Catharine of Russia

A sutler. When Czar Peter wished to marry her, it was needful to make her of noble birth; so a private person was first converted into her brother, and then into a great lord by birth. Hence Catharine, being the sister of a “great lord,” was made fit to be the wife of the Czar. (De Cusine Russia, chap. iv.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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