On October 7, 1776, the wedding of Russian Tsar Paul to German Princess Sophia Maria Dorothea of Württemberg took place. At that time, the Russian Empire was ruled by the famous Empress Catherine II. Velika, to whom Tsarevich Pavao was the son and heir. Empress Catherine was delighted that Princess Sophia would become her daughter-in-law, because the two of them had much in common. Namely, Catherine II. Great was also a German princess by birth, and they shared a similar education and culture.
Carević Pavao and his wife, now with the title of Grand Duchess, toured Europe during 1781 and 1782. They traveled incognito as Count and Countess of the North, which allowed them to evade official protocol. Namely, the protocol on the income of imperial and royal persons in foreign countries often required ceremonial obligations that were time-consuming and required considerable effort.
Paul and his wife incognito toured, among others, Poland, Austria, Italy, France, the Netherlands, and Germany. In Austria, they met Emperor Joseph II, who described Sofia as superior to his husband.