Today in 1066 AD:
The Battle of Hastings[a] was fought on 14 October 1066 between the Norman-French army of William, the Duke of Normandy, and an English army under the Anglo-Saxon King Harold Godwinson, beginning the Norman conquest of England. It took place approximately 7 miles (11 kilometres) northwest of Hastings, close to the present-day town of Battle, East Sussex, and was a decisive Norman victory.
This is when it all started, the British (Norman) Empire, that is.
If it hadn’t been for William the Conqueror turning sleepy England into a brutal imperial power determined to conquer every neighbour with its superior armed forces, there would have been no conquest of the rest of the British Isles, no colonisation of a quarter of the planet, no Queen Vic, no spitfires.
Why is Great Britain not celebrating its birthday?
Why are there no spitfires overhead? Now if Harold had had even one spitfire, things would have been very different. You can never have too many spitfires.
It doesn’t bear thinking about. Imagine, the Anglo-Saxons had won. We’d have no entrepreneurs, chauffeurs or omelettes!
On a positive note, those easy going Anglo-Saxons with their saintly kings might have given up on conquering the Celtic nations and we’d all be living happily, independently, together in a loose-fitting trading and defence bloc.
Even better, we wouldn’t have invaded anyone, certainly not Iraq. A very different Alistair Campbell would live his life, serving as a piper in the Burnley Peak District Light Infantry, based in Burnley, never knowing the word ‘dossier’ but coincidentally still though of as ‘dodgy.’