Nigel Jones

The Most Precocious Premier

William Pitt The Younger

By

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SOMETIMES THERE ARE two versions – one sublime, the other ridiculous – of even the most well-witnessed famous last words. Did George V, for example, really enquire about the progress of the Empire as he wheezed his last in 1936, or, more credibly, did he growl a brief nautical riposte – ‘Bugger Bognor!’ – to a courtier’s fawning suggestion that he would soon recover sufficiently to recuperate at the aforesaid Sussex resort?

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