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This Day in History - 22nd December


1550 The death of Richard Plantagenet (Richard of Eastwell). Shorty before the Battle of Bosworth (Richard - then aged 16) was taken to see King Richard III at his encampment. The King informed the boy that he was his son, and told him to watch the battle from a safe vantage point, telling him that, if he won, he would acknowledge him as his son. If he lost, the boy was told that he had to forever conceal his identity. King Richard was killed in the battle, the boy fled to London and was apprenticed to a bricklayer, but kept up the Latin he had learned by reading during his work.

1696 The birth of James Oglethorpe, English general and founder of the state of Georgia.

1715 James Edward Stuart, son of James II, the deposed Catholic King of England, landed at Petershead in north-east Scotland, after his exile in France, to lead a Jacobite rebellion against England. The rebellion failed.

1716 Lincoln's Inn Theatre in London put on England's first pantomime which included the characters Harlequin, Columbine and Pantaloon.

1880 The death of George Eliot (real name Mary Anne Evans), English novelist and poet and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. 

1909 The birth of Patricia Hayes, English comedy actress. She featured in many comedy shows and films between 1940 and 1996, including Hancock's Half Hour, The Benny Hill Show, Till Death Us Do Part and a A Fish Called Wanda. Her most famous TV appearance was in the title role of the 1971 TV Play Edna, the Inebriate Woman for which she won a BAFTA award.

1942 World War II: Adolf Hitler signed the order to develop the V-2 rocket as a weapon. It was the world's first, long-range weapon and was developed specifically to target London and later Antwerp. Over 3,000 V-2s were launched as military rockets against Allied targets during the war.

1943 The children's writer, Beatrix Potter, died. Her house at Hill Top, Sawrey is open to the public.

1949 The birth, in the Isle of Man, of the twin brothers Maurice and Robin Gibb, musicians with The Bee Gees.

1951 The birth of Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, 6th Duke of Westminster. Until his death on 9th August 2016 he was the richest person in Britain, with a wealth of £6.7 billion.

1962 Pop group the Tornados started a three week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with their record Telstar. It was the first major hit from a UK act in the American charts.

1965 The government introduced an 'experimental' speed limit of 70mph on motorways in England. The limit is still in force.

1965 Richard Dimbleby, British broadcaster, died.

1973 Elton John started a two week run at No.1 on the UK chart with the album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. The album featured the song Candle in the Wind that was later re-written after the death of Princess Diana.

1997 An independent inquiry into the BSE disaster and the devastation it wreaked on British farming was announced by the government.

2000 The American singer Madonna married British film maker Guy Ritchie at an exclusive ceremony in Skibo Castle near Dornoch in Sutherland, hours after their son was christened.

2014 Six people were killed by an out-of-control bin lorry in Glasgow. A 'Fatal Accident Inquiry' into the incident showed that the driver (58-year old Harry Clarke) had a history of health issues including fainting and dizziness dating back to the 1970s and that he had lied on his HGV renewal application form.

2014 A grey seal was spotted in a farmer's field in Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside, 20 miles inland. The disorientated animal was captured and transferred to a wildlife centre in Nantwich, Cheshire.