Monday, June 07, 2010

Happy Birthday Your Royal Highness

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Prince Joachim of Denmark - born on this day in 1969 - is the younger son of that country's Queen Margrethe II and her husband Henrik, The Prince Consort; known as something of a tearaway (at least in comparison to his much more stable brother, Crown Prince Frederik) His Royal Highness dated extensively before marrying the first of his two wives.

Divorced from his first wife Alexandra Christina, Countess of Frederiksborg in April 2005 after a decade of marriage (which produced two children, Prince Nikolai and Prince Felix), the Prince was remarried, in May 2008*, to the newly created Princess Marie - formerly Marie Cavallier. In May 2009 the Danish Royal Family welcomed its newest member, Prince Henrik, who was born at Copenhagen's Rigshospitalet.

*On what would have been the 73rd anniversary of his grandparents, King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid.
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"God Save The Queen" by The Sex Pistols

In that same week of 1977 when most of Britain was celebrating the Silver Jubilee, the minority who were not were busy nicking the Sex Pistols' anti-anthem God Save the Queen (originally entitled No Future) from those few shops that were stocking it. In fact, it has always been rumoured that the record sold enough copies to qualify for that week's #1 spot, but was held to #2 for political reasons*. Bass player Sid Vicious joined the group shortly before the recording of this song - replacing Glen Matlock, who was said to be "too nice" - making this one of only two Sex Pistols singles on which Vicious played.

In later years, Johnny Rotten defended the song as a nationalist anthem, going so far as to say that it wasn't about the Queen at all, but about the system she embodies; despite the song's supposed working class values, the working classes in Britain have always been strongly monarchist, with the majority of republican sentiment since the time of Queen Victoria coming from the middle classes. Rotten, careful not to jeopardize his street cred, has always been very delicate when discussing this particular tune, going so far as to allude to his empathy for the Queen as well as his desire to liberate her from what is, in his perspective, a stultifying life.

*The week's official #1 song was the far-less controversial double A-side The First Cut Is the Deepest / I Don't Want To Talk About It, by Rod Stewart.

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Pop History Moment: UK Celebrates Queen's Silver Jubilee


On this day in 1977 Elizabeth II kicked off celebrations in honour of her Silver Jubilee; she was joined by her subjects around the country and the Commonwealth as they celebrated with a series of street parties. So ubiquitous was the Jubilee that it even made its way into the story-lines of two long-running programs in the UK - Coronation Street and Doctor Who*.

Her Majesty is shown here on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with the Duke of Edinburgh, Earl Mountbatten, Princess Anne (pregnant with Peter Phillips) and the cleverly concealed Capt. Mark Phillips.

*The 1983 episode
Mawdryn Undead starring Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor.

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POPnews - June 7th

[First opened to the public on this day in 1982, Graceland was was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in November 1991 and declared a National Historic Landmark on March 2006.  It remains the second most-visited private home in America - after the White House.]

1099 - The Siege of Jerusalem began; taking back the city from Muslim occupation had been the principal purpose of the First Crusade.

1494 - Spain and Portugal signed the Treaty of Tordesillas, which divided the New World between the two countries, in keeping with a decree made by the Spanish-born Pope Alexander VI.

1654 - Louis XIV was crowned King of France.

1692 - The Jamaican town of Port Royal was hit by a catastrophic earthquake, causing two-thirds of it to sink into the Caribbean; in just three minutes, 1,600 people were killed and 3,000 were seriously injured. The calamity caused a shift of legislative and commercial responsibility to Kingston, which is still Jamaica's capital today.

1776 - Richard Henry Lee presented the Lee Resolution to the Continental Congress; the motion was seconded by John Adams, and led to the drafting of the Declaration of Independence.

1863 - During the so-called French intervention, Mexico City was captured by French troops.

1905 - Norway dissolved its union with Sweden.

1906 - The Cunard Line's ill-fated RMS Lusitania was launched at the John Brown Shipyard in Glasgow.

1919 - During the Sette giugno riot four people - Ġużeppi Bajjada, Manwel Attard, Wenzu Dyer and Karmenu Abela - were killed in Valletta; the event is still commemorated on this day in Malta.

1940 - Norway's King Haakon VII, Crown Prince Olav and the Norwegian government left Tromsø aboard HMS Devonshire (escorted by HMS Glorious, HMS Acasta, and HMS Ardent) to go into exile in London; five years later to the day the King and his family returned to Oslo.

1945 - Benjamin Britten's opera Peter Grimes - based in part on 'Letter XXII' of George Crabbe's 24 poem collection The Borough (published in 1810) and with a libretto adapted by Montagu Slater - was premiered at Sadler's Wells in London, conducted by Reginald Goodall. When it was broadcast in its entirety on the radio just ten days later it became the first to be thus transmitted by the BBC.

1948 - Edvard Beneš resigned as President of Czechoslovakia rather than signing a Constitution making his nation a Communist state.

1955 - Lux Radio Theater signed off the air permanently; the show, first launched in New York on NBC's Blue Network in 1934, featured radio adaptations of Broadway shows and popular films.

1965 - The US Supreme Court issued its decision in the case of Griswold v. Connecticut, effectively legalizing the use of contraception by married couples.

1968 - The body of assassinated Senator Robert F. Kennedy was flown to New York City, where it lay in state at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

1981 - The Israeli Air Force destroyed Iraq's Osiraq nuclear reactor during Operation Opera; the facility could have been used to make nuclear weapons.

1982 - Priscilla Presley opened Graceland to the public, although in an all-too rare display of good taste for the 23-room mansion the bathroom where Elvis Presley had died five years earlier was kept off-limits.

1991 - The Philippines' Mount Pinatubo exploded, generating an ash column 7 km (4.5 miles) high.

2001 - British Prime Minister Tony Blair's New Labour Party won a second consecutive landslide victory in a General Election.
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