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Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Princess Anne and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, October, 1957 by Lord Snowdon — OnThisDay & Facts


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TODAY’S HOLIDAY: COMMONWEALTH DAY


Commonwealth Day

From 1903 until 1957, this holiday in honor of the British Empire was known as Empire Day and celebrated on May 24, Queen Victoria‘s birthday. Between 1958 and 1966, it was called British Commonwealth Day. Then it was switched to Queen Elizabeth II‘s official birthday in June, and the name was shortened to Commonwealth Day. It is now observed annually on the second Monday in March. In Canada it is still celebrated on May 24 (or the Monday before) and referred to as Victoria Day. More… Discuss

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QUEENThis Day in the Yesteryear: ELIZABETH WAKES TO FIND STRANGE MAN IN HER BEDROOM (1982)


Queen Elizabeth Wakes to Find Strange Man in Her Bedroom (1982)

In the early hours of July 9, 1982, 32-year-old Michael Fagan broke into Buckingham Palace—for the second time—and entered Queen Elizabeth II’s bedroom. He set off the alarm, but guards believed it to be false and turned it off. The Queen awoke when Fagan moved a curtain in her bedroom, and he talked to her while she waited for police to arrive. The officer who was supposed to be posted outside her door at the time was walking the Queen’s dogs. Why was Fagan not charged for his brazen trespass? More… Discuss

 

STATE OPENING OF PARLIAMENT


State Opening of Parliament

Once a year, the cellars of the Palace of Westminster are ceremoniously searched for explosives as part of the State Opening of Parliament, a colorful annual event that marks the return of the United Kingdom’s legislature from recess. Other traditions associated with the event include the Crown holding a member of the House of Commons hostage and the House of Commons slamming its doors shut in the face of the queen’s messenger. Why did Queen Elizabeth II miss the ceremonies in 1959 and 1963? More… Discuss

 

This Day in History: Ian Ball Attempts to Kidnap Princess Anne (1974)


Ian Ball Attempts to Kidnap Princess Anne (1974)

Intending to kidnap Queen Elizabeth II’s only daughter and collect a £2 million ransom, Ball attacked Princess Anne’s chauffeur-driven limousine as it returned to Buckingham Palace. He shot the chauffeur, two policemen, and a passerby who tried to intervene, but Anne got away with the help of another passerby. Ball was then captured. His victims recovered, and all six who tried to help Anne were awarded medals. What was Anne’s famously feisty retort when Ball ordered her out of the car? More… Discuss