A pretender to the Russian throne, Princess Tarakanova claimed to be the daughter of Alexei Razumovsky and Elizabeth of Russia. She is mysterious, even today – no one knows her true birthplace or birthname. She traveled abroad, visiting various European cities before settling down, sort of, as the mistress of Philipp Ferdinand of Limburg Stirum in the hopes that he would eventually marry her. After a time she became disillusioned with Philipp but stayed with him for the money. It was from there that Tarakanova was seduced, lured onto a Russian ship, and arrested by Alexei Grigoryevich Orlov, who had been sent by Empress Catherine II to retrieve her. She was imprisoned in the Peter and Paul Fortress in 1775, where she died of tuberculosis that December. Or so the official story goes. A popular theory at the time was that “Princess Tarakanova” was secretly forced to take the veil under the name “Dosifea.” This mysterious nun was recorded as living in Ivanovsky Convent from 1785 until her death in 1810. Above is a famous painting, “Princess Tarakanova, in the Peter and Paul Fortress at the Time of the Flood” done in 1864.