Lead: In 1762, Grigori Potemkin, and ambitious young officer, secured his political and affectional future leading the coup that overthrew unpopular Czar Peter III in favor of his wife. She became Catherine the Great Grigory became her lover.
Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.
Content: Grigori was born in 1739, studied at the University of Moscow and entered the military as quartermaster of horse guards. Catherine, ten years his senior was the daughter of a minor German prince married at age sixteen to Peter, heir to the Russian throne. Catherine on the other hand was ambitious, determined and bright and had acquired a brilliant education as young woman. By the time her husband ascended to the throne as Peter III in early 1762, Catherine disliked her husband intensely. He may have borne the name of his grandfather Peter the Great, but that is where the comparison ended. He was regarded as weak and incompetent and much of the court shared Czarina’s disdain for her husband. A mere six months after the coronation he was deposed in a palace coup d’etat and a short time later the Czar “died in an accident.” Actually he was murdered while in the custody of one of the conspirators. Power was handed to Catherine who ascended the throne with the support of her lover and chief schemer, Grigori Orlov.