In May 1894 Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine, engaged to the Tsarevich Nicholas, visited Harrogate spa in England. She stayed at Cathcart House hotel on West Park, in the town. The owner's wife, Mrs. Allen, had just given birth to twins, a boy and a girl. The future Tsarina saw this as a good omen and asked to stand as godparent to the babies. This was accepted, and Nicholas and Alix, plus Hesse, were added to the names already chosen by the Allens, and the Princess attended their christenings.
This presentation set was presumably sent as a first birthday gift to Nicholas Allen; an almost identical enameled set by Grachev was sent to his sister and was acquired with family scrapbooks by Harrogate Museum in March, 2017. The Tsarina stayed in touch with the family, sending Nicholas cufflinks in 1910 for his confirmation and an engraved gold cross in 1915 for his coming-of-age (also Harrogate Museum inv. 6589).
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