3 June 1861

In what has been described as the first land action of the American Civil War, a Union force of 3,000 surprised 800 Confederates at Philippi, Virginia. The speed of the Confederate retreat gained the action the mocking title of ‘the Philippi Races’.


3 June 1937: Wallis and Edward throw a not-so royal wedding

The pair finally marry after Edward’s abdication

Today it seems unimaginable that a member of the House of Windsor would relinquish his royal duties after falling in love with an American divorcee. But things were very different in the 1930s.

On 3 June 1937, six months after Edward VIII had abdicated the British throne in order to marry the woman he loved, he was united, once and for all, with Wallis Simpson. The venue was the Chateau de Candé, near Tours, which was owned by the half-American millionaire Charles Bedaux.

But despite the glamorous location, it was not quite the star-spangled occasion for which the couple might have hoped. For one thing, the Church of England refused to sanction the wedding, so they found it very hard to get hold of a priest. In the end, a left-leaning Darlington vicar, Robert Anderson Jardine, agreed to do it, sailing across the Channel specifically.

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Unfortunately, this was not a good career move for Jardine. When he returned to the North East, his local vestry committee resigned in protest. He ended up emigrating to California.

Back, though, to the big day. Optimistically, the organisers put out lots of chairs, but in the end fewer than 20 people turned up. Edward had hoped that his brothers, the dukes of Kent and Gloucester, would show their support, but the new king, George VI, said no. His mother, Queen Mary, was outraged that Edward dared to get married on his late father’s birthday, so that cast a bit of a shadow, too.

The outstandingly drunken Randolph Churchill did turn up, though. As did the best man. In a touch that defies parody, his name was Fruity Metcalfe, and he was a member of the British Union of Fascists.

Still, the bride and groom were happy enough. Wallis wore a very glamorous pale blue wedding dress and an engagement ring engraved with the words ‘We are ours now’. | Written by Dominic Sandbrook

3 June 1973

A Soviet Tu-144 supersonic aircraft crashed at the Paris Air Show killing all six people on board and a further eight people on the ground.


3 June 1982

Shlomo Argov, Israel’s ambassador to the UK, was shot and gravely wounded by members of the Abu Nidal terrorist group while leaving a function at the Dorchester hotel.

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