Tag Archives: world war I britain

The REAL Saddest Days in British History

As the Royal Wedding Hype Machine rolls and grinds its way towards Friday, April 29th, American “news” outlets are going crazy. The way they act, they are seriously sad that we don’t have our own crumbling royal family to dote upon. The past couple of evenings, Keith and I have had Entertainment Tonight on, our default, self-torture device in the evenings as we eat dinner. Usually in the spring we have dinner out on the porch but it was a cold, rainy day and we resigned ourselves to the couch.

Every night this week so far, a “reporter” on ET has talked about the death of Princess Diana (because what better time than a wedding to get maudlin and morbid?) and called it “the saddest day in the history of Britain.” And Keith and I exchange a look, his much more pained than I. So tonight I suggested that he please provide a list of the much sadder times in British history. Considering how long its been there, there have to have been some pretty bleak days, much bleaker than the death of Diana, who was cool and all but… well, you know.

So now we have this list to provide us all with some perspective:


1. Death of Prince Albert, December 14, 1861: The event itself is fairly sad (he died of typhoid fever) but the especially sad part is that Queen Victoria spent the next 60 years mourning, naming everything in the country after him. True love never dies.

2. The Great Fire of London, 1666: Gigantic fire that gutted the central part of the city. Of 80,000 people living in London, 70,000 lost their homes. Candle in the wind, indeed.

3. The First Day of the Battle of Britain, July 10, 1940: Germany started bombing the crap out of London, laying waste to the city until October.

4. The London Bombings, July 7, 2005: Coordinated suicide attacks on the London public transport. Four bombs went off, killing 56 people and injuring 700.

5. Every day of World War I. Britain lost an entire generation of people. Total lost: 1,114,914 soldiers with an additional 2 million wounded. Weigh that against one woman dying in a car crash and… my heart is with all those soldiers on the battlefield.