Platon Zubov Is Born

Prince (Reichsfürst) Platon Alexandrovich Zubov (Russian: Платон Александрович Зубов; November 15, 1767 – April 7, 1822) was the last of Catherine the Great's favourites and the most powerful man in Russian Empire during the last years of her reign.

Platon was a member of the Zubov family and had several siblings, including Nicholas, Valerian, and Olga Zherebtsova. It was through his distant relative, Nicholas Saltykov, that he met the ageing Empress. Saltykov presented the young and handsome officer to the court on the understanding that he would help Saltykov in his feud with Catherine's long-standing favourite, Prince Potemkin.

In August of 1789, Catherine wrote to Potemkin that she returned to life after a long winter slumber "as a fly does". "Now I am well and gay again," she added, telling about her new friend, "a dark, little one". "Our baby," as she called him, "weeps when denied the entry into my room," Catherine informed Potemkin in the next letter. As young minions succeeded each other monthly in Catherine's heart, Potemkin didn't attach much importance to her new liaison. Catherine was over 60, Zubov was just 22. The old courtier couldn't believe that their connection would last for an extended period of time.

Zubov (Russian: Зу́бов) was a Russian noble family which rose to the highest offices of state in the 1790s, when Platon Zubov succeeded Count Orlov and Prince Potemkin as the favourite of Catherine II of Russia.
Coat of arms of the Zubov family

The Zubovs were an ancient family of good standing, first noticed in the service of Muscovite dukes in the 15th century. Nikolay Vasilievich Zubov (1699-1786) served in the Collegium of Economics, and his son Alexander Zubov (1727-1795) was reputed to have enriched himself serving as Vice-Governor of Vladimir. He had three daughters and four sons, of whom three--Nicholas, Platon, and Valerian--were made counts by Emperor Francis II