From History House

It was discovered that all Peter did at night in bed with Catherine was play with wooden soldiers, miniature cannons and toy fortresses. Peter would make little cannon-firing noises with his mouth and shout orders to the inanimate armies on the bed, beg Catherine to join him, and hurriedly stash the playthings under the sheets whenever members of the court happened by to check on the odd assortment of noises emanating from behind their chamber door. “Often I laughed,” Catherine wrote, “but more often still I was exasperated and even made uncomfortable. The whole bed being covered and filled with dolls and toys, some of them quite heavy.” The Great Duke took his toy soldiering very seriously. Later in their marriage, Peter executed a large rat in their bedroom for devouring two toy soldiers made of starch. Peter claimed that the rat was clearly guilty according to military law, and that, after one of his dogs broke its back, he had hanged it in public view “for three days, as an example.” Catherine, thinking he was joking, burst into hysterics. Peter’s face darkened. He was twenty-five


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