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Births: Leopold I, Holy Roman emperor, 1640; Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia, 1672; George Stephenson, locomotive designer, 1781; Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, physician, 1836; Anne Isabella Ritchie, author, 1837; Walter Weedon Grossmith, comedian and author, 1853; EM Delafield (Edmee Elizabeth Monica de la Pasture), novelist, 1890; Cole Albert Porter, composer and lyricist, 1893; Robert Cummings (Charles Clarence Robert Orville Main Cummings), actor, 1908.

Deaths: Jan van Eyck, painter, buried 1441; Pope Gregory XVI, 1846; Charles John Huffham Dickens, novelist, 1870; William Maxwell Aitken, first Baron Beaverbrook, newspaper proprietor, 1964; Dame Sybil Thorndike, actress, 1976.

On this day: the first Book of Common Prayer was issued to all dioceses in the Church of England, 1549; the first ballistic-missile submarine was launched, the USS George Washington 1959; in Britain, the proceedings of the House of Commons were broadcast live for the first time, 1975.

Today is the Feast Day of St Columba of Iona, St Ephraem, St Pelagia of Antioch, Saints Primus and Felician, St Richard of Andria and St Vincent of Agen.