholas I of Russia), and a lady of the bedchamber of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna the younger and Empress Maria Feodorovna. She was made a dame of the Order of Saint Catherine, the highest honor for ladies in Imperial Russia. Evgeny Baratynsky dedicated a poem to her, both in Russian and French ("Go and breathe inspiration into us, you the namesake of dawn... for whom you will become the sun of happiness?"), as he did to her sister Countess Emilia Musin-Pushkin.

In 1836, she married Pavel Nikolayevich Demidov, who died in 1840.[2] In 1846, she remarried, to Andrei Karamzin.[3] After the death of Aurora's second husband, she occupied herself with the practical matters of her Järvenperä manor in Espoo, Finland and with her growing interest in charity. Aurora used the immense wealth inherited from her first husband to create benevolent institutions in Helsinki, such as schools, public kitchens and the Deaconess Institution of Helsinki. She was a great benefactor in many cities such as St. Petersburg and Florence.[4]

Aurora's only child was Prince Pavel Pavlovich Demidov (9 October 1839 – 26 January 1885). In 1870, he succeeded his childless uncle, Anatoly Nikolaievich Demidov, as the 2nd Prince of San Donato.

Her granddaughter and namesake Princess Aurora Pavlovna Demidova married Arsen Karađorđević, Prince of Serbia and became the mother of the Yugoslav regent, Prince Paul of Yugoslavia. Aurora of Yugoslavia's granddaughter is Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia, a politician in Serbia and the mother of actress Catherine Oxenberg.

She died in Helsinki on May 13th, 1902.

External links[edit]