The Iur'evskii arms were granted to Princess Ekaterina Mikhailovna Dolgorukaia by Imperial ukaz on 5/17 December 1880, following her morganatic marriage to Emperor Alexander II at St. Petersburg on 6/18 July that year.
Alexander II was the eldest son of Nicholas I (1825-1855), who was nick-named the 'gendarme of Europe' from his autocratic attitudes. His son was more liberally minded and his reign is remembered for his wide-reaching reforms in the laws of the Empire, and for the abolition of serfdom. As a consequence he was known as 'The Liberator', but he was unable to control the rapidly changing attitudes among his anarchic. His reign ended when a terrorist threw a bomb at his carriage in St. Petersburg on 1/13 March 1881, on the spot where the newly restored Church on the Blood now stands, as he descended from his carriage to assist the Cossack injured in the blast of the first bomb thrown seconds earlier.
Married from 1841 to Princess Maria of Hesse-Rhine in 1841, who bore him eight children, the Emperor began a passionate affair with the young Princess Ekaterina Dolgorukaia in 1866. Her family sent her to Italy, but she was reunited with the Tsar in Paris, which he was visiting at the invitation of Napoleon III and to see the International Exhibition. Their relationship resulted in the birth of a son Georgii (1872-1913), and two daughters, Ol'ga (1873-1925) and Ekaterina (1878-1959). Forty days after the death of the Empress in 1880, the Tsar married the Princess morganatically granting her the title of 'Princess Iur'evskaia.' He died before he could elevate her to the rank of Empress.