Births: Christopher Marlowe, playwright, 1564; Queen Anne, 1665; Ugo Foscolo, novelist and poet, 1778; Mrs Isabella Mary Beeton (Mayson), authoress, 1865; George Herman ('Babe') Ruth, baseball player, 1895; Alberto Cavalcanti, documentary film maker, 1897; Eva Braun, Hitler's mistress, 1912; Francois Truffaut, film director, 1932.

Deaths: Thurstan, Archbishop of York, 1140; King Charles II, 1685; Lancelot 'Capability' Brown, landscape gardener, 1783; Joseph Priestley, cleric and chemist, 1804; Gustav Klimt, painter, 1918; Ellen Cicely Wilkinson, politician, 1947; King George VI, 1952; Marghanita Laski, author, 1988.

On this day: James II acceded to the throne of Great Britain, 1685; Britain declared war on France, 1778; Great Britain and Maori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand, 1840; Crete proclaimed a union with Greece, 1897; the Boy Scouts of America were chartered, 1910; nearly the whole of central Constantinople (Istanbul) was destroyed in a great fire, 1911; an Act of Parliament granted votes for women aged over 30, 1918; the German airline Deutsche Luft-Reederei was established, flying between Berlin and Weimar, 1919; Cardinal Achille Ratti was elected as Pope Pius XI, 1922; the financial scandal of the Stavisky affair brought riots in Paris, 1934; Queen Elizabeth II succeeded to the throne, 1952; seven members of the Manchester United football team were among 21 killed in an air crash at Munich, 1958; agreement was reached between Britain and France on a Channel Tunnel, 1964; the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the former prime minister, should be hanged, 1979.

Today is the National Day of New Zealand and the Feast Day of St Amand, St Guarinus of Palestrina, St Hildegund, Saints Mel and Melchu, St Paul Miki and his Companions and St Vedast or Vaast.


Births: St Thomas More, 1478; Charles John Huffam Dickens, novelist, 1812; Sir James Augustus Henry Murray, editor of the Oxford New English Dictionary, 1837; Ernst Frank, conductor and composer, 1847.

Deaths: Ann Radcliffe (Ward), romantic novelist, 1823; Henry Neele, writer and poet, committed suicide, 1828; Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, novelist, 1873; Pope Pius IX, 1878; Adolphe Sax, inventor of the saxophone, 1894; Igor Vasilevich Kuchatov, nuclear physicist, 1960.

On this day: Edward of Caernarvon (later King Edward II) was created Prince of Wales, 1301; while visiting the British Museum, William Lloyd smashed the first-century Portland Vase, 1845; HMS Orpheus was wrecked off the coast of New Zealand, with the loss of 185 lives, 1863; the Pall Mall Gazette was first published, 1865; the Tivoli Theatre, London, closed, 1914; Benghazi was captured by the British, 1941; the Germans began an offensive against the Anzio bridgehead in Italy, 1944; the main group of the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, 1947; Grenada became independent, 1974.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Adaucus, St Luke the Younger, St Moses, St Richard, 'king', St Silvin and St Theodore of Heraclea.

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