The Great continues this evening with the third installment of the comedy-drama series, starring Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult as Catherine II and Peter III of Russia. Unlike Netflix’s The Crown, the Channel 4 drama has faced no allegations of fabricating history as viewers are urged to embrace the “occasionally true story”. Nevertheless, viewers may be keen to know that Leo ‒ a character Catherine is encouraged to have an affair with by Peter in the show ‒ is fictitious.
Catherine organised a coup d'état to overthrow her husband Peter III, and took control of the Russian Empire in 1762.
The country's longest-ruling female leader, she exerted full control until her death in 1796.
In The Great, Elle Fanning’s Catherine romanticises everything from her role at court to losing her virginity.
But she soon becomes disillusioned and her infamous promiscuity is visible for all to see.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
The Great 'occasionally true’ but Russia’s Catherine never had affair with Leo (Image: GETTY/CHANNEL 4/HULU)
The Great: Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult star in the drama (Image: CHANNEL 4/HULU)
However, in the drama, she is encouraged to have an affair with a man called Leo ‒ played by Sebastian de Souza.
He is chosen by her husband Peter but, in reality, Catherine was known to have had several affairs and Leo is merely a character standing in as a symbol for numerous men.
Her most significant lover was Grigory Orlov, who in the series is shown to be a close friend of Peter’s.
This, again, is not true as it was Orlov who aided Catherine in her coup against her husband, ultimately installing her as Empress of Russia, and aiding her rule for many years until he fell from favour.
Stories about Catherine’s affairs are nothing new, though, with everything from nymphomania to bestiality featured in discussions.
READ MORE: The Great star Elle Fanning says cast ‘were dying’ in racy sex scene
Catherine the Great (Image: GETTY)