Ivan VI was the son of the niece of Empress Anna Ivanovna of Mecklenburg and Anton Ulrich, Duke of Braunschweig. He was born on August 12, 1740, and officially declared heir to the throne by Anna Ivanovna on October 5. After her death, he became Emperor of Russia at the age of two months. Count Biron, favorite of the late Empress, remained Regent. However, on November 9, Biron was arrested and sent to Siberia. The child Emperor's mother was declared Regent.

The reign of Ivan VI and Anna Leopoldovna was extremely short. On November 25, 1741, the Emperor was overthrown by the Imperial Guard led by Elizaveta Petrovna, daughter of Peter the Great. The child and his family were exiled first to Riga, then to Rannenborg Castle and finally in 1744 to Kholmogory where, on March 7, 1746, Anna Leopoldovna died. At the beginning of 1756, Ivan Antonovich was taken to the Schlisselborg Fortress, where he was kept in extreme secrecy and under strict guard. On the night of July 5, 1764, the 24-year-old Ivan was killed by his guards when his lieutenant, V.I. Mirovich, attempted to free him. He was secretly buried in a hidden place near the walls of the fortress. The grave was later destroyed.

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