Birthdays: 23 December

23 December

Birthdays: Emperor Akihito of Japan, 62; Queen Silvia of Sweden, 52; Lord Bancroft, former Head of the Home Civil Service, 73; Sir Franklin Berman, legal adviser, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 56; Mrs Christine Bicknell, former chairman, CSSB, 76; Sir Norman Biggs, banker, 88; Lord Blake, former editor, Dictionary of National Biography, 79; Vice-Admiral Sir Stephen Carlill, 93; Mr David Davis MP, Minister for the European Union, 47; Mr Peter Davis, former chairman, Reed International plc, 54; Mr Maurice Denham, actor, 86; Mr John Guinness, chairman, British Nuclear Fuels, 60; Mr Yousuf Karsh, portrait photographer, 87; Mr Graham Kelly, chief executive, the Football Association, 50; Miss Belinda Lang, actress, 42; Mr Christopher Lawrence, silversmith, 59; Sir Roger Neville, former chief executive, Sun Alliance, 64; Miss Joan Quennell, former MP, 72; Herr Helmut Schmidt, former Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, 77; The Rev Christopher Turner, former Headmaster, Dean Close and Stowe Schools, 66; Mr Rayner Unwin, chairman, Unwin Enterprises, 70. Born on this day: Jean-Francois Champollion, Egyptologist and decipherer of the Rosetta Stone, 1790; Joseph Arthur, first Baron Rank, miller and film magnate, 1888. Died on this day: Anthony Herman Gerard Fokker, aircraft designer, 1939; Edward Frederick Lindley Wood, first Earl of Halifax, Viceroy of India, 1959. On this day: HMS Bounty, commanded by William Bligh, sailed from Spithead for the South Seas, 1787; the Aldwych Theatre, London, opened, 1905.