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Births: Charlemagne (Charles I, Carolus Magnus) King of the Franks and Emperor of the West, 742; Maria Sibylla Merian (Graff), painter and engraver, 1647; Hans Christian Andersen, author, 1805; William Holman Hunt, Pre-Raphaelite painter, 1827; Leon Gambetta, statesman, 1838; Emile-Edouard Charles-Antoine Zola, novelist, 1840; Sir Neville Cardus, cricket and music writer, 1889; Jack Buchanan, actor and singer, 1891; Max Ernst, Surrealist painter and sculptor, 1891; Serge Lifar, choreographer, 1905.

Deaths: Gerard Edelinck, engraver, 1707; Honore-Gabriel Riquetti, Comte de Mirabeau, politician and writer, 1791; Richard Cobden, politician, 1865 Samuel Finley Breese Morse, inventor, 1872; Vibhaji Ranjitsinghi, Maharaja of Nawanagar, cricketer, 1933; Jean Epstein, film director, 1953; Cecil Scott Forester, novelist, 1966; Georges-Jean Raymond Pompidou, President of France, 1974.

On this day: the Royal Society was granted its Charter, 1663; the Mint of the United States was established, 1792; the first parliament of Italy met at Turin, 1860; the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race was first broadcast, 1927; Sir Edward German's operetta Merrie England was first performed, London 1902; Sandhurst and Woolwich were combined to form the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, 1946; the United Nations Security Council voted to place former Japanese- held Pacific Islands under United States trusteeship, 1947; Nato Allied Command, Europe, was set up, 1951; Argentina invaded and captured the Falkland Islands, 1982.

Today is the Feast Day of Saints Apphian and Theodosia, St Francis of Paola, St John Payne, St Mary of Egypt, St Nicetius or Nizier of Lyons and St Zosimus.


Births: Philip III, King of France, 1245; Henry IV, King of England, 1367; The Rev George Herbert, clergyman and poet, 1593; John Abernethy, surgeon, 1764; Washington Irving, essayist and historian, 1783; Edward Everett Hale, writer, 1822; James Barry Munnik Hertzog, statesman, 1866; Joseph Aloysius (Allan) Dwan, film director, 1885; Dooley (Arthur) Wilson, singer, 1894; Henry Robinson Luce, publisher and founder, Time and Fortune magazines, 1898; Hugh Burden, actor, 1913.

Deaths: Pope Honorius IV, 1287; Bartolome Esteban Murillo, painter, 1682; Sir John Friend and Sir William Parkyns, executed for attempting to assassinate King William III 1696; Jean Adam, poet, 1765; Bishop Reginald Heber, hymn-writer, 1826; John Wilson ('Christopher North'), author and philosopher, 1854; Sir James Clark Ross, explorer, 1862; Franz Berwald, composer, 1868; Jesse Woodson James, outlaw, shot in the back 1882; Johannes Brahms, pianist and composer, 1897; Richard D'Oyly Carte, operatic impresario, 1901; Jean de Reszke (Jan Mieczyslaw), singer, 1925; Madame Albani (Marie-Louise Lejeunesse), singer, 1930; Bruno Richard Hauptmann, executed by electrocution for the murder of the Lindbergh baby 1936; Kurt Julian Weill, composer, 1950; Ferde Grofe (Ferdinand Rudolf von Grofe), composer, 1972; Ray (Stanley Raymond) Noble, bandleader and composer, 1978; Henry Graham Greene, novelist, 1991.

On this day: the Peace of Cateau- Cambresis, ending Habsburg-

Valois wars, was signed, 1559; the first Pony Express began at St Joseph, Missouri, across the United States to Sacramento, California, 1860; Mrs Emily Pankhurst was sentenced to three years' penal servitude for inciting others to place explosives at the house of David Lloyd George, 1913; Haile Selassie (Ras Tafari) was proclaimed Emperor of Ethiopia, 1930; the first London performance of the musical show Rio Rita was staged, 1930; the German Afrika Korps captured Benghazi in Libya, 1941; the Arab nations concluded an armistice with Israel, 1949; in Korea, a Japanese Boeing 727 was hijacked by nine Japanese and flown to Pyongyang, 1970; after two false starts, the Grand National was declared void, 1993.

Tomorrow is Easter Day and the Feast Day of Saints Agape, Chionia, and Irene, St Burgundofara or Fare, St Nicetas, St Pancras of Taormina, St Richard of Chichester and St Sixtus I, pope.