Natalya Naryshkina

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Natalya Naryshkina
Portrait of Tsaritsa Natalya Kirillovna Naryshkina - Google Cultural Institute.jpg
Tsaritsa consort of All Russia
Reign 1 February 1671 – 29 January 1676
Born (1651-09-01)1 September 1651
Died 4 February 1694(1694-02-04) (aged 42)
Burial Ascension Convent, Kolomenskoye
Archangel Cathedral, Kremlin (1929)
Spouse Alexei I of Russia
Issue Peter the Great
Tsarevna Natalya Alexeevna
Tsarevna Fyodora Alexeevna
Full name
Natalya Kirillovna Naryshkina
House House of Romanov
Father Kirill Poluektovich Naryshkin
Mother Anna Leontyevna Leontyeva
Religion Eastern Orthodox

Natalya Kirillovna Naryshkina (Russian: Ната́лья Кири́лловна Нары́шкина; 1 September 1651 – 4 February 1694) was the Tsaritsa of Russia from 1671–1676 as the second spouse of Tsar Alexei I of Russia, and regent of Russia as the mother of Tsar Peter I of Russia (Peter the Great) in 1682.


Coming from a noble family of Tatar descent,[1][2][3] daughter of Kirill Poluektovich Naryshkin (1623–1691) and wife Anna Leontyevna Leontyeva (d. 1706, daughter of Leonty Dimitriyevich Leontyev and spouse Praskovya Ivanovna Rayevskaya who died in 1641), she was brought up in the house of the great Western-leaning boyar Artamon Matveyev. She was given a freer and more Western-influenced upbringing than most Russian women of the time.


On 1 February 1671 she became the second spouse of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich. They had three children, the future Emperor Peter I (1672–1725); Tsarevna Natalya who founded the first public theatre in Russia, writing a number of its plays herself; and Tsarevna Theodora (Feodora). After the throne was secured for her son Peter, Natalya, her brothers, and the patriarch effectively controlled the government.

She became widowed in 1676; a son from the Tsar's previous marriage ascended the throne as Feodor III. Feodor and brother Ivan treated their stepmother with affection, always referring to her as "Mama".


When Feodor died in 1682, her 10-year-old son became tsar. She became regent, with her foster father Artamon Matveyev who was called back from exile, as advisor. However, during the revolt of the Streltsy on 15 May 1682, two of her brothers and Matveyev were killed and her biological father Kyril Naryshkin was forced to become a monk in a convent. Feodor's elder sister, Sofia Alekseyevna replaced her as regent.

Regency of Sophia[edit]

With Sofia heading the regime of her son Peter as a co-tsar, Natalya lived in poverty, receiving financial support from the Patriarch or others in the Orthodox Church. She spent her time mainly in Alexei's summer palace in Preobrazhenskoe, about 5 km from Moscow, together with her son Peter.

Peter's rule[edit]

In August 1689, Peter overthrew Sofia, and he and his half-brother Ivan continued to be co-tsars. Natalya was back as nominal leader in the court. Her brother, Lev Naryshkin, was appointed minister of foreign affairs and a de facto prime minister.

When the Patriarch Joachim died in 1690, Peter wanted to appoint Marcellus, Bishop of Pskov, who had travelled overseas and spoke several languages, as the new patriarch. However, Natalya led the conservative faction in the court to nominate the conservative Adrian, Bishop of Kazan, to head the Russian Orthodox Church.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Robert K. Massie, Peter the Great: His Life and World, Random House Publishing Group (2012), p. 19
  2. ^ W. E. D. Allen, The Ukraine, Cambridge University Press (2014), p. 121
  3. ^ Sergei O. Prokofieff, The Spiritual Origins of Eastern Europe and the Future Mysteries of the Holy Grail, Temple Lodge Publishing (1993), p. 460
Russian royalty
Title last held by
Maria Miloslavskaya
Tsaritsa consort of Russia
Title next held by
Agafiya Grushetskaya