It happened today – this day in history – May 19

1182: The high altar of Notre Dame is consecrated.

1536: Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII is beheaded at the Tower of London on charges of adultery, incest and treason.

1568: Mary, Queen of Scots is arrested on the orders of Elizabeth I.

1571: Miguel Lopez de Lagazpi founds Manilla in the Phillipines.

1635: France’s First Minister, Cardinal Richelieu declares war on Spain.

1649: England is declared a commonwealth by an act of the Rump Parliament making England a republic for the next 11 years.

1897: Oscar Wilde is released from Reading Gaol.

1898: Death of former prime minister William Ewart Gladstone aged 88.

1902: Britain and the Boers resume peace talks in Pretoria.

1919: Mustafa Kemal Ataturk lands at Samsun on the Black Sea coast, beginning the Turkish War of Independence.

1925: Birth of Cambodian dictator Pol Pot.

1926: The French air force bombs Damascus, Syria.

1929: Chinese warlord Feng Yuxiang declares war on Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalist government.

1930: White women win voting rights in South Africa.

1935: T E Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) dies in a motorcycle accident in Dorset aged 46.

1944: The German defence line in Italy collapses.

1958: Premiere of Harold Pinter’s play “The Birthday Party” in London. On the same day, film star Ronald Coleman dies aged 67.

1960: American DJ Alan Freed, who supposedly first coined the phrase “rock n roll” is indicted along with seven others for accepting $30,650 in payola bribes from six record companies.

1965: West Ham United win the European Cup Winner’s Cup against 1860 München of West Germany 2-0 in London.

1967: The USSR ratifies a treaty with Britain and the US banning nuclear weapons in space.

1969: Jazz saxophonist Coleman Hawkins dies aged 64.

1974: Valery Giscard d’Estaing is elected President of France.

1976: Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones crashes his car near Newport Pagnell, Bucks, after falling asleep at the wheel. Marijuana and cocaine are found by the police resulting in another fine for the guitarist.


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1979: Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Mick Jagger jam together at a party to celebrate Clapton’s marriage to George’s ex wife Patti.

1980: Ringo Starr and fiancée Barbara Bach are involved in a car crash less than half a mile from where Marc Bolan had been killed three years earlier. The car was a write-off but the couple were not seriously injured.

1981: Five British Army soldiers are killed when their armoured vehicle is ripped apart by a Provisional IRA roadside bomb near Bessbrook, County Armagh.

1982: Film star Sophia Loren is jailed in Naples for tax evasion.

1985: Singles chart:

  1. 19 – Paul Hardcastle
  2. A View To A Kill – Duran Duran
  3. Love Don’t Live Here Anymore – Jimmy Nail
  4. Move Closer – Phyllis Nelson
  5. I Feel Love (Medley) – Bronski Beat and Marc Almond
  6. Rhythm Of The Night – Debarge
  7. Kayleigh – Marillion
  8. Feel So Real – Steve Arrington
  9. Walls Come Tumbling Down – The Style Council
  10. We All Follow Man United – Manchester Utd Football Squad
1985: Dead or Alive – Youthquake

Album chart:

  1. Brothers In Arms – Dire Straits
  2. Out Now! – Various Artists
  3. Hits 2 – Various Artists
  4. No Jacket Required – Phil Collins
  5. Songs From The Big Chair – Tears For Fears
  6. Be Yourself Tonight – Eurythmics
  7. Low-Life – New Order
  8. Best Of The 20th Century Boy – Marc Bolan & T. Rex
  9. Youthquake – Dead Or Alive
  10. The Best Of Elvis Costello The Man – Elvis Costello

1988: Godfather of Soul James Brown is arrested for the fifth time in 12 months following a car chase near his home. He is charged with assault, resisting arrest and being in charge of illegal weapons and is given a six-year jail sentence.

1994: Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis dies from cancer aged 64.

1997: Labour Health Secretary, Frank Dobson, announces that sponsorship of sports events by tobacco firms is to be banned.

1999: Andrew Motion is appointed British Poet Laureate for 10 years, the first to request a set term.

2001: Manchester United win the Premier League title for the third consecutive season.

2004: Fathers 4 Justice campaigners throw condoms filled with purple flour from the public gallery at Prime Minister Tony Blair in the House of Commons. On the same day, actor Tony Randall (Leonard Rosenberg) dies aged 88.

2006: Singer Freddie Garrity dies aged 65.

2007: Chelsea beat Manchester United, 1 – 0 after extra time (Drogba) to win the FA Cup at Wembley Stadium.

2012: Chelsea win the Champions League, beating Bayern Munich, 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

2013: A custom made 1966 Vox guitar played by John Lennon and George Harrison sells at auction for $408,000 (£269,000). On the same day, Sweden defeat Switzerland to win the World Ice Hockey Championship.

2014: Louis van Gaal is confirmed as manager of Manchester United with Ryan Giggs as his assistant. On the same day, racing driver and team owner Jack Brabham dies aged 88.

2015: Historic first handshake between Prince Charles and Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams at the National University of Ireland in Galway. The prince’s beloved uncle Lord Mountbatten was killed by an IRA bomb in 1979.

2018: Actress Meghan Markle marries Prince Harry at Windsor Castle and the couple is given the titles, Duke and Duchess of Sussex by the Queen. On the same day, Chelsea beat Manchester United, 1-0 (Hazard pen) to win the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium.

2021: New York City begins re-opening after 423 days with the COVID-19 death toll at 33,000. On the same day, a BBC investigation finds their 1995 Panorama interview with Princess Diana was secured through ‘deceitful behaviour’ by journalist Martin Bashir.

2022: A landmark criminal trial finds the Argentine state responsible for the massacre of more than 400 Qom and Moqoit people in 1924 in the Chaco region. On the same day, a 1955 Mercedes-Benz SLR coupe becomess the world’s most expensive car when it sells for €135 million. Also, the state of Oklahoma passes a bill banning nearly all abortions.

2023: The Smiths bassist Andy Rourke dies aged 59 from pancreatic cancer, author Martin Amis dies aged 73 from esophageal cancer and lyricist Pete Brown dies aged 82.

Oliver Letwin

BIRTHDAYS: Herbie (Brian) Flowers, musician, 86; James (William) Fox, actor, 85; Pete Townshend, guitarist/songwriter (The Who), 79; Grace Jones, singer, 76; Tom Scott, saxophonist, 76; Mike Wedgwood, bassist (Curved Air/Caravan) 74; Romeo Challenger, drummer (Showaddywaddy) 74; Phil Rudd, drummer (AC/DC) 70; Martyn Ware, musician (Heaven 17) 68; Sir Oliver Letwin MP, politician, 68; Yazz (Yasmin Evans) singer, 64; Iain Harvie, guitarist, (Del Amitri) 62; Ben Volperliere-Pierrot, singer (Curiosity Killed The Cat) 61; Paul Hartnoll, musician (Orbital) 56; Andrea Pirlo, Italian footballer, 45; Diego Forlan, footballer, 45; Sam Smith, singer-songwriter, 32; Lainey Wilson, country singer-songwriter, 32 Jo Jo Siwa, reality TV star, 21.