On Tuesday 28 February 2012, the famous auction house Sotheby’s announced it will auction one of the world’s most famous gems: the “Beau Sancy”, a 35-carat pear-shaped diamond once worn by Maria de’Medici at her coronation in 1610.
The Order of the Golden Fleece is one of the oldest orders in Europe. It was originally a chivalric order, founded by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, in 1430, to celebrate the Duke’s marriage to Isabella of Portugal, his third wife.
The Belgians celebrate their National Day on 21 July, although why exactly that date, most of them do not know. It is, in fact, the day Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha officially became the first King of the newly-founded country, now exactly 180 years ago.
On 23 February 1981, exactly 30 years ago, Lieutenant Colonel Antonio Tejero Molina led 200 agents of the Guardia Civil into the Spanish Parliament, taking all members of Parliament and the government ministers hostage. He declared a coup and claimed to install military reign with the support of the monarch, King Juan Carlos I. However, that same night, King Juan Carlos denounced the coup and clearly expressed his support for the Spanish Constitution and democracy, thus effectively ending the military coup.
In her Panorama interview with Martin Bashir in November 1995, Diana Princess of Wales famously said that although she would never become Queen, she wanted to be queen in people’s hearts. She was already immensely popular with the public in Britain and worldwide, and there was no doubt that she was already queen in many people’s hearts, a state of affairs that continued after her death in 1997.
The First World War officially ended at 11 a.m. on 11 November 1918 after the signing of the armistice by representatives of the Allied forces and the German government in the railway carriage of Marshal Foch in the Compiègne Forest, France. This war had been grinding on since August 1914 and there had been massive loss of life on all sides.
I have to admit, when I read the title of this book I blinked not once but twice. For a moment I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Reading the back, however, my initial curiosity – yes, I admit, I was expecting some sleazy “I slept with King X and now I want my 15 minutes of fame” book – changed into interest. The book claimed to describe the history of the royal mistress, a woman scorned and at the same time admired by society. So I started reading.
Halloween is one of several holidays where Christian rituals have been timed to coincide with (and, it was hoped, replace and wipe out) pagan celebrations. Unlike others, such as Christmas and Easter, Halloween has managed to retain its pagan flavour; the holiday is full of ghosts, skeletons, jack-o-lanterns, and witches.
Today, 28 June, is the anniversary of two major events of World War I, the assassination in Sarajevo of the heir to the Austrian throne on 28 June 1914, which set off a cascade of events that led to the start of the war, and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in France on 28 June 1919, which marked the official return to peace.