Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Colin's Little Known Facts: Bronte, Beeching and Her Majesty

Colin Crosby Heritage Tours would like to join many many others in wishing Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II a very happy 80th birthday.

Princess Elizabeth was born at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, London, on 21st April 1926. She was the daughter of Bertie, the Duke of York and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, and the grand-daughter of the King, George V.

Although the media, who were much gentler then than now, encouraged everybody to love Princess Elizabeth and her younger sister, Princess Margaret, nobody thought that they would ever be more than just two nice upper-class young ladies.

All that changed, though, when in 1936 the old King died, and was succeeded as expected by David, the Prince of Wales, who took the title Edward VIII – but only briefly. Later the same year he abdicated, passing the crown on to his totally unprepared and painfully shy brother, who became George VI.

It was George VI who deservedly drew much affection and admiration for the way he overcame his problems (not least the Second World War). But he died in 1952, at which point his daughter, still in her twenties, succeeded as Elizabeth II.

Like all other days, 21st April is the anniversary of a good many notable things.

Her Majesty shares a birthday with the following people.

1816 Charlotte Bronte, novelist; 1913 Dr Richard Beeching, wielder of the Marples axe on British Railways; 1913 Norman Parkinson, photographer; 1915 Anthony Quinn, American film star; 1923 John Mortimer, barrister and novelist; 1926 Arthur Rowley, footballer who scored record number of goals, and played for Leicester City; 1932 Bob Grant, comic actor; 1932 Angela Mortimer, tennis player; 1946 Srinas Venkataraghavan, Indian cricketer; 1946 Les Gray, rock singer; 1947 Iggy Pop, American rock singer.

These people died on this day.

1109 St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury;1509 Henry VII, King of England, who had defeated Richard III in battle near Market Bosworth; 1699 Jean Baptiste Racine, French playwright; 1897 Bert Harris, champion cyclist, who lived in Leicester and is buried at Welford Road Cemetery; 1910 Mark Twain, American novelist and humorist; 1918 Manfred von Richtofen, alias the Red Baron, German air ace; 1946 John Maynard Keynes, economist; 1955 Stafford Cripps, politician; 1971 Francois Duvalier, alias Papa Doc, Haitian dictator; 1996 Christopher Robin Milne, the original “Christopher Robin”, whose friends included Winnie the Pooh; 2003 Nina Simone, American jazz and soul singer.

And it’s also notable for these reasons.

St. Anselm’s Day; 753BC traditional date of founding of Rome; 1960 Brasilia the new capital of Brazil; 1964 BBC2 TV started broadcasting; 1989 Tienanmen Square protests in China; 1983 one pound coin in circulation.

Happy Birthday, Your Majesty.