TODAY: Births: Edward, the Black Prince, 1330; George Heriot, jeweller and goldsmith, 1563; Nicolas Poussin, painter, 1594; Charles de Lafosse, historical painter, 1636; Edvard Grieg, composer, 1843; Charles Wood, musician and scholar, 1866; Harry Langdon, silent film comedian, 1884; James Norval Harald Robertson-Justice, film actor, 1905. Deaths: Robert I, King of the Franks, killed in battle, 923; Wat Tyler, rebel, beheaded at Smithfield, 1381; Ary Scheffer, painter, 1858; Mihail Eminescu, poet, 1889; Charles Francis Bush, inventor of the arc lamp, 1929; Evelyn Underhill, poet and writer, 1941; Wendell Meredith Stanley, biochemist, 1971. On this day: the Magna Carta was sealed by King John at Runnymede, near Windsor, 1215; the Turks were victorious over the Serbs at Kossovo, Serbia, 1389; during the rebellion against Mary of Scotland, her forces were defeated at the Battle of Carberry Hill, 1567; Harrow School was founded, 1571; Commodore Anson arrived at Spithead in his ship Centurion after circumnavigating the world, 1744; using a kite during a thunderstorm, Benjamin Franklin experimented with electricity, 1752; the first stone of the new London Bridge was laid by the Duke of York, 1825; in the United States, Charles Goodyear patented a vulanised rubber process, 1844; the Stamp Duty on newspapers in Britain was abolished, 1855; a massacre of Christians took place at Jedda, 1858; the Englishman Carlisle D. Graham went over Niagara Falls (for the second time) in a seven-foot barrel, and survived, 1887; Prince Peter Karageorgevich was elected king by the Serbian Assembly, 1903; the first non-stop transatlantic flight was completed by Alcock and Brown, 1919; Dame Nellie Melba made a public broadcast from the Marconi works at Chelmsford, Essex, 1920; the British army launched Operation Battleaxe offensive in the Western Desert, but was repulsed by Rommel, 1941; the Lake District, England was made into a National Park, 1951; Georges Pompidou became President of France, 1969; the first general election in Spain for more than 40 years resulted in a victory for the Democratic Centre party, 1977; Maj-Gen Jeremy Moore accepted the surrender of all Argentine forces on East and West Falkland, 1982. Today is the Feast Day of St Adelaide or Aleydis, St Dulas, St Edburga of Winchester, St Germana Cousin, St Hesychius of Durostorum, St Landelinus, St Orsisius and St Vitus. Today is the Official Birthday of the Queen.

TOMORROW: Births: Sir John Cheke, classical scholar, 1514; Giovanni Paolo Colonna, composer, 1637; Henrietta Stuart, Duchess of Orleans, 1644; John Linnell, painter, 1792; Julius Plucker, mathematician and scientist, 1801; William Shakespeare, tenor and composer, 1849; Stan Laurel (Arthur Stanley Jefferson), film comedian, 1890; Lupino Lane (Henry Lupino), singer and entertainer, 1892. Deaths: John Churchill, First Duke of Marlborough, 1722; Charles Sturt, explorer of Australia, 1869; Crawford Williamson Long, surgeon who pioneered the use of ether, 1878; Margaret Grace Bondfield, trade union leader and first woman cabinet minister, 1953; Imre Nagy, Hungarian prime minister, executed 1958; Harold Rupert Leofric George, First Earl Alexander of Tunis, Field Marshal, 1969; Sir John Charles Walsham Reith, First Baron Reith of Stonehaven, first Director-General of the BBC, 1971; Wernher von Braun, rocket engineer, 1977. On this day: the siege of Gibraltar began with Spanish and French attacks on the rock, 1779; the Prince of Orange defeated Napoleon's army under Marshal Ney at the Battle of Quatre Bras, 1815; the London Working Men's Association was founded, 1836; in the United States, Henry Ford founded his motor company, and became its first president, 1903; the Automobile Association was founded, 1905; the first public meeting of the League of Nations council was held in London, 1920; mixed bathing in the Serpentine in Hyde Park, London, was first permitted, 1930; Winston Churchill offered France indissoluble union with Britain, 1940; Marshal Petain took over the French government and asked Germany for an armistice, 1940; a Cathay Pacific Airways Catalina flying-boat was the first aircraft to be hijacked (by Chinese bandits), 1948; the first woman astronaut, Valentina Tereshkova, blasted off in Vostok 6, 1963; burglars were arrested at the Democratic Party headquarters, Watergate Building, Washington, DC, US, 1972. Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Aurelian, St Benno of Meissen, Saints Cyr and Julitta, Saints Ferreolus and Ferrutio, St Lutgard and St Tychon of Amathus.

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