A round-up of stories about (mostly) royal infants to celebrate the happy advent of young Prince George.
DID CZARINA HAVE A SON?
Revolutionists Say Peasant Child Was Put in Royal Cradle.
Paris, Aug. 19. Russian revolutionists here declare positively that the Empress of Russia really gave birth to a female child, for whom another birth, a male child, was substituted—a peasant woman’s baby.
The Nihilists say that the internal condition of Russia is such that had the people been disappointed again in their hope of the birth of a czarevitch, a revolt would have been imminent.
Improbable as this story appears, it must be remembers that the revolutionists have extraordinary underground means of intercommunication all over Europe. No one can doubt that men who are revolutionists at heart have access to the innermost recesses of the czar’s palaces. Plain Dealer [Cleveland, OH] 20 August 1904: p. 2 [An ingenious conspiracy theory, such as we have seen in the case of the Princess Royal of England, but knocked firmly on the head by what we now know about the czarevitch’s hereditary medical condition.]
ROYAL BABY’S PROGRESS
The Czarina is determined that nothing regarding her son’s birth and progress shall be forgotten. In one album articles are collected from all the papers of the world, congratulating Russia upon having an heir, while in another are kept interesting newspaper clippings relating to the child’s life.
One of her majesty’s secretaries is always engaged in studying new literature on the subject of baby-rearing published in every part of the world.
Most of these books come from America, Germany, England, and France. A summary is prepared of any new theory of dieting or treatment, and these the empress reads, making notes in her own handwriting of any point which interests her. The Minneapolis [MN] Journal 15 July 1905: p. 2
What Happens in Berlin When the Crown Prince’s Baby Goes Out of Doors
At the guard-houses there is considerable fuss made whenever any royalty passes that way. It is the duty and the only duty, of the sentry on guard to keep his eye open for royalty. When he sees it—and he seems to have a remarkably long range of vision—he yells at the top of his by no means musical voice. The rest of the guard drop their cards and pipes, rush precipitately out, fall in, and present arms with drums beating. This sort of thing is gone through with every time any royalty passes. Even the infant children of the Crown Prince receive the same homage. There is something strange in seeing a lot of grown men present arms to a year-old infant. But they do it every time the nurse of the Crown Prince’s family takes the children out for an airing. But this “isn’t a circumstance,” as Chicago says, to what, according to the story of one of the American colony, happened here once. The nurse had a little child of the Crown Prince out for a walk, and happened to pass one of the guard-houses. The sentry on duty yelled, the guard turned out and present arms, while the drums beat. Just as the nurse and child got in front of the line of soldiers, the child espied a heap of nice, clean sand suitable for the manufacture of mud-pies. The instinct of the child got the better of its training; it broke away from its nurse and began to play in the sand. The nurse protested, entreated, begged—but it was of no use. That child was bound to indulge in a little plebeian amusement. It had its own way, and played in the sand until it had satisfied its royal mind, and all this time the guard stood at “present arms,” while the drummer nearly wore his drumhead out. Cincinnati [OH] Enquirer 27 May 1882: p. 9
Baby Thrown Out Found Later to Have $10,000 Pinned to Clothing
A smart motor car with a young man and a pretty woman in it rove up to a tiny fishing village on the Brittany coast this week and stopped at a road mender’s cottage, which was empty for the time being. The young man sprang out with a large bundle, left it in the house, jumped in to the car again and drove off rapidly in the direction of Brest. The road mender’s wife, on reaching home opened the bundle and found therein a healthy baby about eight days old. Having babies enough of her own, she put the unwelcome infant out of doors and calmly left it there. A peasant woman passing by, hearing the child cry took pity on it and carried it to her home. Undressing the baby, she found $10,000 in bank notes pinned to its clothes, but not the slightest indication as to its identity. She is going to be a devoted second moth to the child, while the road mender’s wife bitterly repents her uncharitableness. Mexico Missouri Message 7 December 1905: p. 7
PREPARING FOR A ROYAL BABY
Dutch Women and Princess Awaiting an Interesting Event.
A probable interesting event in the household of young Queen Wilhelmina draws the polite attention of all Holland and all Europe, says the Paris Messenger.
Every woman in Holland looks toward the coming event with as much interests as if it were going to happen in the house of her own sister or daughter.
As is usual in such cases, there is a universal desire that the new baby should be a boy. Some of the Queen’s relatives urged that she should consult the celebrated Dr. Schenk of Vienna, who tried with so little success to secure a son to the Czarina of Russia, but Queen Wilhelmina showed the wise conservatism for which the Dutch are justly celebrated, and trusts to her luck.
Most of the queens and princesses of Europe are at this moment engaged in preparing some article for the layette. In nearly every case they are decorating their gifts with blue ribbon that being the color appropriate for a boy.
Even busier than the queens and princesses are the good wives, or vrouws, of Holland. Such a stitching of little dresses, nightgowns, pillow cases, coverlets, and so on was never before heard of in the history of that exceptionally industrious country. The leading women of every city in Holland are going to contribute some article to the layette. The women of Amsterdam, for instance, will present a Dutch baby’s linen cap, with the big ear-pieces sticking straight out at the sides. This will be encrusted with pearls and diamonds. Around it will run a tiny strip of blue ribbon to indicate that the wearer will be a king and not a mere princess. [Unlike its “mere” mother, the Queen.]
One of the most interesting presents is the cushion which the wives of the cabinet ministers are preparing. Immediately after its birth the baby will be placed on this cushion and the cushion on a silver salver, will then be offered for inspection to the cabinet ministers, who will certify to its sex and that it is a genuine member of the royal family.
A beautiful christening robe is to be the present of the women of The Hague, where the royal wedding took place. This will be of white silk, figured and trimmed with eiderdown. It will have diamond buttons. [One hopes those buttons were sewed on firmly given the infant propensity for ingesting anything attached to their person.]
A magnificent cradle of beaten silver will be the gift of the ladies of the Dutch nobility. A life-sized angel hovers over the head of the cradle, while at the foot is an equally life-sized baby. The sides are decorated with the arms of Holland and Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Philadelphia [PA] Inquirer 13 October 1901: p. 8
A Royal Baby Carriage
Princess Juliana of Holland has joined the ranks of the caravanners. A marvelous construction—should it be called a “carambulator” or a “car spram” has been devised for the little Dutch princess wherein, when the weather is cold and the sun shines only in certain parts of the Het Loo, she can be conveyed from the palace to the sunshine.
It is, as a matter of fact, a giant covered perambulator containing a stove and seats for nurses, besides the bassinette for the royal baby; and it is, of course, drawn by a horse. If she were an English princess she would at once be nominated patroness of the Caravan Club.
The Queen of Holland herself is said to have invented this new baby carriage for her daughter. It is not the first time she has displayed ingenuity of an inventive character. Tensas Gazette [St. Joseph, LA] 8 July 1910: p. 6
Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: The Crown Prince’s baby in the anecdote above was Friedrich Wilhelm Victor Augustus Ernest , the eldest son of Wilhelm II, the last German Emperor. Just as the Kaiser disliked his mother, young Wilhelm was constantly at odds with his father: over the young man’s many entanglements with women, over his marriage, over the conduct of (or the necessity for) the Great War, and over post-war politics. The Kaiser was an overbearing tyrant, but perhaps if the nurse had done less entreating and the child had not had his way so often, things might have turned out differently.