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Births: Nostradamus (Michel de Nostredame) astrologer and prophet, 1503; Tycho Brahe, astronomer and mathematician, 1546; Henry IV of Navarre, King of France, 1553; James Bruce, explorer of Africa, 1730; The Rev Charles Wolfe, poet, 1791; Roger Eliot Fry, painter and critic, 1866; George VI, King, 1895; Paul Eluard (Eugene Grindel), poet, 1895; Kurt von Schuschnigg, Austrian chancellor, 1897; Shirley Jackson, writer, 1919.

Deaths: James V, King of Scotland, 1542; Henry Aldrich, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, composer and architect, 1710; Thomas Tenison, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1715; Charles III, King of Spain, 1788; Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, composer, 1788; George Washington, first US president, 1799; George Hamilton Gordon, fourth Earl of Aberdeen, statesman, 1860; Albert, Prince Consort, 1861; George Hudson, the "railway king", 1871; Sir Oswald Walters Brierly, marine painter, 1894; Sidonio Bernardino Cardosa da Silva Paes, president of Portugal, assassinated 1918; Stanley, first Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, statesman, 1947; Juno Kusti Paasikivi, statesman, 1956; Sir Stanley Spencer, painter, 1959; Walter Lippmann, journalist, 1974; Andrei Dimitrievich Sakharov, scientist, 1989; Myrna Loy (Katerina Myrna Williams), actress, 1993.

On this day: Mary acceded to the Scottish throne, 1542; the first section of the London and Greenwich railway opened, 1836; Max Planck put forward his quantum theory, 1901; Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole, 1911; Crete was formally annexed to Greece, 1913; Constance, Countess Markievicz, Sinn Fein, became the first woman to be elected to the British Parliament, although she did not take her seat, 1914; women in Britain voted for the first time at the General Election, 1918.

Today is the Feast Day of Saints Fingar or Gwinnear and Phiala, St John of the Cross, St Nicasius of Rheims, St Spiridion and St Venantius Fortunatus.