The Face Of A Queen.


This is the forensic facial reconstruction of Marfa Sobakina, the daughter of a Novgorod merchant and third wife of Tsar Ivan IV of Russia, more commonly known as Ivan the Terrible.

Marfa was selected by Ivan among 12 marriage finalists. A few days after her selection, Marfa began to succumb to a mysterious ailment. It was rumoured that she was unintentionally poisoned by her mother, who gave her a potion supposedly meant to increase her fertility. Despite rapidly losing weight and barely standing, Marfa was nonetheless married to Ivan on 28 October 1571 in Aleksandrovska Sloboda. Marfa died a few days later. Her death increased her husband’s paranoia, because she died in what was meant to be an impregnable fortress filled with loyal subjects. Ivan, remembering the death of his first wife, immediately suspected poison and put to death many of his subjects, including Mikail Temrjuk (brother to the Tzar’s previous wife) who was impaled.

Marfa was just nineteen years old when she died on November 13th 1571 Ivan had been nearly twenty years her senior, she was buried the Ascension Convent in Moscow.


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