Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Your Royal Highness

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Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria, Duchess of Västergötland, today turns 33.

Currently the only female heir apparent in the world, the laws of Sweden had to be changed in order that she might someday be Queen; the country's Ståndsriksdagen amended its 1810 Successionsordningen* in 1980, making her heir apparent to the detriment of her younger brother Carl Philip, Duke of Värmland. No less a personage than Victoria's father, King Carl XVI Gustaf, was said to oppose the change, mainly because it occurred after his son's birth rather than before. The King's position on the matter was at the time the subject of some comment in the Swedish press.

The great-great-great granddaughter of a certain other Queen Victoria, unlike her namesake predecessor the world's next Queen Victoria is a jet-setting fashion plate who overcame anorexia while simplifying a once complicated love life...  In June 2010 Her Royal Highness married Daniel Westling**, a fitness entrepreneur to whom she has been romantically linked since 2002; following their honeymoon the royal newlyweds will make their home at Haga Palace.

*Act of Succession, duh!
**Westling became Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland, upon his marriage.

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POPnews - July 14th

[Prompted by the dismissal of Finance Minister Jacques Necker, demonstrators moved on from the armory at the Hôtel des Invalides to the Bastille, incensed at the tremendous expense of keeping just seven inmates (four forgers, two 'lunatics' and one 'deviant' aristocrat, the comte de Solages) imprisoned at a site which, for many, represented no less than the sum total of royal tyranny at its most arbitrary. Among the many who were killed that day only one - the governor Bernard-René de Launay, who had actually been born there - had to deal with the ignominy of being dragged through the streets in a torrent of abuse before being relieved of his head.]

1223 - Louis VIII became King of France upon the death of his father, Philip II.

1698 - The Darien scheme began when five ships, bearing about 1,200 people, departed Leith for the Isthmus of Panama as part of the Kingdom of Scotland's attempt to establish a colony there known as New Caledonia.

1769 - Having established a base at the Presidio of San Diego, the de Portolá Expedition (led by Gaspar de Portolà) set out with 64 men and more than 200 horses and mules to find the Port of Monterey (now Monterey, California) in the first overland exploration by Europeans of the area then called Alta California.

1771 - The Mission San Antonio de Padua was founded by the Franciscan friar Junípero Serra.

- When French Revolutionaries famously stormed the Bastille prison in Paris there were a grand total of seven prisoners there for them to release, for which 98 attackers and 1 defender gave their lives; nevertheless, Bastille Day is now a national holiday in France.

1790 - The citizens of Paris celebrated the establishment of a constitutional monarchy and a mood of national reconciliation with the Fête de la Fédération on the first anniversary of Bastille Day; potentially a happy ending (at least in monarchist terms) to the French Revolution the patriotic ritual - held at the Champ de Mars outside Paris, and presided over by Charles Maurice de Talleyrand - would be but a passing fancy between bouts of frenetic guillotining.

1791 - The Priestley Riots drove Joseph Priestley, a supporter of the French Revolution, out of the English city of Birmingham.

1798 - The Sedition Act became law, making it a federal crime to write, publish, or utter false or malicious statements about the United States government; coincidentally, it may be the least obeyed law ever...

1865 - The first ascent of the Matterhorn was made by Edward Whymper and his climbing party of seven, four of whom - Michel Croz, Lord Francis Douglas, Douglas Hadow and Charles Hudson - died on the descent.

1902 - The Campanile in Venice's Piazza San Marco collapsed, also demolishing the loggetta; the only fatality was the caretaker's cat.

1933 - In keeping with the Nazi policy of Gleichschaltung (or 'making the same'), all political parties were banned in Germany - except, of course, for the Nazi Party.

1943 - The George Washington Carver National Monument was created by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who signed an Act of Congress sponsored by then-Senator Harry S. Truman of Missouri appropriating $30,000 towards its establishment; the first national monument in the United States dedicated to an African-American, among the many attractions at the site - located near Diamond, Missouri - is Carver's boyhood home, built by his foster father Moses Carver.

1948 - Palmiro Togliatti, leader of the Italian Communist Party, was shot near the Italian Parliament.

1958 - Iraq's King Faisal II was overthrown by Arab nationalists; six members of the royal family (including the King) were executed, their bodies later put on display. Power was seized by Abd al-Karim Qasim and Abdul Salam Arif and a republic was declared.

1965 - The Mariner 4 spacecraft took the first-ever closeup photographs of another planet transmitted from deep space; in this case, Mars.

1969 - The United States officially withdrew its $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 bills from circulation.

1991 - UK forces protecting the Kurdish population in northern Iraq as part of Operation Provide Comfort withdrew from the region for fear of reprisal; all but 400 of the 3,300 British soldiers involved were returned to the UK, while those left behind were reassigned to a Rapid Reaction Force in southern Turkey, where nearly 450,000 Kurds had fled from the gas attacks of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

1995 - The MP3 format was named.

1997 - The White Stripes played their first gig.
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