Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It's a Boy -- Russia celebrates birth of an heir

August 12, 1904. Her Imperial Majesty Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia gave birth today. The birth took place at the Alexandria Villa, which is located on the Peterhof estate.
The baby, who has been given the name Alexis, was born at 12:30 p.m. He will have the title Tsarevitch. A 101-gun salute was fired first from Peterhof, and then throughout St. Petersburg. After the 82nd gun was fired, there "were scenes of rejoicing," as the city celebrated the birth of a direct heir to the Russian throne. Women can succeed in Russia, but only after all the males. The Emperor and Empress have four daughters, the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia.
In response to the Russian court's congratulation. Nicholas said: "I am happier at the birth of a son and heir than at a victory of my troops, for now I can face the future calmly, knowing by this sign that the war will be brought to a happy conclusion."
Not long after Alexis' birth, the family learned that the much wanted heir to the throne suffered from hemophilia, a disease that he inherited through his mother. Empress Alexandra was a carrier of the the gene that caused the disease. Her brother, Friedrich Wilhelm, suffered from the disease, and died from injuries after all falling from a window. Alexandra's older sister, Irene, the wife of Prince Heinrich of Prussia, was also a carrier. Two of her three sons were hemophiliacs.

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