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On this day: December 2

Today’s birthdays

Patricia Hewitt, former health secretary, 71

Rick Savage, Def Leppard bass guitarist, 59

Brendan Coyle, Downton Abbey actor, 56

Lucy Liu (pictured), actress, 51

David Batty, former footballer, 51

Monica Seles, former tennis player, 46

Nelly Furtado, singer, 41

Christopher Wolstenholme, Muse bass guitarist, 41

Britney Spears, pop star, 38

It happened today…

1697: The new St Paul’s Cathedral was opened following the destruction of the previous building in the Great Fire of London

1804: Napoleon was crowned Emperor in Paris by Pope Pius VII. On this day one year later, he defeated Austro-Russian forces at the Battle of Austerlitz

1814: The Marquis de Sade, the French aristocrat whose perverted lifestyle gave the word sadism to the language, died in an asylum

1859: John Brown, anti-slavery campaigner whose soul marched on in the famous song, was executed for treason in Charleston, West Virginia

Abolitionist: John Brown by Ole Peter Hansen Balling, 1872 PICTURE: REX

1901: King Camp Gillette patented the safety razor

1907: English footballers formed the Professional Footballers’ Association

1923: Greek-American operatic soprano Maria Callas was born in New York

1927: Ford’s Model A went on sale as a successor to the Model T

1954: Four years of anti-Communist witch-hunts in America came to an end when its instigator, Joseph McCarthy, was condemned for conduct unbecoming a senator

1990: West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl won the first all-German election since 1933

2018: Three missing people were reunited with their families in time for Christmas after their faces were displayed on posters on the backpacks of Deliveroo riders, it was reported

Quote of the day

‘We, and our many supporters worldwide, have done our best but the ignorance and laziness present in modern times have won!’ — Retired journalist John Richards, 96, who is calling time on the Apostrophe Protection Society, which he founded in 2001

Thought for the day

‘Don’t ever forget that you’re a citizen of this world, and there are things you can do to lift the human spirit, things that are easy, things that are free, things that you can do every day: civility, respect, kindness, character’ — US screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin