1603 - James VI of Scotland was crowned first king of Great Britain, extending his personal reign over Scotland to include England, Ireland, and Wales as well.
1797 - Horatio Nelson lost more than 300 men and his right arm during an attempted conquest of the Spanish island of Tenerife at the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
1909 - Louis Blériot made the first flight across the English Channel in a heavier-than-air machine, traversing from Calais to Dover in 37 minutes.
1959 - The SR-N1 hovercraft - built by Saunders-Roe on the Isle of Wight - crossed the English Channel from Calais to Dover in just over 2 hours on the anniversary of Louis Blériot's historic flight.
1978 - Louise Brown, the world's first test tube baby, was born.
1987 - Former MP for Louth and deputy chair of the Conservative Party, author of cheesy potboilers, and pathological liar Jeffrey Archer was awarded £500,000 in damages and up to £700,000 in legal costs by Mr Justice Caulfield from the tabloid newspaper The Daily Star for its allegation that Archer had paid to have sex with a prostitute named Monica Coghlan. At the time it was the richest libel payout in the country's history. The jury's deliberation lasted just four hours, following a three-week trial; turns out they should have deliberated a little longer... It was proved in court in 2001 that Archer had perjured himself - indeed, had 'perverted the course of justice' - during the trial, for which he was subsequently jailed for four years by Mr Justice Potts in July 2001.
1989 - Diana, Princess of Wales, opened the Landmark AIDS Centre in south-east London; Her Royal Highness precipitated a media maelstrom at the event by holding hands with and embracing AIDS patients during her visit - at a time when even healthcare workers who dealt with people affected by the disease still wore gloves.
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