influence st

Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, wife of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich, was a strong and highly ambitious woman. Not blessed with great beauty, she was nontheless armed with winning charm, impeccable social skills and cunning wit. During the reign of her nephew Tsar Nicholas II, she gained much influence and dominated St. Petersburg society due to her untiring efforts to entertain and gather every important person into her own social circle. Straightforward with her ambitions on behalf of her sons, she ultimately went as far as openly criticizing the Imperial couple and propagating their removal from power, until one of her guests had to say he would pretend, for her sake, he had heard nothing of the sort.