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Births: Pope Gregory XIII, 1502; James Harrington, political theorist, 1611; Joseph Buonaparte, King of Naples, 1768; Millard Fillmore, 13th US President, 1800; Robert Nicoll, poet, 1814; Titus Charles Constantin, conductor, 1835; St Bernadette of Lourdes (Marie-Bernarde Soubirous), 1844; Carl Laemmle, film producer, founder of Universal Pictures, 1867; Charles-Pierre Peguy, poet and socialist, 1873; Adolph Zukor, film magnate, 1873.

Deaths: Catherine of Aragon, first wife of Henry VIII, 1536; Nicholas Hillyarde, first English miniaturist painter, 1619; Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, engraver and painter, 1801; Sophia Louisa Jex-Blake, physician and women's rights champion, 1912; John Berryman, poet, 1972; Trevor Wallace Howard, actor, 1988.

On this day: Glasgow University was founded, 1450; Calais, held by the English, was recaptured by France, 1558; Galileo discovered the four satellites of Jupiter, 1610; the first national election in the United States was held, 1789; the London General Omnibus Company started operating, 1857; the first woman was elected as foreman of a jury in Britain, 1921; a picture-by-wire service was established between Britain and Germany, 1930; The Forsyte Saga television serialisation began on BBC1, 1967.

Today is Christmas Day in the Orthodox Church and the Feast Day of St Aldric, St Canute Lavard, St Lucian of Antioch, St Raymund of Penafort, St Reinold, St Tillo and St Valentine of Rhaetia.