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Births: Margaret of Anjou, wife of King Henry VI, 1430; Pierre Simon, Marquis de Laplace, astronomer and mathematician, 1749; William Smith, geologist, 1769; Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin, painter, 1809; Karl Gottfried Wilhelm Taubert, pianist and composer, 1811; Alfred, Viscount Milner, statesman, 1854; Franklin Henry Giddings, sociologist, 1855; Johann Secundus Kruse, violinist, 1859; Horatio William Bottomley, journalist and swindler, 1860; Michael Joseph Savage, New Zealand prime minister, 1872; Franz Schreker, composer, 1878; Roger Martin du Gard, novelist and playwright, 1881; Juan Gris, Cubist painter, 1887; Robert Gibbings, wood engraver and author, 1889; Cedric Gibbons, film designer, 1893; Erich Fromm, psychoanalyst, 1900; Joan Crawford (Lucille Le Sueur), actress, 1904; Lale Andersen, singer of 'Lili Marlene', 1910; Wernher Magnus Maximilian von Braun, rocket engineer, 1912; Donald Malcolm Campbell, land and water speedster, 1921.

Deaths: Pedro the Cruel, King of Castile and Leon, killed 1369; Pope Julius III, 1555; Tsar Paul I of Russia, assassinated 1801; Thomas Holcroft, playwright, novelist and tranlator, 1809; August Friedrich Ferdinand von Kotzebue, playwright, murdered 1819; Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle), novelist, 1842; John D. Lee, bishop of the Mormon church, executed for his part in the Mountain Meadows massacre of settlers, Utah 1877; Richard Halliburton, writer and traveller, drowned in the Pacific 1939; Nikolai Aleksandrovich Berdyayev, philosopher and religious thinker, 1948; Raoul Dufy, painter and designer, 1953; Sir Leslie Patrick Abercrombie, town planner and architect, 1957; Field Marshal Sir Claude John Auchinleck, 1981; Mike Hailwood, motor-cycle champion, 1981; Robert Louis Constantine Lee-Dillon FitzGibbon, author, 1983; Richard, Baron Beeching, reorganiser of British Rail, 1985; Friedrich August von Hayek, economist, 1992.

On this day: the marriage of Catherine of Aragon to King Henry VIII was declared valid by the Pope, although in 1533 he had 'married' Anne Boleyn, 1534; Sir William Berkeley, Royalist, was elected governor of Virginia, 1660; the Halifax Gazette, the first newspaper in Canada, was printed in Nova Scotia, 1752; the Stamp Act, intended for taxing colonists in America, was passed by Parliament, 1765; the first officially sponsored group of settlers arrived at Dunedin, New Zealand 1848; the Piedmontese defeated the Austrians, under General Radetzky, at the Battle of Novara, 1849; the first trams in London began operating in Bayswater, 1861; the Woolwich steam ferry was inaugurated in London, 1889; the German gun 'Big Bertha' shelled Paris from a distance of 75 miles, 1918; Lithuania proclaimed her independence, 1918; the governor of Tennessee signed an Act, forbidding the teaching of evolution in state schools, 1925; Adolf Hitler became dictator of Germany, 1933; the Chinese Eastern Railway was sold by the Soviet Union to the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo (Manchuria), 1935; the musical show the Dancing Years was first produced, London 1939; the world's first nuclear- powered merchant ship, the Savannah, was launched in New Jersey, 1962; the Archbishop of Canterbury visited Rome and met the Pope; the first official meeting between the two churches for 400 years, 1966; Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan, proclaimed her independence, 1971.

Today is the Feast Day of St Benedict the Hermit, St Ethelwald the Hermit, St Joseph Oriol, St Turibius of Lima and St Victorian.