Countess Zina Mengden (or Zinaida) lady in waiting to the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, Nicholas’ mother.
Zinaida Mengden was born the youngest among other five brothers and sisters in St. Petersburg. Her father was general-major in Alexander II’s suite. Her sister Evgenia was 19 years older than Zinaida. The family was in close contact with the Imperial house, judging by the fact that Tsar Alexander II and Maria Feodorovna, who at that time was crown princess, became Zinaida’s godfather and godmother. In 1904 Zinaida received a title “Dame d’honneur de la Ville” (honored lady of the town). The title had already been awarded to her elder sister serving Maria Feodorovna.
Being “honored lady of the town” meant being at Alexandra Feodorovna’s or Maria Feodorovna’s disposal at some special occasions. During important ceremonies or celebrations, when the Empress was to be accompanied, the honored ladies followed Her Majesty.
Zinaida’s first service was at little Tsarevich Alexey’s christening, Nikolay II’s son. It happened in Peterhof, where the Empress selected a court lady from honored ladies of the town. In 1912 Zinaida Mengden was awarded this title.
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