On this day
1431: Joan of Arc, French peasant girl who became a national heroine, was burned at the stake in Rouen for heresy. She was canonised in 1920 on the anniversary of her death. 1498: Christopher Columbus set sail on his third voyage of discovery in which he discovered the South American mainland. 1536: King Henry VIII married Jane Seymour, 11 days after the execution of Anne Boleyn. 1656: The Grenadier Guards, the senior regiment of the British Army, was formed. 1842: An attempt was made on the life of Queen Victoria as she drove down Constitution Hill with Prince Albert. The would-be assassin was John Francis. 1946: Labour minister of food John Strachey announced that bread would be rationed. 1959: The first full-sized experimental hovercraft, built by Saunders-Roe, was launched at Cowes on the Isle of Wight. ON THIS DAY LAST YEAR: Sir Paul McCartney insisted he no longer smokes cannabis because he does not want to set “an example” for his grandchildren.