This early 1900 illustration shows Peter (center) of Russia at the arranged meeting with Catherine, German born Princess Sophie of Anhalt Zerbst. Catherine is to the far left and was 15 years old at the time. The year was 1744, and the two would marry the following year. In 1762, Peter ascended to the throne of Russia but that same year was forced to abdicate, and Catherine became Catherine the Great or Catherine II, empress of Russia, until her death in 1796. With the two in this illustration are members of the court.