On This Day – Nothing Like a Good Beheading; A Very Tudor Pastime

19 May

Under Age and Under Duress

1499 Catherine of Aragon (aged 12) was married by proxy to Arthur Tudor, the Prince of Wales (aged 12).

The First of the Beheaded

1536 Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII’s second wife, was beheaded in London. She was 29 years old. Although the evidence against her was unconvincing, the charges brought included incest with her brother and no less than four counts of adultery.

Another One Bites the Dust

1568 Queen Elizabeth I ordered the arrest of Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary had previously claimed Elizabeth’s throne as her own and was considered the legitimate sovereign of England by many English Catholics. After 18 years and 9 months in custody, Mary was tried and executed for her involvement in plots to assassinate Elizabeth.

Pre-EU Uniformity

1662 The Act of Uniformity gave consent to the revised English Prayer Book and denied the right to take up arms against the king. Presbyterianism in the Church was destroyed and many ministers who did not confirm were ejected. A Licensing Act forbade imports of literature contrary to Christian faith.

Lethal Ambition

1845 Captain Sir John Franklin and his ill-fated Arctic expedition departed from Greenhithe in Kent. The entire crew of 129 perished from starvation, hypothermia, tuberculosis, lead poisoning and scurvy whilst attempting to chart and navigate a section of the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic.

Happy Birthday, Lady Astor

1879 The birth of American Nancy Witcher Astor, the first woman to take her seat in the House of Commons. She was the wife of William Waldorf Astor, 2nd Viscount, English politician and former proprietor of the Observer newspaper.

Good Bye, Mr. Lawrence

Te lawrence.jpg

1935 T E Lawrence, English soldier and writer (known to the world as Lawrence of Arabia) died from injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash.

Churchill and the Wireless

1940 Churchill made his first broadcast as Prime Minister and called Nazism “the foulest and most soul-destroying tyranny that has ever darkened and stained the pages of history.”

Different Strokes

1997 The newly elected Sinn Fein MPs, Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, visited and enjoyed the facilities at the British House of Commons for 24 hours, before the Speaker’s ruling denying them the privileges of MPs in the Palace of Westminster came into effect.

Westminster Security

2004 Security at the House of Commons came under scrutiny after Fathers For Justice protesters attacked Tony Blair, the prime minister

There’s Always the First

Michael Martin, the Speaker of the House of Commons, on 18 May 2009.

2009 Commons Speaker Michael Martin told MPs he intended to stand down, so becoming the first Commons Speaker to be effectively forced out of office for 300 years. He had faced criticism over his handling of the MP expenses issue.

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