Historical story

Stanisław August Poniatowski's most important mistresses

Crowds of lovers passed through Stanisław August Poniatowski's bedroom. Although every step of the monarch was carefully recorded, even the most inquisitive observers of his life were unable to count how many women had an affair with Stanisław August. Especially since the king often had several lovers at the same time!

Poniatowski's first love was his cousin Elżbieta Izabela Lubomirska née Czartoryska, the daughter of August, his mother's brother. Even as children, cousins ​​often saw each other at the house of their grandmother Izabela Czartoryska, the castellan of Vilnius. Gradually Stanisław August began to notice that Elżbieta Izabela was becoming a lovely young lady. Her external appearance reflected the ideal of a woman at the time:she was only 150 cm tall, with round shoulders, small hands and feet.

The last king of Poland led a rich love life

The girl reciprocated her cousin's feelings. It was a platonic love, young people only exchanged tender glances and read poetry together. They shared similar tastes and passions. Poniatowski also appreciated the education and sensitivity of Elżbieta Izabela. "I found that she had more sense and affection than any other woman," he wrote years later.

Coronation portrait of Stanisław August Poniatowski

For August Czartoryski, Poniatowski was not a good candidate for a husband. The reason for his reluctance was not the close relationship of the couple, because at that time there was no suspicion of the existence of genetic diseases. It was simply that the Poniatowski fortune and the prestige of their family did not match the position of the Czartoryski family. To cool the feelings of those in love, Stanisław August was sent on his first foreign trip. Elżbieta Izabela was married to the Grand Marshal of the Crown, Stanisław Lubomirski, probably the richest man in the country. Poniatowski and his cousin also kept in touch after her marriage. The woman became his confidante to whom he told about the love of his life - Catherine II.

Katarzyna the Great

The Pole described the tsarina as "the mistress of my fate". Also Katarzyna - already as a mature woman - admitted that “Poniatowski loved me and I loved him”. They had a passionate relationship from the time when the monarch, then still Grand Duchess Catherine Alekseevna, was the wife of the heir to the throne.

Stanisław August was sent to St. Petersburg by his mother's brothers, who hoped to support Russia in overthrowing the elected King Augustus III of Saxony and establishing a Polish dynasty. In the Russian capital, Poniatowski became the secretary of the British ambassador Charles Hanbury Williams, who established contacts with the heir to the throne and his wife, and then introduced his subordinate to them. Poniatowski fell in love with Katarzyna, who reciprocated his feelings. He was reluctant to seduce her because he was shy, had no sexual experience with women, and feared severe punishment for his affair with the heir's wife. The feeling, however, turned out to be stronger.

Catherine II

When the woman invited him to her apartments, Stanisław August was so happy that - as he himself admitted - "just then he forgot that Siberia exists".

Their relationship began in December 1755, in 1757 Katarzyna gave birth to their common child-daughter Anna, who died several months later. The heir to the throne's husband knew about his wife's betrayal, but he was not jealous because he had a mistress himself. On his initiative, Poniatowski and Katarzyna often spent time with him and his misfortune. Although treason was the order of the day at the imperial court in Russia, this bizarre square outraged Empress Elizabeth, and in 1758 the monarch ordered the Pole to leave St. Petersburg.

After Katarzyna's accession to the throne, Stanisław August was under the illusion that his beloved would summon him to her place. The young empress, however, declared that their relationship was a thing of the past. She had other plans for him and led to the election of Poniatowski as king.

Old love and new love

After returning to Poland, the man continued to maintain friendly relations with his cousin Elżbieta Izabela Lubomirska. Over time, their intimacy developed into a romance. After Stanisław August's coronation, Elżbieta Izabela had free access to his apartments, and her husband treated the monarch quite coldly.

At the same time, Poniatowski had an affair with her sister-in-law - Izabela Czartoryska née Fleming . Upon learning of the betrayal, Lubomirska felt very hurt. And it's not because of a lover's infidelity! It's just that Elizabeth Izabela hated her sister-in-law and considered her ugly. Indeed, in the first years of her marriage, Izabela Czartoryska née Flemming, b. in 1736, the daughter of the great Lithuanian treasurer, she was bony and had smallpox marks on her face. But after the babies were born, she got round and more beautiful.

Izabela Czartoryska

The romance between Izabela and Stanisław August began in November 1765. Her husband tolerated the relationship and even personally drove his wife to the Royal Castle to meet the king. Well, before that, he checked whether his sister Elżbieta Izabela was not in the monarch's rooms, because the ladies couldn't stand each other. The fruit of this relationship was Maria Anna, whom Czartoryski considered her own child. The daughter of the Polish king married Frederick Ludwik of Württemberg, the nephew of the King of Prussia and brother of the Empress Maria Fyodorovna, née princess of Württemberg. This marriage failed and ended in divorce.

The Russian ambassador to Warsaw, Nikolai Riepnin, loved Izabela Czartoryska. To gain the favor of the Russian, Stanisław August ordered his mistress to respond to his advances. The son of Adam Jerzy Czartoryski, one of the most outstanding Polish politicians of the 19th century, was born from the union of Izabela and Riepnin.

Elżbieta Sapieżyna

Stanisław August had an affair with Elżbieta Sapieżyna. She was the daughter of the castellan of Bracławice, Piotr Branicki, considered to be the creator of the power of the Branicki family. Her older brother is the market leader, Franciszek Ksawery Branicki.

The relationship developed in the early 1860s. This means that Poniatowski was associated with Elżbieta Sapieżyna, Elżbieta Izabela Lubomirska and another ... Sapieżyna - Magdalena.

Elżbieta Sapieżyna

Elizabeth benefited greatly from this relationship, because the king set her a high monthly salary - 200,000. ducats. Her family could also count on Poniatowski's generosity. As Elżbieta loved politics and was an expert in it, Stanisław August invited her to participate in secret meetings. She was entrusted with delicate political missions. She also participated in the preparation of the sessions of the Seyms and sejmiks, where she was a frequent guest. But over time, major differences emerged between Elżbieta and Poniatowski, and in the early 1980s, the woman was at the head of the anti-royal opposition centered around Puławy.

Dear "Grabula"

Elżbieta Grabowska, née Szydłowska, daughter of Teodor Szydłowski, the Voivode of Płock, was the most common among royal lovers. First of all, she was not an educated and sophisticated person. In 1769, Elżbieta married the widower of Jan Jerzy Grabowski, general of the crown army. The couple had 4 children, but most likely their father was the king, because they were named after Stanisław August's siblings.

This romance began at the end of the 1860s and lasted until Poniatowski's death in 1798 in St. Petersburg. Grabowski turned a blind eye to his wife's cheating, for which he received financial awards and even medals. Stanisław August showered Elżbieta with jewels, he affectionately called her "Grabula" and ordered her to live in the Royal Castle.

Elżbieta Grabowska

Although Poniatowski was not faithful to her, he considered her the most important woman in his life. Grabowska was seen as the official misfortune of the monarch. The Duchess of Courland, who slept with the king during her stay in Warsaw, gave Elizabeth a string of beautiful pearls as a "compensation". Grabowska also received precious jewels from foreign diplomats - it was a payment for influencing Poniatowski.

Elizabeth turned out to be a woman for better and for worse. She did not leave the dethroned Stanisław August. First - with her joint sons - she lived with him at the castle in Grodno, then she followed the king to St. Petersburg.


  1. Fumaroli M., Poland and its last king Stanisław August Poniatowski. Warsaw, 2015
  2. Hen J., My friend the king:the story of Stanisław August. Warsaw, 2003
  3. Wasylewski St., Portraits of elegant ladies. Warsaw, 2011
  4. Wiernicka V., Secrets of Russian Tsars, Łódź, 2018