Double trouble

The Duchess of Cambridge’s acute morning sickness was said to be associated with twins, raising the prospect of an awkward question of succession, especially if twins were to be born as a result of caesarean section. No monarchy has yet been tested in such a way.
—Prince Vincent of Denmark was born before his twin sister Princess Josephine in 2011, but neither is likely to succeed to the throne as they have two older siblings, Prince Christian and Princess Isabella.
—The only royal twin to have reached the throne in Britain was James II of Scotland. He was born after his brother, Alexander Stewart, Duke of Rothesay, in 1430, but the elder child failed to reach his first birthday.
—James II became king after the murder of his father in 1437 and died aged 29 in 1460 when a cannon exploded while he was trying to fire a salute to his queen.

Christmas cheer

What are ex-politicians doing this Christmas?

Ann Widdecombe (Con): starring in pantomime in High Wycombe
Oona King (Lab): in training for ITV’s Dancing on Ice
Neil Hamilton (Con): mulling whether to run as a Ukip candidate for the European parliament
Phil Woolas (Lab)
, Paul Kitch (LD) and Sir Sydney Chapman (Con): joined forces to form Wellington Street Partners, ‘a political and business consultancy’
Greg Pope (Con): deputy director of the Catholic Education Service

Where the money is

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How do households hold their wealth?

Top 10% Bottom 50%
57% Private pensions 30%
26% Property 37%
13% Financial (excl. pensions) 3.8%
4.8% Personal possessions 29%

Source: Office of National Statistics

Season of sneezing

The season of good cheer is also the most lethal. How have excess winter deaths (the extra deaths which occur in winter) varied over the past half-century?
(Five-year moving average)

1960 62,892
1970 53,812
1980 39,026
1990 34,824
2000 34,050
2010 27,406

Source: Office of National Statistics

This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated