July 23: Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson at Westminster
Abbey. They became the Duke and Duchess of York on a day that
could best be described as jolly. Sarah Ferguson was not in the
blushing-bride mould of Princess Diana. She was a free-spirited
redhead who had enjoyed a lively past as a chalet maid and another
man's long-term girlfriend.
Fergie, as she was immediately nicknamed, was seen as the perfect
antidote to a monarchy in danger of taking protocol, and itself,
rather too seriously. Here, agreed the royal-watchers, was a breath
of fresh air through the dusty old Windsor corridors. And as the
crowds lined the streets of London to wish the young couple well,
all seemed set for another fairytale marriage.
It was not to be. Andrew's commitments as a helicopter pilot
(he had covered himself in glory during the Falklands war) kept
him away from home. Sarah's liveliness spilled over into silliness
and indiscretion. They drifted apart. When she was seen canoodling
with another man, with the royal princesses playing nearby, it
was too much. Divorce proceedings began and the Queen could only
watch helplessly as yet another of her children's marriages headed
January 28. The space shuttle Challenger explodes just
72 seconds after lift-off from Cape Canaveral killing the crew
of five men and two women. The spectacular disaster in which the
fuel tank exploded was witnessed by millions live on television.
Among the dead is 37-year-old teacher Christa McAuliffe - the
first ordinary US citizen chosen to go into space.
26. Nuclear disaster in the Soviet Union - the Chernobyl power
station, near Kiev, in the Ukraine was in flames after an explosion
blew the top off a reactor emitting a massive radioactive cloud.
The radioactivity drifted over northern Europe hitting crops and
livestock in many countries, including sheep and cattle in Snowdonia
and Cumbria. In the heroic effort to contain the fire at the nuclear
power station 30 firefighters and plant workers die. Confidence
in the future of nuclear energy as a power source was shaken throughout
November 21. A massive 20 million Government campaign
to warn the British public about the danger of the disease Aids
was launched. The campaign with the slogan "Aids - Don't Die of
Ignorance" came in the wake of more than 500 cases in Britain
with the number of deaths doubling every 10 months. Public health
officials estimate that 30,000 are infected with the HIV virus
which leads to the development of Aids - Acquired Immune Deficiency
Syndrome. Leaflets were sent out to 23 million household with
the messages of safe sex and never sharing needles.
April 15. US bombers, some flying from British bases,
attacked the Libyan capital Tripoli and Benghazi. The attack came
in the wake of confrontation between US and Libyan aircraft in
the Mediterranean in reprisal for Libyan-organised terrorist action
against US citizens in Europe. Libyan leader Colonel Gadaffi escaped
unharmed, but 15 civilians were killed. Three hostages were killed
in Lebanon in retaliation for the attack.
January 9. Defence Secretary Michael
Heseltine resigned over the Westland helicopter affair.
February 16. Violent clashes between
police and 5,000 pickets outside Rupert Murdoch's printing
plant at Wapping.
February 25. President Ferdinand
Marcos and his wife fled the Philippines as Corazon Aquino
installed as new president.
Heartbreaking news for 5,000 runners when the previous day's
Wolverhampton Marathon was declared 732 yards too short
The Duchess of Windsor, widow of the late king Edward VIII,
died in Paris aged 89.
June 29. Argentina beat West Germany
3-2 to win the World Cup in Mexico - England's Gary Lineker
is Golden Boot winner as top goal scorer.
July 25. The Court of Appeal banned
publication of former MI5 officer Peter Wright's book Spycatcher.
September 1. Wolverhampton Crown
Court hears that an eight-year-old girl was involved in
a sex act with an older prostitute in the town.
October 26. Jeffrey Archer resigned
as deputy chairman of the Conservative Party over newspaper
allegations of a scandal.
November 3. Sandwell schools were
urged by the town's Community Relations Council to withdraw
"racist" school books containing cartoon chimps.
November 6. A helicopter carrying
oil rig workers crashed off the Shetland Islands killing
November 7. Goodyear turned down
a 5,000 million bid from Sir James Goldsmith. Goodyear,
employing 4,000 in Wolverhampton, described the offer as
December 27. A Birmingham vicar,
the Rev. Michael Counsell, warned Christians against "gloating"
over the Aids plague.