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Marfa Sobakina (1552-1571.)

The Tsaritsa of the Tsardom of Russia and third wife of Ivan the Terrible was hand-picked by Ivan among 12 marriage finalists (the “bride show” was a custom of Byzantine emperors and Russian Tsars to choose a wife among the beautiful single ladies of the country.) A few days after she was chosen, she fell very ill. Despite the fact that she was losing a lot of weight and could barely stand- Ivan married the withering waif on October 28, 1571. She died a few days later.

Ivan was extremely paranoid. Marfa’s death increased his paranoia and he began executing many of his people under suspect of poisoning his young wife. What really happened was that poor Marfa was unintentionally killed by her own mother- in an attempt to increase her fertility with the Tsar- gave her a potion that poisoned her instead.

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