Life: 1709 to 1761 (there is some confusion here relating to different calendars, so you might see it listed as 1762 elsewhere)
Reign: 1741 to 1761
Memorable Moment: As empress, Elizabeth held a ball every Tuesday night. All very standard, you might think, but the catch was the men had to dress like women and the women had to dress like the men.
Extremely Brief Summary: Elizabeth seized power in a bloodless coup that she seems to have done only reluctantly. She abolished capital punishment. She loved parties, dresses, and horses, and her main legacy to her country was putting Catherine in position to become the fifth female ruler of Russia in under a century.
Selected Sources and Images:
Elizabeth has had several biographies, but as far as I can tell they are all out of print. Fortunately, there is quite a bit of information on her in Robert K. Massie’s entertaining biography Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman.
Image by Ivan Argunov Louis Tocqué
Elizabeth, showing off her shapely legs in trousers, as she often preferred to do.
Image by Georg Cristoph Grooth