Every weekend Spectator Life brings you doses of topical trivia – facts, figures and anecdotes inspired by the current week’s dates in history.
In 2006, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became President of Liberia, and Africa’s first female elected head of state. The country got its name because it was founded in the 19th century as somewhere that freed American slaves could start their new lives. This is why Liberia’s flag so closely resembles that of the US.
In 1998, news broke of Monica Lewinsky’s affair with Bill Clinton. The former intern escaped press attention during the biggest American political scandal since Watergate by hiding in her mother’s apartment … which was in the Watergate complex.
Glenn Frey (died 2016). The musician always insisted that his band was just called Eagles, not The Eagles. In this they mirror Pet Shop Boys, Pixies and Eurythmics.
John Bercow (born 1963). When the Conservative MP Simon Burns accidentally backed his car into the Speaker’s official vehicle in 2010, the diminuitive Bercow shouted ‘I am not happy!’ Burns replied: ‘Well which one are you?’
Buzz Aldrin (born 1930). The astronaut was born Edwin Aldrin – his nickname (now adopted as his official name) came from his older sister pronouncing ‘brother’ as ‘buzzer’. His mother’s maiden name, meanwhile, was Moon.
Michael Winner (died 2013). The director once turned down an OBE, on the grounds that ‘an OBE is what you get if you clean the toilets well at King’s Cross station’.
Queen Victoria (died 1901). In her later years, Victoria’s bust measurement was greater than her height. (66 inches plays 59 inches.)