25th May 1913 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY: In Marylebone, London, England – Donald Duart Maclean, son of Sir Donald Maclean (MP) and member of the “Cambridge Five” who spied for the Soviet Union during and after WW2. Defected to the USSR on his 38th birthday (25th May 1951) when public knowledge of his treachery had become inevitable. Died in Moscow in 1983.

World Affairs: In Vienna, Colonel Alfred Redl, Director of Intelligence for the Austro-Hungarian army, commits suicide after it is discovered that he has been passing secrets to the Russian Empire for the last eleven years.

Society and Culture: In the Kremlin, Moscow – the Romanov family host the first of two lavish banquets to celebrate the tercentenary of the Romanov dynasty in Russia. 700 guests are entertained by a dinner toast accompanied by cannon fire; an ornate and inscribed menu card; and an after dinner performance of the Bolshoy theatre.

The menu card includes a three-person group symbolising the prosperity of Russia and the support of the Czar by all classes of the society . A boyar (nobleman in pre-1700 Russia) is holding a scroll with inscription TRUTH and GRACE. The shield of an ancient warrior is inscribed FOR CZAR AND FATHERLAND and a boy in medieval dress is pouring fruits from a Horn of Plenty. At the sides it reads ABUNDANCE OF FRUITS OF THE LAND.

In four years time the Romanovs will be swept away by the Russian Revolutions of 1917.