Sophie Wessex news: How the Countess of Wessex broke royal history this week

The event was broadcast by the Vision Foundation, of which Sophie is patron, and was available for its supporters to watch.

During the session, Sophie said: “For the blind and partially sighted amongst us, these past months have been especially challenging.

“However, through the care that the Vision Foundation has extended to those in difficulty, I am hopeful that the people we care for will feel empowered within their communities.”

In the past, the Countess of Wessex has advocated for the visually impaired and worked to curb avoidable blindness around the world.



Archaeology breakthrough: Christopher Columbus find could rewrite European history  

The Italian completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean, opening the way for European exploration and colonisation of the Americas. His expeditions, sponsored by the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, were the first European contact with the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. But the navigator has also long been blamed for carrying the sexually transmitted infection syphilis from the Americas to Europe through his crewmen.

New research, published in the journal ‘Current Biology,’ suggests this could be unfair, though.

Scientists have uncovered traces of the bacteria that causes syphilis in nine skeletons found by archaeologists in Finland, Estonia and the Netherlands that predate Columbus’ explorations. 

Study author Verena Schunemann, from the University of Zurich, said: “It seems that the first known syphilis breakout cannot be solely attributed to Columbus’ voyages to America.”

Four of the nine samples carried traces of syphilis, according to the study. 

Using a technique called molecular clock dating, the team was able to determine how old the bacterial genes were. 

They coupled this information with the skeletons’ and coffins’ ages to create a timeline.

The disease, which is now easily curable, took hold in Europe during the late 15th century and killed millions over the following two centuries. 

But the researchers found evidence of related bacterial strains in the historical remains – including a disease called yaws, which still exists today in tropical and subtropical regions. 

Remarkably, they identified another previously unknown pathogen as well.

READ MORE: Archaeology bombshell: Shipwreck’s ‘chest of gold’ find could solve 16th-century mystery

Evolutionary epidemiologist Edward Holmes of the University of Sydney, who was not involved in the study, told Science: “It’s really interesting and really important that they’ve got these syphilis strains at around that time. 

“What I’m less sure about is the exact time scale of the samples.”

Although syphilis is treatable when detected early, it is still a rapidly spreading disease.  

The most recent World Health Organisation data estimated that there were six million new cases of syphilis worldwide in 2016.



Royal history rewritten: Harold was ‘NOT shot in eye’ when William the Conqueror invaded

Harold’s death at the Battle of Hastings is one of the most significant moments of English history. William’s victory in Sussex sparked the beginning of a new age, as the Normans set about creating a new dynasty. The Bayeux Tapestry, thought to have been commissioned shortly after the battle, has gone down in history as the most famous witness to Harold’s death.

But the depiction may not show the king being shot by an arrow at all.

Accounts from the years immediately after William’s invasion make no mention of an arrow when describing Harold’s death. 

The Carmen de Hastingae Proelio, an early Norman history of the battle, reported that William and three knights broke through the English defences, where they butchered Harold.

It read: “The first of the four, piercing the king’s shield and chest with his lance, drenched the ground with a gushing stream of blood. 

William the Conqueror

Royal history rewritten: Harold was ‘NOT shot in eye’ when William the Conqueror invaded (Image: GETTY)

The Bayeux Tapestry

The Bayeux Tapestry (Image: GETTY)

“The second with his sword cut off his head below the protection of his helm. The third liquefied his entrails with his spear. And the fourth cut off his thigh and carried it some distance away.”

This, as Professor Martin Foys points out, is supported by numerous other accounts from the period ‒ but very few mention an arrow to the eye.

French bishop Baudri of Bourgueil wrote a long poem dedicated to Adela of Blois, one of William the Conqueror’s daughters, 40 years after the Normans first landed.

The bishop claims Harold was killed by a “lethal arrow”. 

READ MORE: Royal row unveiled as alternative cause of death for Edward V exposed

Harold was defeated at the Battle of Hastings

Harold was defeated at the Battle of Hastings (Image: GETTY)

A few decades later, English historian William of Malmesbury used the phrase again ‒ but crucially elaborated that the arrow pierced Harold’s brain and then he was hacked at by a knight as he lay on the ground.

Two other 12th-century accounts helped to fix the story in the popular imagination for centuries to come. 

English historian Henry of Huntingdon reported that a shower of Norman arrows fell around Harold and one “struck him in the eye”. 

And the Norman chronicler Wace related that during the battle an arrow grievously wounds the king “above the right eye”. 

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Hastings today

Hastings today (Image: GETTY)

Royal Family tree

Royal Family tree (Image: GETTY)

However, as Prof Foys notes in his piece for History Today, the Bayeux Tapestry remains the most convincing piece of evidence.

The final battle scene shows a knight with an arrow in his eye. The inscription reads: “Here King Harold is killed.” 

Prof Foys – editor of ‘The Bayeux Tapestry: New Interpretations’ – does not believe the story is quite that simple.

He writes: “The Anglo-Saxon shield wall on the left is breached by a charging Norman horseman, cutting down a falling Englishman holding an axe – indisputably identified as Harold – at the centre of the action. 

“However, immediately behind the breached wall, the standing figure with his fist raised has also been identified as Harold.

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“The case appears easy to make: the word ‘Harold’ breaks around the standing figure’s head and he appears to be pulling an arrow out of his head. 

“This neatly aligns with the later narratives, where Harold is first struck by an arrow and then killed by Norman cavalry.

“But a closer look at the form and history of this scene muddies the water.”

He then suggests that, when the Bayeux Tapestry was altered in the 19th-century, the depiction of Harold’s death was changed to fit the literary narrative.

Royal line of succession

Royal line of succession (Image: GETTY)

If true, it throws the debate around Harold’s real cause of death wide open.

Prof Foys concluded: “In other Tapestry scenes with long inscriptions, names are often not close to the figures they represent. 

“In the earlier scene of Harold’s oath to William, for instance, Harold’s name appears over William’s head. 

“And in Harold’s death scene, the arrow of the figure in question is not original, but was added during 19th-century French repairs.

“It is possible that conservators altered the textile’s content to fit later medieval literary traditions.”



Archaeology breakthrough: Christopher Columbus find could rewrite European history  

The Italian completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean, opening the way for European exploration and colonisation of the Americas. His expeditions, sponsored by the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, were the first European contact with the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. But the navigator has also long been blamed for carrying the sexually transmitted infection syphilis from the Americas to Europe through his crewmen.

New research, published in the journal ‘Current Biology,’ suggests this could be unfair, though.

Scientists have uncovered traces of the bacteria that causes syphilis in nine skeletons found by archaeologists in Finland, Estonia and the Netherlands that predate Columbus’ explorations. 

Study author Verena Schunemann, from the University of Zurich, said: “It seems that the first known syphilis breakout cannot be solely attributed to Columbus’ voyages to America.”

Four of the nine samples carried traces of syphilis, according to the study. 

Using a technique called molecular clock dating, the team was able to determine how old the bacterial genes were. 

They coupled this information with the skeletons’ and coffins’ ages to create a timeline.

The disease, which is now easily curable, took hold in Europe during the late 15th century and killed millions over the following two centuries. 

But the researchers found evidence of related bacterial strains in the historical remains – including a disease called yaws, which still exists today in tropical and subtropical regions. 

Remarkably, they identified another previously unknown pathogen as well.

READ MORE: Archaeology bombshell: Shipwreck’s ‘chest of gold’ find could solve 16th-century mystery

Evolutionary epidemiologist Edward Holmes of the University of Sydney, who was not involved in the study, told Science: “It’s really interesting and really important that they’ve got these syphilis strains at around that time. 

“What I’m less sure about is the exact time scale of the samples.”

Although syphilis is treatable when detected early, it is still a rapidly spreading disease.  

The most recent World Health Organisation data estimated that there were six million new cases of syphilis worldwide in 2016.



Archaeology breakthrough: 'Nationally significant' discovery changes face of UK history

The graves, around 200 of them, date back to the 7th Century. Uncovered in Oulton, near Lowestoft in Suffolk, ahead of construction of a housing development. In the burial ground, the remains of men, women and children were found.

Artefacts including brooches, small iron knives and silver pennies were also found at the site.

Suffolk’s Archaeological Service said studies would help establish the graveyard’s links to other local sites.

A spokesman said the site “lies within the Kingdom of the East Angles, made famous by the royal burial ground at nearby Sutton Hoo”.

Sutton Hoo was discovered in 1939.

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Archaeology breakthrough: The researchers uncovered a mass of Anglo-Saxon graves

Archaeology breakthrough: The researchers uncovered a mass of Anglo-Saxon graves (Image: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL/Getty)

Artefacts: Some of the relics included wrist clasps, strings of amber and glass beads

Artefacts: Some of the relics included wrist clasps, strings of amber and glass beads (Image: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL)

It included two cemeteries from the 6th to 7th centuries and a ship burial full of treasures believed to be the final resting place of King Raedwald – King of East Anglia from 599 – 624 AD.

The majority of the skeletons are only visible as “sand-silhouettes”.

This is a delicate form of preservation in which the outlines of remains can be seen in granular material.

Also found is what appears to be several generations of a small farming community.

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Relics: Other things like copper-alloy brooches and glass beads were discovered

Relics: Other things like copper-alloy brooches and glass beads were discovered (Image: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL)

The county council’s archaeological service said the excavation of such cemeteries in their entirety was rare in England.

It is this that made the discovery “nationally significant” – offering a glimpse into potential wider trends throughout the UK at the same time.

The council’s spokesman said: “It is important we oversee and record this work so that we can understand the community buried here and its connections to other finds in Oulton and the nearby settlements and cemeteries at Carlton Colville and Flixton.”

Andrew Peachey, of Archaeological Solutions Ltd, which carried out the excavations, said the remains of 17 cremations and 191 burials were “painstakingly excavated”.

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Sand silhouettes: Many of the skeletal remains can only be seen as outlines in the granular material

Sand silhouettes: Many of the skeletal remains can only be seen as outlines in the granular material (Image: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL)

Archaeology latest: Researchers were particularly careful when digging around the wooden coffins

Archaeology latest: Researchers were particularly careful when digging around the wooden coffins (Image: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL)

He said: “Due to the highly acidic soil the skeletons had mostly vanished and were luckily preserved as fragile shapes and shadows in the sand.”

He added that many of the artefacts were so fragile they had “to be block-lifted for micro-excavation in the labs at Norfolk Museum Service”.

The remains have now been fully excavated ahead of the Persimmon Homes Anglia housing development.

Archaeological discoveries: Some of the most ground-breaking discoveries ever made on record

Archaeological discoveries: Some of the most ground-breaking discoveries ever made on record (Image: Express Newspapers)

They will undergo specialist analysis and eventually go on public display.

The Anglo-Saxons began to attack Britain towards the end of Roman rule from around 400 AD.

Arriving from Denmark, Northern Germany and the Netherlands, the Anglo-Saxons engaged in fierce battle with Britons who attempted to defend their land.

Anglo-Saxons: A tapestry depicting the death of St Edmund, King of East Anglia between 855 and 869AD

Anglo-Saxons: A tapestry depicting the death of St Edmund, King of East Anglia between 855 and 869AD (Image: GETTY)

Being from so many different parts of modern day Northern Europe, the Anglo-Saxons were split up into tribes and attacked various parts of Britain in their designated groups.

This meant that there wasn’t any one Anglo-Saxon ruler, with tribes taking over and dividing sections of Britain for themselves.

They stayed for around 600 years until the Norman Conquest sparked yet another stage in the country’s tumultuous history.



Church seeks families of founding members; Good Hope AME turns 157


Snider said the church grounds were also the site of a Masonic Temple.

“Instructors from Claflin College and (then) South Carolina State College visited the church and chose the church as a site to establish a Masonic organization. The Masonic Temple was located on the church grounds,” Snider said.

The present church, located at 1849 Carver School Road, was dedicated in 1992 and is led by the Rev. Dr. Georgeann Pringle. The church has 350 members.

A child development and learning center and the addition of a new sound system are among the church’s accomplishments. It has also participated in a summer feeding program, along with prison and nursing home ministries.

Since 2011, single’s, couple’s and senior’s ministries have been established, a 15-passenger van has been purchased and a food bank ministry and Clothes Closet have started.

The Good Hope Medical Clinic was also added to assist individuals with their medical needs. The church hosts a medical clinic every third Friday of each month.

Snider said the church is special because it is a family-oriented church, with both her maternal and paternal great-great-grandfathers having their names on the church’s cornerstone.

“I find it to be exciting that Jim Cleckley, who was my great-great-grandfather, was a founding father. That was on my father’s side of the family. On my mother’s side of the family, my great-great-grandfather, Burl Huggins, was one of the founding fathers. I just find that exciting in and of itself because those two families actually have direct descendants in the church,” she said.

Camilla makes history: Duchess receives major honour after replacing Prince Philip

Camilla donned a Rifles green coat dress and a bugle brooch as she carried out the historic engagement. To honour their new Colonel-in-Chief, The Rifles gave the Duchess of Cornwall a special fanfire as she arrived at Beachley Barracks in Chepstow.  

Camilla took over this role on July 22, Prince George’s seventh birthday, from the Duke of Edinburgh. 

Prince Philip, who had been Colonel-in-Chief of this infantry regiment since it was created in 2007, stepped out of Windsor Castle two months ago to officially relinquish in role in favour of his daughter-in-law. 

The Duke, who appeared in excellent health and high spirits, inspected the guard and received the salute of Assistant Colonel Commandant, Major General Tom Copinger-Symes. 

Thanking Prince Philip for his continuous support, he said: “Your Royal Highness, Colonel-in-Chief, good morning. 

“And happy Salamanca Day All Rifleman, whether serving or retired would like to thank you for 67 years of continuous service, support and leadership to the Rifles and to our forming and antecedent regiments.

“And on this occasion, as you hand over your duties as Colonel-in-Chief to her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cornwall, we would like to wish you fair wind and following seas.

“And with that, Sir, may I have your leave for the Bugle Major to sound the Rifle Call and No More Parades.”

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Natural History Museum to review ‘offensive’ Charles Darwin collection

A review in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement has led to an audit into rooms, statues and items that some staff believe are “legacies of colonies, slavery and empire”. Collections deemed “problematic” could be renamed, relabelled or removed.

In documents seen by The Sunday Telegraph, the executive board told staff the museum would carry out a review into room names, statues and collections that “could potentially cause offence”.

One of the museum’s directors said action taken in response would alter “the use and display of our collections and public spaces”.

The executive board is understood to be “very engaged with the many issues and questions” highlighted in a paper by a curator which claimed “science, racism, and colonial power were inherently entwined”.

The paper adds that “museums were put in place to legitimise a racist ideology”, “covert racism exists in the gaps between the displays”, and therefore collections need to be decolonised.

Specimens gathered by Darwin could be among those under threat.

Michael Dixon, the director of the Natural History Museum, said to staff: “The Black Lives Matter movement has demonstrated that we need to do more and act faster, so as a first step we have commenced an institution-wide review on naming and recognition.

“We want to learn and educate ourselves, recognising that greater understanding and awareness on diversity and inclusion are essential.”

READ MORE: ‘Pathetic’: Woke brigade rage after BBC’s Rule Britannia climbdown

“The clue is in the name: Natural History Museum. Information about the past isn’t offensive. Get a grip.”

Deputy director of the Adam Smith Institute, Matt Kilcoyne, wrote: “If the @NHM_London decide they don’t want the Darwin collection, I am very very very willing to take it for them.”

Susan Hall, leader of the Greater London Authority Conservatives, blasted: “Offensive to who???

“The majority of us are not at all offended don’t we have a voice?

“The ‘offended’ brigade will try to erase our History.”

Comedian Andrew Doyle added: “A museum is a building in which historical artefacts are exhibited.

“It does not need to be ‘decolonised’ of potentially ‘offensive’ items.

“The people in charge of these institutions need to stop capitulating to this lunacy.”



Professor apologizes for claiming she is black

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KS (KCTV) — Her name was one of the biggest topics on social media today: Jessica Krug. Krug, an associate professor of African American history, admits she’s been pretending to be Black for her entire career.

She’s from right here in the metro, so KCTV5’s Betsy Webster has been digging into her local past all day long – and joins us live in prairie village with what she’s found.

Her family told Webster she grew up in Overland Park and, although at a young age she was passionate about Black and Native American rights, her identity then was as a white Jewish girl.

Her bat mitzvah was held at Ohev Sholom.

They said they had no idea she had been passing herself off as Black until calls came flooding in from news media.

Last year, Jessica Krug spoke on a Columbia University panel about the African diaspora.

She’s an associate history professor at George Washington University in D.C.

The relatives Webster spoke to had to squint to recognize her, saying she stopped communicating with her family years ago and even failed to show for her mom’s funeral seven years ago.

She made her announcement today on a blog platform and titled it, “The Truth, and the Anti-Black Violence of My Lies.”

Krug had plenty to say herself about why her lie was harmful. “Doing so is the very epitome of violence, of thievery and appropriation,” she wrote. “I am not a culture vulture. I am a culture leech.”

She wrote that she changed the specifics of her purported Black roots over the years from North African to Caribbean. She said no explanation could excuse her but also said: “The mental health professionals from whom I have been so belatedly seeking help assure me that this is a common response to some of the severe trauma that marked my early childhood and teen years.“

The relatives we spoke with weren’t aware of any trauma.

They said she attended Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy until high school, then transferred to and graduated from The Barstow School, an elite private school in South Kansas City.

Webster checked and George Washington University still lists her as an associate professor on their website, with two courses scheduled for the fall semester in African and Latin American history.

In her post, Krug made a reference to so-called “cancel culture.” She said, “You should absolutely cancel me, and I absolutely cancel myself.” However, she didn’t go so far as to say she was stepping down from her position.

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