Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Alexis celebrates his first birthday

The heir to the Russian throne, Grand Duke Alexis Nicolaievitch (the Tsarevitch) celebrates his first birthday today (August 12, 1905). His birthday was celebrated in a "festive manner throughout Russia." Alexis is described as a "chubby, strong boy," and no longer a delicate infant. He is said to be "much taller and weighing considerably more than the average child his age."
Alexis received more than 100 presents, many of which were handmade by family members. His eldest sister, Olga, fastened a "wonderful clay model of Peterhof," while Grand Duchess Maria made a clay bird's nest with a hen sitting on four eggs. Uncle Michael - Grand Duke Michael - gave his nephew a train set, "which runs like clockwork on a sort of switchboard line."
Nicholas II has decided that baby talk will not be used. "I wish my child to become a clever man and to waste no time on 'useless baby language.'" One court doctor notes that the little grand duke can already "lisp several proper 'grown up' Russian words."
In 1905, the Russian Imperial Family was certainly able to present a rosy picture of the heir to the throne. The last thing that Nicholas and Alexandra wanted was the public to know about Alexis' true health.

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