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1996 - The calamitous marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, launched amidst pomp and pageantry 15 years ago, ended with a rubber-stamp divorce in the back office of a London court. Neither Charles nor Diana were present at the court when the “quickie” divorce, granted on the grounds that they had been separated for two years, was approved. A clerk from Charles’ lawyers delivered the divorce application and a cheque for £20 by hand, eluding scores of reporters and photographers waiting outside the court. Diana, who was photographed crying on the day the first stage of the divorce was granted six weeks ago, attended a lunch at the English National Ballet, one of the few charities she still patronises, two hours after the divorce was granted.

She was wearing her diamond and sapphire engagement ring. The divorce has left Diana a wealthy woman, with a financial settlement estimated at £17 million. She will continue to use London’s Kensington Palace as her home. But she has been stripped of the title “Her Royal Highness.”

Other important events

1833 - British parliament bans slavery throughout the British Empire.

1879 - British troops capture Cetywayo in Zulu War.

1910 - Montenegro is proclaimed independent kingdom under Nicholas I.

1914 - Austria-Hungary declares war on Belgium.

1916 - Italy declares war against Germany during the First World War.

1922 - First radio commercial is aired in New York.

1928 - All-party Congress at Lucknow, India, votes for dominion status within the British Empire.

1947 - Legendary bullfighter Manolete is mortally wounded by a bull during a fight in Spain and dies the following day.

1963 - 200,000 people participate in a civil rights rally in Washington, where Dr Martin Luther King Jr delivers his “I have a dream” speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

1964 - The first weather satellite capable of providing night time cloud photos is launched.

1966 - About 50,000 people die from a drought-caused famine on the island of Lombok, east of Bali.

1973 - More than 600 are killed as an earthquake flattens central Mexico.

1989 - Sikh gunmen raid a passenger train in the Indian state of Punjab and massacre at least 22 Hindu passengers.

1993 - Former deputy prime minister Ong Teng Cheong becomes Singapore’s first elected President after winning 59 per cent of the votes.

1996 - Democrats nominate President Bill Clinton for a second term at their national convention in Chicago.

2003 - Travel chaos hits London after a power cut leaves hundreds of thousands of commuters stranded in trains across the British capital.

2004 - Hicham Al Guerrouj becomes the first man in 80 years to win both the 1,500-metre and 5,000-metre races at one Olympics.

2007 - Abdullah Gul is sworn in as President of Turkey.

2008 - Barack Obama accepts the Democratic presidential nomination with a speech at Invesco Field in Denver.

2010 - Lewis Hamilton wins the Belgian Grand Prix.

2014 - Recep Tayyip Erdogan is sworn in as 12th President of Turkey.