TIME U.K.

A New Image of William Shakespeare Has Been Discovered, Historian Says

Shakespeare Portrait
Country Life A historian belives that this is the only surviving image of William Shakespeare produced in his lifetime. To the right of the head is a cipher, which translates as William Shakespeare.

Mark Griffiths found the image in the 1598 The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes written by the playwright's friend John Gerard

A historian claims he has discovered the only surviving image of William Shakespeare that was produced in his lifetime.

Mark Griffiths, who is also a botanist, found the image in a book published in 1598, The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes by John Gerard. The 1,484-page encyclopaedia of plants has four portraits on its title page, the fourth of which Griffiths believes is Shakespeare.

Griffiths said: “While working late on Midsummer’s Night 2010, I identified a man who is portrayed, unnamed, on the title page of Gerard’s Herball. At first, I found it hard to believe that anyone so famous, so universally sought, could have hidden in plain sight for so long.”

The four figures are not named but Griffiths believes that they can be identified by visual clues contained in the illustrations that surround the subjects. The first was Gerard the author, the second, Rembert Dodoens, a renowned Flemish botanist, and the third, Queen Elizabeth’s Lord Treasurer, Lord Burghley.

At the time of publication, Dodoens was a source of inspiration to Gerard, who gardened for Burghley. Gerard’s book is also dedicated to Burghley.

The fourth man holds lily-like flowers and an ear of corn, which feature in Shakespeare’s earliest poem and play in print—Venus and Adonis, published in 1593, and Titus Andronicus in 1594. The connection would have been obvious to people who went to the theater or read printed versions of the works. Also, the image of Shakespeare stands on a plinth marked with a cipher which translates to “William Shakespeare.”

Until now, the only images of Shakespeare were found in the First Folio of his works and his monument at Holy Trinity Church, Stratford. Both were created after his death.

The revelations were printed in the London weekly magazine Country Life, which is owned by Time Inc, the owners of Time. Editor Mark Hedges said Griffiths’ work was the literary discovery of the century. “We have a new portrait of Shakespeare, the first ever that is identified as him by the artist and made in his lifetime,” he said. “Mark Griffiths’ unrivaled specialist knowledge as an expert in the role of flora in the literature of the English Renaissance made him uniquely qualified to discover the greatest Elizabethan of all.”

In the magazine, Mark Griffiths wrote that the image of Shakespeare is the clearest representation of what the playwright looked like in the prime of his life.“The Fourth Man (Shakespeare) is not cartoonish or stylised. It may be monochrome, in fancy dress, and just 3½ inches tall, but this is something that has been sought for centuries. This is what Shakespeare looked like, drawn from life and in the prime of life.”

He explained that the significance of the engraving faded from historical memory. “The title page, one of the richest and most important artworks of the English Renaissance, came to be seen merely as a bibliophile’s rarity and a fine, if stereotypical specimen of Elizabethan decoration. Nobody dreamed of finding Shakespeare in it,” Griffiths wrote.

TIME U.K.

Nurse Found Guilty of Murdering Patients in U.K.

An undated handout photograph shows 49 year old Filipino Victorino Chua, a former nurse at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport, north west England.
Greater Manchester Police/EPA An undated handout photograph shows 49 year old Filipino Victorino Chua, a former nurse at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport, north west England.

Victorino Chua was found guilty of poisoning patients at the hospital where he worked

A nurse working in a hospital in north England has been found guilty of murdering two patients and poisoning many others.

Victorino Chua, a 49-year-old father of two, was found guilty of killing 44-year-old Tracey Arden and 83-year-old Derek Weaver, both patients at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport, England, where Chua worked, by injecting insulin into saline bags, which were then inadvertently used by other nurses. The court heard that Chua also “changed tack” after police were alerted and began sabotaging prescription charts, increasing patients’ dosages. Chua was cleared in the death of a third patient, Arnold Lancaster.

The poisonings took place between June 2011 and January 2012, when Chua was first arrested, BBC reports. Chua was then rearrested in March 2014.

During the trial, the court was shown a letter found in Chua’s home in which the nurse wrote that he was “an angel turned into an evil person” and “there’s a devil in me.” Yet the prosecutor, Peter Wright QC, told the jury that the motive for the nurse’s actions was “impossible to fathom.” Chua now faces life in prison.

TIME U.K.

A Disunited Kingdom

Britain’s election could mean an unruly exit from the E.U.

With the parliamentary elections behind us, we now have an unobstructed view of how one of the world’s most important political stories will unfold. Prime Minister David Cameron, who shocked pollsters by winning an outright majority in elections on May 7, promised voters a referendum by the end of 2017 on whether Britain will remain a member of the European Union. Some observers say that it’s all smoke, that Britons surely won’t vote to exit the E.U. Maybe. But the possibility of an exit–and the fear, anxiety and opportunism it generates–make this a story the world dare not ignore.

Britain’s economy is among the strongest in Europe. Its GDP grew by 2.6% last year, one of the best performances in the developed world. Employment stands at a record high. Yet Britain’s election results prove once again that the anti-E.U. populism now roiling European politics is alive and well in the U.K. Conservatives won their majority in part by promising a vote on E.U. membership that many party members don’t actually want. Labour, which carefully hedged its referendum bets, took a beating of surprising scale. The election’s biggest loser, the centrist Liberal Democrats, proved beyond a doubt that in this political climate, the middle of the road is the surest place to get hit by a truck.

The only pro-E.U. winner in Britain’s vote was the Scottish National Party (SNP), which won 56 of Scotland’s 59 contested seats just months after leading a failed effort to win Scotland’s independence from the U.K. Another winner was the Euroskeptic right-wing U.K. Independence Party (UKIP). The party won just one seat in the House of Commons, but its 12.6% of the national vote was more than either the Liberal Democrats or SNP could muster. Beyond its seat or vote count, UKIP has changed British politics by giving voice to public frustration with the E.U. and pushing the referendum to center stage.

Now the referendum is coming. What’s at stake? In many ways, E.U. membership has served Britain well–particularly its supersize banking sector, which has helped make London into a global city. In 2014, financial and insurance services brought in $193.7 billion in gross value added (GVA) to the U.K. economy, totaling 8% of the U.K.’s GVA. It’s little surprise, then, that fear of a British exit–which could seriously upset the international banking industry–has persuaded some U.K. financial institutions to send up warnings. Some 72% of British companies polled by the firm Grant Thornton say an exit would hurt business. HSBC has warned that it would consider relocating its headquarters from London should the U.K. leave the E.U.

No wonder British firms are on edge. By some estimates, “Brexit” would cost the U.K. $330 billion, or 14% of its GDP. After leaving, Britain would have to renegotiate trade relationships with individual E.U. members, and its government would lose much of its international clout. London would also become a less important ally for the U.S., which values Britain in part for its influence within the E.U. Finally, if polls suggest that a British exit is really possible, an empowered SNP might demand that overwhelmingly pro-E.U. Scots again get to vote on Scottish independence–and this time, they might well win.

The E.U. would also lose from a British exit, which would cost it 12.5% of its population, 14.8% of its economy and an experienced and engaged military power with the E.U.’s strongest ties to Washington. It’s also worth noting that Britain contributed more than $19 billion to the E.U. budget in 2013 while taking out just $7.1 billion. If Britain exits, Germany and others will have to make up the difference.

Right now, British voters are roughly split on an E.U. exit. In a recent poll by the consultancy Populus, 39% said they want to leave, while about 40% said they want to stay. That leaves a lot of undecided voters, and much will happen over the next two years. Bets will be hedged and preparations made, in Britain and across Europe. That alone will be a story worth following.

Foreign-affairs columnist Bremmer is the president of Eurasia Group, a political-risk consultancy


This appears in the May 25, 2015 issue of TIME.
TIME U.K.

Prince Charles’ Secret ‘Black Spider’ Letters to be Published Wednesday

Britain's Prince Charles smiles as he visits a classroom the Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School in Washington on March 19, 2015.
Carolyn Kaster—AP Britain's Prince Charles smiles as he visits a classroom the Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School in Washington on March 19, 2015.

The U.K. government has lost a court battle to keep the heir to the throne's letters to ministers secret

LONDON — Prince Charles’ secret letters to government officials are set to be released to the public after a long court battle.

The 27 contested letters have been called the “black spider” memos because of Charles’ handwriting style. The memos to be published Wednesday have long been sought via a Freedom of Information Act request by Guardian newspaper journalist Rob Evans.

Britain’s Supreme Court in March supported a lower court ruling that the letters be published. The government has sought for years to keep the letters out of the public domain for fear that publishing them might damage public perceptions of Charles’ neutrality.

As heir to the throne, Charles is expected to stay out of political matters. He has in the past expressed views about architecture, genetically modified food and climate change.

TIME U.K.

Despite Majority, U.K.’s Cameron Faces Conservative Rebellion

Prime Minister David Cameron (center) leaves a V.E. Day veterans reception, at St. Jame's Park in London
Yui Mok—PA Wire/Press Association Images Prime Minister David Cameron leaves a V.E. Day veterans reception, at St. James' Park in London

It's not going to be smooth sailing for the next five years

(LONDON) — Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives may have won the British election and ushered their coalition partner out the door, but that doesn’t mean it’s all smooth sailing for his government for the next five years.

With influential Euroskeptics clamoring in his own party and a very slim majority in Parliament, Cameron will have a hard time tackling the big headaches looming over his second term: Britain’s membership in the 28-nation European Union and the growing movement for Scottish independence.

“He would like to be seen as leading a governing party which is united on a core issue at the center of the political debate, but that’s unlikely to happen,” said Colin Hay, a British politics professor at the Paris Institute of Political Studies. “It’s going to be really tough.”

Cameron’s Conservatives won an unexpected majority in last week’s election, ensuring that he returns to 10 Downing Street with enough power to govern alone. His first term saw Cameron sharing power with the left-of-center Liberal Democrats, who held key positions in a sometimes-awkward coalition government.

Within hours of declaring victory Friday, Cameron re-appointed his four highest-ranking ministers — those heading defense, the Treasury, home and foreign affairs — to their posts. No big surprises are expected when the rest of the new, all-Tory Cabinet is unveiled this week.

The message of stability and continuity is clear: “Keep calm and carry on,” as the Times newspaper put it in a headline.

That is easier said than done in Britain’s rowdy Parliament, where Cameron does not have full support from his party on the two key topics of Scotland and membership in the EU. The Conservatives now have a tiny majority — holding just over half of the House of Commons’ 650 seats — meaning that a dozen defiant Tories could potentially derail important policies.

Rebellion has long simmered in the Conservatives’ more right-wing factions, where many want Britain to pull out of the EU. The presence of the pro-EU Liberal Democrats in the government meant that such a move had been out of the question for the past five years.

Radical Conservatives also disagree with their more moderate colleagues over how to deal with the question of Scotland, where the separatist Scottish National Party gained an unprecedented landslide victory in the race for seats in the British Parliament, winning 56 of Scotland’s 59 seats.

Cameron and those who back him will do everything to keep Scotland’s centuries-old union with England, but some Conservatives are leery of ceding too much power to the north without getting reciprocal benefits for England.

The infighting over those two issues is likely to come to a head in the next two years. Responding to widespread British distrust of Brussels, Cameron has promised to hold a referendum on whether Britain should leave or stay in the EU by the end of 2017. He has maintained that he can negotiate better terms for Britain’s EU membership and increase Britain’s ability to control the flow of EU migrants to the country.

Cameron plans to meet with restive Conservative legislators Monday to discuss plans for EU reform in an effort to unify the party before discussions with EU leaders about possible modifications to the terms of Britain’s membership.

But many rank-and-file Conservatives want much tougher changes, and some have made up their minds that no settlement will be good enough.

“It was a very rebellious parliament the last time,” said Simon Usherwood, politics lecturer at the University of Surrey. “You’ve got some pretty serious Euro-skeptics.”

He said it was actually easier for Cameron under the last coalition government.

“Now you can’t blame someone else for not being able to get something done,” Usherwood said.

Cameron’s two major dilemmas are linked: A British withdrawal from the EU would make Scottish nationalists very unhappy and hasten their independence bid.

One area where Cameron will feel less restraint in his new majority government is about welfare cuts, which are expected to hit the poor even harder than those already implemented under his last administration.

The Conservative leader has pledged to reduce the deficit by finding 12 billion pounds ($18.5 billion) to cut from the welfare bill in the next few years. He has not revealed where the money would come from.

“The Lib Dems provided a kind of counterbalance,” said Hay. “They helped to hold the Conservative Party together at a time when some on the right were pushing for more cuts to welfare and public services.”

Without their coalition partners, the Conservatives face a return of the unpleasant nickname they’ve long tried to shake: “the Nasty Party.”

Some analysts already detect shades of the last majority Conservative government in this one. Like Cameron, former Prime Minister John Major in the 1990s had a fragile majority and struggled to control a party deeply divided over Europe.

But they also believe that Cameron is a political realist. While he himself favors staying in the EU, he’s also canny enough not to underestimate his rebellious party members.

“He’s pragmatic,” Usherwood said. “There’s an element of him making it up as he goes along.”

TIME U.K.

J.K. Rowling Says Scottish Labour Party Leader Worthy of Gryffindor

Author J.K. Rowling and Scottish Labour Leader Jim Murphy
(2) Getty Images Author J.K. Rowling and Scottish Labour Leader Jim Murphy

"For showing unbelievable guts in the face of impossible odds"

The Scottish Labour Party suffered a dreadful night of defeats in the U.K. election Thursday — but there’s a slim silver lining for leader Jim Murphy, who received a unique tribute from Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.

Although Murphy lost his parliamentary seat and his party was swept out of power in all but one seat in Scotland, Rowling tweeted that she would place the deposed MP in the Gryffindor House at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry alongside Harry Potter and Hermione Granger for his bravery.

Of course the Sorting Hat is the only magical object that can determine which house a wizard belongs in. But perhaps because she invented the hat, Rowling gets first say.

Though Rowling was born in England she currently resides north of the border and is a long-time Labour Party donor. She also reportedly donated one million pounds ($1.5 million) to the campaign against Scottish independence last year — a cause favored by the Scottish National Party, whose candidate took Murphy’s seat.

TIME U.K.

Meet the First Ever Ethnic Chinese Lawmaker Elected to the U.K. Parliament

The profile picture of newly elected British lawmaker Alan Mak.
Art Conaghan—Art Conaghan Photography/Alan Mak Press Centre The profile picture of newly elected British lawmaker Alan Mak.

Mak wants the story to be about his new constituency, not his heritage

On Friday, Alan Mak became the first Briton from a Chinese background to be elected to the nation’s parliament, though he doesn’t appear particularly keen to dwell on this fact or the historical circumstances of his heritage.

“Ethnicity and heritage should play no part in this election. I think these groups — Chinese for Labour and so on — are putting too much emphasis on ethnicity,” he said in an interview with Hong Kong’s Post Magazine published Sunday.

The 31-year-old politician easily dismissed challenger John Perry, winning more than 51% of the vote to represent the southern city of Havant — located just offshore in the the English Channel.

Born in York, Mak’s parents fled communist China in the 1960s and on his website he says his family history made him “cherish Conservative values because my family know first-hand how tough life is without them, and how precious our freedoms are.”

But despite the over 426,000 ethnic Chinese living in Britain, according to the 2011 census, Mak does not embrace having his name placed alongside other trailblazing lawmakers such as Bernie Grant, Paul Boeteng and Diane Abbot (the first Black MPs elected in 1987) or the first openly gay MP Chris Smith (elected in 1983).

“If the [Conservative Friends of the Chinese] and Chinese for Labour think I am going to be representing every Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese and Korean — and there are many in my constituency — they are mistaken,” he said in the Post interview. “I am not standing for the Chinese population of Britain. I am standing for the people of Havant and my country.”

TIME U.K.

Here Is the 2015 U.K. Election Summed Up in a Single Picture

Britain has turned into a giant Maggie Simpson

The U.K. has voted, and exit polls overwhelmingly point to a victory for the Conservative Party. The Scottish National Party won 56 of the 59 seats up for grabs north of England.

The result mapped out by official party colors, as several users on Twitter are gleefully pointing out, is reminding everyone of a certain beloved animated character.

TIME U.K.

British Leader’s Party Scores Big Surprise Win in U.K. Election

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha return to 10 Downing Street after parliamentary elections in London on May 8, 2015.
Kirsty Wigglesworth—AP Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha return to 10 Downing Street after parliamentary elections in London on May 8, 2015.

Another term for Prime Minister David Cameron

(LONDON)—The Conservative Party swept to power Friday in Britain’s Parliamentary elections, winning an unexpected and resounding victory that returns Prime Minister David Cameron to 10 Downing Street in a stronger position than before.

Cameron’s office said he would go to Buckingham Palace, where he is expected to tell Queen Elizabeth II that he has enough support to form a government.

That brings the election to a much-quicker-than-expected conclusion. Polls ahead of Election Day showed Conservatives locked in a tight race with the opposition Labour Party, raising the possibility of days or weeks of negotiations to form a government.

Labour took a beating, mostly from energized Scottish nationalists who pulled off a landslide in Scotland.

With Cameron’s Conservatives winning a working majority in the 650-seat House of Commons, the election result looked to be far better for him than even his own party had foreseen. With 639 constituencies counted, the Conservatives had 324 seats to Labour’s 229.

The prime minister beamed early Friday as he was announced the winner of his Witney constituency in southern England.

“This is clearly a very strong night for the Conservative Party,” he said, stopping just short of declaring overall victory. He would be the first Conservative prime minister to win a second term since Margaret Thatcher.

“I want my party, and I hope a government that I would like to lead, to reclaim a mantle that we should never have lost — the mantle of one nation, one United Kingdom,” Cameron said, vowing to counter the rise of Scottish nationalism with more powers for Scotland and Wales.

Labour, led by Ed Miliband, was routed in Scotland by the Scottish National Party, which took almost all of the 59 seats in Scotland.

“What we’re seeing tonight is Scotland voting to put its trust in the SNP to make Scotland’s voice heard, a clear voice for an end to austerity, better public services and more progressive politics at Westminster,” party leader Nicola Sturgeon told the BBC.

“The Scottish lion has roared this morning across the country,” said former SNP leader Alex Salmond, who was elected in the seat of Gordon.

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy insisted he would not resign despite losing his seat but Miliband’s grip on the overall leadership seemed more tenuous, as the party failed to make predicted gains against the Conservatives across the rest of Britain.

“This has clearly been a very disappointing and difficult night for the Labour Party,” Miliband said.

Cameron’s coalition partner, the Liberal Democrat party, faced electoral disaster, losing most of its seats as punishment for supporting a Conservative-led agenda since 2010.

Leader Nick Clegg did hold on to his seat but resigned as party leader Friday.

Almost 50 million people were registered to vote in Thursday’s election, one of the most unpredictable in decades. Opinion polls during the monthlong campaign had suggested the result was too close to call.

Votes in each constituency were counted by hand and the results followed a familiar ritual. Candidates — each wearing a bright rosette in the color of their party — line up onstage like boxers as a returning officer reads out the results.

But if the form was familiar, the results were often shocking.

Among the early Scottish National Party winners was 20-year-old student Mhairi Black, who defeated Douglas Alexander, Labour’s 47-year-old foreign policy spokesman and one of its most senior figures. Black is the youngest U.K. lawmaker since 13-year-old Christopher Monck entered Parliament in 1667.

One of the big losers of the day was U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, who resigned after losing his race. His party ran third in opinion polls, but by early Friday had won only one seat because its support is spread out geographically.

Britain’s economy — recovering after years of turmoil that followed the 2008 financial crisis — was at the core of many voters’ concerns. The results suggest that many heeded Cameron’s entreaties to back the Conservatives as the party of financial stability.

Public questions at television debates made plain that many voters distrusted politicians’ promises to safeguard the economy, protect the National Health Service from severe cutbacks and control the number of immigrants from eastern Europe.

British voters reacted with surprise as they awoke to the news. Polls had shown a virtual dead heat in the race, and many expected weeks of wrangling over who would be in power.

“I thought it would be closer,” said account manager Nicky Kelly-Lord, 38.

But some, like project manager Jonathan Heeley, 42, thought it inevitable that a country struggling to rebuild in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis would be anxious to keep the economic recovery going.

“The country’s rebuilding itself and people want to stay with that,” he said.

The pound surged as much as 2 percent after exit poll results were released, as investors took that as reassurance that the country will not see days or weeks of uncertainty over the formation of a new government. The currency held onto most of those gains on Friday, trading at $1.5440. Stocks also surged, with the main FTSE 100 up 1.6 percent.

 

TIME U.K.

This Is the Youngest British Lawmaker in Almost 350 Years

<> on April 29, 2015 in Paisley, Scotland.
Jeff J Mitchell—2015 Getty Images Mhairi Black on April 29, 2015, in Paisley, Scotland

What were you doing when you were 20?

Mhairi Black, in many ways, is just like any British 20-year-old. She loves soccer, and is a season-ticket holder for soccer club Partick Thistle, which is based in the Scottish city of Glasgow, a short drive from her hometown of Paisley. She also enjoys playing and listening to music.

One thing that sets Black apart from her peers, however, is that she is now a Member of Parliament after winning the Paisley and Renfrewshire South seat on Friday. The Telegraph reported that through her defeat of sitting Labour Party legislator Douglas Alexander by more than 6,000 votes, Black became the youngest British lawmaker in more than 300 years (after 13-year-old Christopher Monckton in 1667).

“The people of Scotland are speaking and its time for their voice to be heard at Westminster,” said Black, who represents the Scottish National Party (SNP). “Thank you to everyone who turned out and voted for me,” she said in a tweet.

Before the youngster assumes her responsibilities in Westminster later this month, however, she still has a final-year politics exam at the University of Glasgow to get through.

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