Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Heir to Russian throne celebrates 1st birthday

August 12, 1905

The heir apparent to the Russian throne, Grand Duke Alexis Nicolaivich, celebrates his first birthday today. His birthday was "celebrated in a festive manner" throughout Russia, according to the Chicago Daily Tribune.
"Great preparations" have been made at Peterhof in "anticipation of the joyous event." Hundreds of presents were bought, but almost every member of the Imperial family "fashioned some sort of toy with his or her own hands" for Nicholas II's son.
Alexis' eldest sister, Grand Duchess Olga "made a wonderful clay model of Peterhof Palace," and Grand Duchess Tatiana's present to her little brother was a "little clay nest in which a hen sits on four eggs, all daintily colored by herself."
Alexis' uncle, Grand Duke Michael "supervised the construction" of a toy train set that runs like clockwork on a switchboard line.
Nicholas II's present to his son is a "dreadful looking wooden snake," that he spent several nights making. The toy was completed before the Czar left Peterhof to meet with the German Kaiser. The snake, which can move in several directions, has been painted with edible paint.
Grand Duke Alexis has lost the appearance of delicacy, and has "grown into a fat and chubby boy." He has grown taller and weighs more than the average child. Empress Alexandra still "finds time to spend many hours in daily worship at the shrine of her little prince." She is said to be delighted that her son is very much like his father, although Alexis's hair is fairer and his eyes darker."
Nicholas II has said of his son: " I wish my child to become a very clever man and to waste no time on useless 'baby language.'"
Grand Duke Alexis is the fifth child of Nicholas II and Alexandra. He has four older sisters: Olga, Tatiana, Marie and Anastasia.

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