Yes, a cousin of Anna (Catherine's mother in law) and the empress (Anna long dead). Maria's husband was a chamberlain. Maria's devotion and duty as a wife, and fertility (pregnant annually) were meant to inspire Catherine. Catherine hated the woman. In her biography she called her malicious, cruel, un-educated, simple-minded and self-righteous. Maria wasn't popular, considered ruthlessly ambitious. She and her husband were more jailors to the couple than anything. Went on for 7 years.