March 13, 1669 death of Maria Ilyinichna Miloslavskaya, first wife of Alexis I.
Maria was born April 1, 1624 in Moscow. She was the daughter of Ilya Miloslavsky. Her father was a boyar (high ranked Russian noble) and served as a diplomat. He spent time in the Netherlands and Constantinople for the tsar. Her father was a supporter and relative of Boris Morozov who was a tutor and favorite of the tsar. Her mother was Ekaterina Feodorovna Narbekova. She was the youngest of four daughters her parents had.
in 1645 Alexei had come to the throne as tsar. In 1647 he was 18 and the search went out for a bride. In those days the tsar was presented with a parade of the daughters of the Russian nobles and he was to choose. Her father's relative Borris organized the event and over 300 girls were presented. Borris wished to marry Maria's sister Anna, and pushed to have Maria chosen by the tsar.
The tsar instead is said to have chosen Euphemia Fedorovna Vsevolozhskaya. She fainted though shortly after he chose her. Borris was determined though in his choice. He paid for a hairdresser to pull Euphemia's hair which caused her to faint. And then bribed a doctor to say she had epilepsy which disqualified her from marrying the tsar. Euphemia's father was accused of hiding his daughter's illness and the whole family was forced into exile.
The tsar was then introduced by his tutor to Maria. Maria was beautiful and was healthy as the court doctors confirmed. The couple were married January 16, 1648. It was a solemn occasion without dancing and music. Ten days after their wedding, Borris would marry Maria's sister, fufilling his plans.
By all accounts their marriage was a very happy one.
Women in those time lived very secluded lives. They would meet men only in ceremonial duties and only for greeting before retreating. Even in church they were hidden behind screens. But the tsarita was expected to be a good example of religious devotion and charity work. As well as to run the court.
She seemed to have done a good job at both. She donated to city hospitals for the poor and disabled. She served as a protector of the cult of Mary of Egypt. She was a supporter of the Sretensky Monastery and commisioned an icon for it.
Maria died at age 44 from childbed fever. She was buried with her child who died shortly after her, at the Ascension convent. In 1929 the convent was dismantled by the soviets for commander's school. The bodies there, including hers, were then moved to Archangel cathedral.
Though there was doubt her husband would remarry after he, he eventually did. In 1671 he married Natalya Kirillovna Naryshkina. He had a further three children with Natalya, including the future Peter the Great. He died in 1676, seven years after Maria died.
Maria and Alexei had thirteen children:
-Dmitri: died in infancy
-Yevdokia : lived to age 62, nothing known of her
-Marfa: was imprisoned in a convent after participating in a rebelion against her half brother Peter. She is an orthadox saint
-Alexei: died at 15 less then a year after his mother
-Anna: died in infancy
-Sofia: served as regent for her brothers. She eventually rebelled against Peter and like Marfa was confined to a convent.
-Catherine: she was arrested at the time of the rebellion of her older sisters but she was released as she played no part. She is said to have been the only sister never to anger Peter. She was at the baptism of Catherine I.
-Maria: She never was part of the rebelllion, but she was supportive of her sisters and full brothers against Peter. She was imprisoned for a time but she was released in 1721. She out lived her siblings.
-Feodor: was Tsar Feodor III. He was married twice but had no children from either wife, dying several months after his second marriage. His death lead to the eventual Moscow uprising of 1682 led by his sisters.
-Feodosia: She was never involved in politics. She lived for a time in the household of her Aunt Yevdokia Alekseyevna. Unlike her sisters, she chose to enter a convent, taking the name Susanna.
-Simeon: died at age four, months after his mother's death
-Ivan: was co-ruler with Peter, as Ivan V. He married Praskovia Saltykova. Unlie his elder brother he had children, 5 daughters, of whom 3 made it to adulthood. After his death Peter became supreme tsar on his own.He had only one grandchild Anna who was the mother of the future Ivan VI of Russia.
-Yevdokia: the child her mother died giving birth to. Died shortly after her mother and was buried with her.