It started out like the fairytale of Cinderella: an unknown German princess marries the Russian heir to the throne. But the fairytale ended for the young woman on the night of the wedding. Her husband Peter preferred to drink than to spend the night with his beautiful bride. Catherine is said to have had numerous affairs and been sexually insatiable. But she was not a woman who allowed herself to be controlled by men. She was clever, well-read, politically astute and she took advantage of every opportunity offered her.