Peter III, original name Karl Peter Ulrich, Duke von Holstein-Gottorp, (born February 21, 1728, Kiel, Holstein-Gottorp, died July 18, 1762, Ropsha, near St. Petersburg), was emperor of Russia from January 5, 1762, to July 9, 1762. He was the son of Anna, one of Peter I the Great’s daughters, and Charles Frederick, Duke von Holstein-Gottorp. He was brought to Russia by his aunt Elizabeth shortly after she became empress of Russia (December 5–6, 1741). Renamed Peter (Pyotr Fyodorovich), he was received into the Russian Orthodox Church (November 18, 1742) and proclaimed the heir to the Russian throne. In 1744 Catherine, original name Sophie Frederike Auguste, Princess of Anhalt-Zerbst (born May 2, 1729, Stettin, Prussia [now Szczecin, Poland]—died November 17, 1796, Tsarskoye Selo [now Pushkin], near St. Petersburg), arrived in Russia, assumed the title of Grand Duchess Ekaterina Alekseyevna, and married her young cousin on August 21, 1745. The marriage was a complete failure.

Peter III made himself personally unpopular. The pro-Prussian foreign and military policy pursued by Peter III (who abruptly ended Russia’s victorious involvement in the Seven Years’ War) and his treatment of his wife, Catherine, provoked much resentment. As a result, the emperor lost all support in society.

It was easy for Catherine to overthrow Peter on July 9, 1762, throw him in prison and have him killed. Her reign was long and vital for Russia. She was named “the Great.”

More Info: