Thursday, June 18, 2009

Another girl for Alexandra

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June 18, 1901

The Empress of Russia gave birth to a fourth daughter today. The birth was announced "to the public by the firing of salutes and the hoisting of flags," according to the Chicago Daily Tribune. "Solemn thanksgiving services" were held at cathedrals and churches throughout St. Petersburg. Although "loyal Russians did not abate their customary rejoicings, there was general disappointment at the sex of the child."

Many expressed sympathy for the Emperor and Empress "because their prayers and hopes for a son were not fulfilled."

The birth of a fourth daughter will have a "direct bearing on the political history of Russia in the near future." Russia is an absolute monarchy, and the Emperor will "is supposed to be law." But he cannot change the succession, which was set in 1797 by Paul I. Under the Russian system, this law "is so inexorable that nothing but a civil war can change it."

The heir to the throne remains Nicholas II's younger brother, Grand Duke Michael, who is not married.

The new Grand Duchess has been given the name Anastasia. 

The three other daughters are Grand Duchess Olga, Grand Duchess Tatiana and Grand Duchess Maria.

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