67. Not too gloomy
“She is fat, swarthy, and her face is more masculine than a woman's face. In handling, she is pleasant, affectionate and extremely attentive. Generous to wastefulness, loves splendor to excessiveness... She does not forget the services rendered to her; but at the same time remembers well the insults inflicted on her.”
1717. Two weddings and a funeral
Duke of Liria about Anne Ioanovna
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Островский «Женитьба Бальзаминова» 
“Princess Praskovya, the third sister of the queen of Sweden, is distinguished by her abilities, very bad face and thin, weak health. Praskovya is stupid and has the penchant for men.”
Duke of Liria
The first wedding
It was not that the two remaining nieces had been a big burden for Peter but now when the elder daughter of his late brother was a wife of the King of Sweden and mother of the heir to the Swedish throne, he found that it makes sense to start paying some attention to their fate, which meant finding a husband at least for Anne. The obvious candidate was the duke Karl Leopold of Mecklenburg-Schwerin:
1st, cynically speaking, he was completely dependent upon the good graces of both Peter and Charles because the imperial ban was still a Damocles’ sword hanging over his head.
2nd, he was a huge admirer of Charles and should be ecstatic to become his brother in law.
3rd, this marriage would be convenient to both Russia and Sweden providing Mecklenburg’s closer ties to the Baltic Mafia and potentially
preventing FWI (who also become its member but nonetheless) from getting …er… creative at Mecklenburg’s expense (Emperor Charles VI “permitted” him to participate in Mecklenburg’s occupation as a part of the imperial execution so there would be an official excuse).
Of course, neither uncle nor brother-in-law of the bride to be bothered to ask her and the Duke’s opinions on the subject. They were duly informed about the coming marriage, the happy groom was provided with a sum of money needed for the properly organized festivities and got a star of the St. Andrew, the bride got from her uncle the jewels, furs and other required trinkets together with a promise of annual pension and off she went. Charles and his wife also sent some appropriate gifts and congratulations.
Praskovya was considered something of a basket case and, anyway, there was no suitable groom among those in whom Charles and Peter could be interested: both new King of Denmark and the Prince of Gottorp were too young and for the King of Denmark marriage to the 3rd daughter of a late Tsar would be below his dignity. Well, alone she was not such a big burden.
The second marriage
As a result of the Russian - Ottoman War of 1707-09 Dimitrie Cantemir, voivode of Moldavia, immigrated to Russia with his family and retinue. Peter presented him with a considerable estates near Moscow and Oryol and he dedicated himself to the historic and literary works.
Cantemir was a polyglot known as one of the greatest linguists of his time, speaking and writing eleven languages. Well versed in Oriental scholarship, his oeuvre is voluminous, diverse, and original, although some of his scientific writings contain unconfirmed theories or simple inaccuracies. Between 1711 and 1719 he wrote his most important creations. In 1714, he was named a member of the Royal Academy of Berlin. Cantemir's best-known history work was his History of the Growth and Decay of the Ottoman Empire (the original title was in Latin, Historia incrementorum atque decrementorum Aulae Othomanicae ). This volume circulated throughout Europe in manuscript for a number of years. It was finally printed in 1734 in London and was later translated and printed in Germany and France. It remained the seminal work on the Ottoman Empire up to the middle of the 19th century; notably, it was used as a reference for Edward Gibbon's own Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. He also wrote an introduction to Islam for Europeans, a biography of Jan Baptist van Helmont, a philosophical treatise in Romanian and Greek, and an unfinished second treatise on the Undepictable Image of Sacred Science.
Of course, a person of such talent had been a welcomed addition to the Peter’s court and so was his daughter Maria.
Maria was taught ancient Greek, Latin, Italian, the basics of mathematics, astronomy, rhetoric, philosophy, she was fond of ancient and Western European literature and history, drawing, music. As a bonus, she was very good looking. It did not surprise anybody that Peter started paying attention to her since she was 16. What did come as a surprise was Peter’s decision to marry her when she was 17 years old. There was nothing wrong with his desire to marry and, pedigree-wise nothing could be said against her: after all, her father for a while was a ruler of a state and her mother was born Kantakuzin, in other words, belonged to the Byzantine imperial family, much more than one could say about the Romanovs. But an emperor 45 years old marrying 17 years old girl? She was 10 years younger than Peter’s son. Well, to think about it, this was not too unusual, especially in the royal marriages and it was extremely unhealthy to tell Peter what he can and can’t do. Of course, both Alexey and his wife considering addressing her as “mother” as being a little bit silly and prefer “Your Majesty” on the official ceremonies and the first name (in both directions) within a family circle.
The imperial court got a little bit of the “intellectual glamour” even if Peter himself had no plans for changing his habits.
This funeral was one of the most joyful occasions in people’s memory: Feodor Romodanovsky, a hated and feared head of the Probrazensky Prikaz and then Secret Chancellery, was finally dead.
“This prince was the character of the particular; an evil monster by his appearance; the temper of an evil tyrant; the great undesirer of good to anyone; drunk all day; but to His Majesty was faithful as no one else. <... > We will also mention his power, Romodanovsky, in what belongs to the search, treason, arguments, to whomever the quality and face of the female sex or man did not come, could take everyone on the wanted list, arrest, and search, and make the wanted list
.” Prince Kurakin about Romodanovsky
Unfortunately, the joy did not last for too long because his successor, Peter Tolstoy, while not such a straightforward butcher, was, in his own more polished way, at least as dangerous as his predecessor. Soon enough the written regulations regarding the actions amounting to the high treason were distributed not just to the officials but also the owners of the drinking establishments. The list was long and explicit to include everything from mistake in writing the imperial title and all the way to swearing in a “presence” of the imperial portrait (which must be placed in each “kabak”) and all the way to dropping a coin with monarch’s profile on a ground (face down - to besmirch, face up - with a purpose to step upon it), etc.
Pragmatic Sanction 
With a birth of his own daughter, Maria Theresa, Emperor Charles VI issued in 1715 a Pragmatic Sanction making her the heir of the Hapsburg possessions at the expense of the daughters of the late Joseph I. Since then he was busy looking for its approval. So far, most of the HRE estates got on board except for Saxony (Frederick August did not want to surrender claim of his wife (at least without a compensation; but so far he could not figure out what he wanted), Prussia (FWI did not refuse but was procrastinating waiting the imperial approval for the Prussian annexation of Saxe-Luneburg and acknowledgement of succession of East Frisia) and Bavaria heir of which was planning to marry to the younger daughter of Joseph I, Maria Amalia.
The first international agreement was signed with Spain. Spain could not accept the fact that Minorca and Gibraltar remained in the hands of the British, and it was greatly irritated by the English trade in the Spanish colonies. Austria was dissatisfied with the oppression caused by the British and Dutch, to founded by the Austrian Emperor the East India Company operating from Belgium.
The Austrian Emperor concluded three treaties with Spain in Vienna on April 19 (30) and 20 April (May 1), 1715 :
In the first of them, the emperor renounced all claims against Spain, and Spain renounced claims to Austrian possessions in Italy and the Netherlands, and also recognized the Pragmatic Sanction.
In the second, Austria and Spain concluded a defensive alliance, and the emperor undertook to use all his influence for England to return Gibraltar and Minorca to Spain.
The third treatise was a trade treaty in which Spain recognized the Austrian Ostend Company
and promised to treat the emperor's subjects in Spanish ports as the most favorable nation.
The Ostend Company (Dutch: Oostendse Compagnie, French: Compagnie d'Ostende), officially the General Company Established in the Austrian Netherlands for Commerce and Navigation in the Indies (Compagnie générale établie dans les Pays-Bas Autrichiens pour le Commerce et la Navigation aux Indes)[a] was a chartered trading company in the Austrian Netherlands (modern-day Belgium) in the Holy Roman Empire which was established in 1715 to trade with the East and West Indies. It took its name from the Flemish port city of Ostend. For a few years it provided strong competition for the more established British, Dutch and French East India Companies, notably in the lucrative tea trade with China. It established two settlements in India. Despite its profitability, the company was eventually ordered to close down in 1721 after the British government exerted diplomatic pressure on Austria, fearing the company's effects on their own traders. Its disestablishment was made a precondition for the Treaty of Vienna (1721) and for creating an alliance between the two states. The trade from Ostend to Mocha, India, Bengal and China started in 1715. Some private merchants from Antwerp, Ghent and Ostend were granted charters for the East India trade by the Habsburg government of the Austrian Netherlands, which had recently gained control of the territory from Spain. Between 1715 and 1721, 34 ships sailed from Ostend to China, the Malabar or Coromandel Coasts, Surat, Bengal or Mocha. During the years of its existence the Ostend Company transported 7 million pounds of tea from China (roughly half of the total amount brought to western Europe), which would be about the same as East India Company during the same period.
At some point Prince Eugene recommended Charles VI to spend money on building up the Austrian army instead of wasting them on the bribes but he was not listened to. For a short while “Osterman’s Memorandum”, leaked to the Austrian Ambassador before Peter learned ablut it, produced a hope that the Hapsburg diplomacy found a convenient sucker ready to secure the Baltic region for the imperial interests and, if need arises, to provide a military help just for food (looked like these Russians had been quite desperate…) but excitement did not last long: Golovkin and Osterman had been removed from the diplomatic arena and a new head of the Russian diplomacy, Prince Dolgoruki, while being quite charming to the Austrian ambassador, refused to discuss any type of an alliance, especially the military one. Conditions for acceptance of the Pragmatic Sanction remained the same: acknowledgement of Peter’s imperial title, revocation of the imperial execution on Mecklenburg, arrangement the issues with Prussia to the Prussian satisfaction, recognition of the princely title for the duke of Schleswig-Holstein and no interference into the issue of PLC succession. If the Emperor Charles VI does not want to, it is not a big deal because his approval or agreement is not really needed on any of the issues. Russia does not have any common interests with the Hapsburgs and no unsettled issues within the HRE (and if somebody wants to try to touch Mecklenburg …. well, who this suicidal maniac would be?) and is quite happy with the status quo so if the Emperor wants something, he must provide something of value to Russia.
With Charles VI being rather stubborn regarding uniqueness of his imperial dignity, the whole issue was not getting anywhere 
 "- She is so fat... - Nobody asked your opinion!” Ostrovsky “Balzaminov’s marriage”
 With everything being ahead of the schedule, so is the birth of Maria-Theresa (so far nobody noticed
): instead of 1717 she is being born in 1713. The same goes for the marriage of Maria Josepha: by 1715 she is already married to Friedrich August of Saxony (in OTL - in 1719). Her younger sister, Maria Amalia, will get married on schedule.
 In OTL in 1725
 In OTL happened only in 1742. In other words, Osterman did nothing in that regard and it took WoAS to get recognition of the title.