12 May 1191

Berengaria of Navarre married King Richard I of England in the Chapel of St George in Limassol, Cyprus and was crowned queen on the same day. She is the only queen of England never to have set foot on English soil.


12 May 1310

In Paris, 54 Templars were burned at the stake outside the Porte St Antoine. Two years later their order was formally dissolved by Pope Clement V.

12 May 1588

The Day of the Barricades sees the citizens of Paris, supported by the forces of Catholic leader the Duke of Guise, rebel against King Henry III of France and force him to flee the city. Henry later engineers the assassination of Guise and his brother and joins forces with his old enemies, the Huguenots, acknowledging their leader Henry of Navarre as his successor. The following year he returns with an army to besiege Paris but is himself assassinated – stabbed to death by Jacques Clément, a fanatical Dominican friar.

12 May 1809

Helped by the local Portuguese, British troops under Sir Arthur Wellesley cross the river Douro at Oporto and catch Marshal Soult's French army by surprise. The French are forced into a hasty retreat.

12 May 1907

Birth in Singapore of Leslie Charteris, creator of The Saint.

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12 May 1942

Start of the second battle of Kharkov in which a major Soviet attempt to recapture the city from the Germans was encircled and smashed by a German counter-attack.

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