Endlessly Appetizing 37-Year-Old Royal Wedding Cake Up For Auction

A boxed slice of wedding cake, from the British Royal wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge to Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, collected by Leonard Massey, the former first chauffeur to Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, is displayed at the Stafford Hotel in London on June 5, 2015, ahead of its auction in Beverly Hills, US, on June 27.

It’s unlikely that digging into a slice of 37-year-old cake is an appealing prospect to many people — but some are prepared to pay hundreds of dollars for the privilege. That said, the decades-old cake in question could be seen to be a historical artifact, given that it formed part of the original wedding cake of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana on 29 July 1981.

A slice of the decade-old wedding cake is just one of several slices of historic cakes being auctioned by the Beverly Hills-based Julien’s Auctions in celebration of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s upcoming nuptials. The auction will take place at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas on June 23.

Also up for grabs is a slice of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge’s 2011 wedding fruitcake, which is estimated to be sold for $600-$800 and comes with a special card that reads: “With best wishes… from… TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall… in celebration of the wedding… of… TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.”

There are also wedding cake samples being auctioned from the marriage of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson held at Buckingham Palace on July 23, 1986 (estimated to sell for $600-$800), and the marriage of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips on November 14, 1973 (expected to go for $300-$500).

But, the auction’s pièce de résistance is the slice of cake from the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, which is expected to be auctioned off for as much as $800-$1,200. The cake comes inside a white box with silver printing that reads “CD/ Buckingham Palace/ 29th July 1981,” and is wrapped in a paper doily with an original paper envelope bearing Queen Elizabeth’s royal stamp.

Julien’s Auctions specializes in sales of iconic artifacts and in 2009 received a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the sale of Michael Jackson’s white glove, which sold for $480,000 making it the most expensive glove ever sold at auction.

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The ‘Pressure to Make Good for Your Whole People’ and the Story Behind SuperFly

Publicity still portrait of American directors Gordon Parks Sr and his son Gordon Parks Jr on the set of the Warner Bros. film 'The Learning Tree,' circa 1969.

The movie SuperFly that comes out this week shares a name with the 1972 film Super Fly, though “they serve different audiences, they serve different worlds,” as TIME’s film critic Stephanie Zacharek puts it in her review. But, even with all those differences, both movies also share a link to an important part of American history — and the history of LIFE Magazine.

The original Super Fly was directed by Gordon Parks Jr., whose father Gordon Parks, who died at 93 in 2006, was the first African-American staff photographer at LIFE and a co-founder of Essence magazine.

In the autobiographical novel that inspired 1969’s movie The Learning Tree — which made him the first African-American director of a major Hollywood movie — Parks Sr. summed up why he became a photographer. He wrote that he sought to portray “how certain blacks, who were fed up with racism, rebelled against it.” After joining LIFE in 1949, in between photographing subjects as varied as the Paris fashion scene and Benedictine monks, he worked to convince African-Americans readers that they could trust the magazine to tell their stories, even though most of its staffers were white. At the same time, by default, he served as a translator of black life for many of LIFE’s non-African-American readers.

“There is this pressure to make good for your whole people,” he told TIME in 1953. “If you fail, they give you a black eye.”

Some of his most famous photo essays depicted black Muslims — with guidance from Malcolm X — and the life of the Fontenelles, a typical Harlem family; so many readers were moved by the family’s struggle to make ends meet that they sent in enough money to help the family move into a bigger home in Queens. As photographer Andre D. Wagner recently wrote for TIME, “It’s the dignity of the people that he was able to capture and his ability to get below the skin that made his pictures undeniable.”

 

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Kerry Kennedy: What My Father, RFK, Means Today

Robert Kennedy, brother of John F. Kennedy, attorney general and U.S. senator.

Think of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson or Richard Nixon. Each, in his own way, is firmly set in a certain era of American history. Yet as vibrant as they were at the peak of their power and influence, none of these men could easily slip into the contemporary political world. Their leadership was unique to their time and place.

That does not ring true for my father, Robert F. Kennedy, who was killed 50 years ago. His appearance is ever modern: the shaggy hair, the skinny ties, the suit jacket off, the shirt sleeves rolled. Beyond appearances, what is striking about RFK are the themes he returned to again and again — themes that still energize the debate and resonate in our own time.

Think of the headlines over the past few years and it is easy to hear Robert Kennedy’s voice and imagine him speaking out in our country — on the madness of gun violence, the shame of police brutality, the need for compassion in welcoming immigrants and refugees, the urgent need to defy the call to war and, where war has broken out, the moral necessity of seeking peace. One imagines him urging us to focus not only on stopping terrorism but also on understanding and addressing its root causes. He would encourage us to focus on the destructive force of hate, the disillusionment of young people, the inherent injustice of a criminal-justice system that discriminates based on race and class and sends thousands to jail simply because they are too poor to make bail — the new Jim Crow. And it is easy to think of RFK reminding us of the duty to address the struggles of those who are not in the headlines, the most vulnerable among us: farmworkers, small farmers, factory workers, people who have seen the jobs that once supported them replaced by cheap labor or technology. He would also remember our duty to Native Americans and those suffering in the hollows of Appalachia, on the Mississippi Delta and in the most destitute slums of our great cities.

In the 1950s, he spent much of his time on the Senate Committee on Investigations fighting the excesses of its chair, Joe McCarthy, and his chief counsel, Roy Cohn — two figures who echo in the news today. He later caused Cohn’s resignation and led to the end of McCarthy’s reign of terror. Asked a decade later by Peter Maas how he could have worked for McCarthy, Kennedy responded, “Well, at the time, I thought there was a serious internal security threat to the United States … [and] Joe McCarthy seemed to be the only one doing anything about it. I was wrong.”

But to leave it at stopping the bullies would not do him justice. On that terrible night when he told a crowd in downtown Indianapolis that Martin Luther King Jr. had been murdered, he included in his remarks a quote from Aeschylus: “To tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of the world.” Indeed, my father focused much of his life taming the savageness, and he made gentle the life of the world.

There was no quality my father admired more than courage, save perhaps love. I remember after dinner one night he picked up the battered poetry book that was always somewhere by his side and read aloud Tennyson’s poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade.” We listened aghast to the story of a group of soldiers whose commanding officer orders them to ride into an ambush, knowing they will be slaughtered — yet they still obey the command. My father then explained that he and my mother were going on a trip and challenged us to a contest to see who could best memorize the poem while they were away. I did not win that contest _ my sister Courtney did — but one stanza still remains with me:

Theirs not to reason why,

Theirs but to do and die,

Into the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred

Why would a father ask his ever-expanding brood of what became 11 children to memorize a poem about war and slaughter? I think there were three reasons: He wanted to share with us his love of literature. He wanted us to embrace challenges that appear daunting. But most of all, he believed it was imperative for us to question authority, and to learn how those who fail that lesson do so at their own peril. Now, coming upon 50 years after Robert F. Kennedy’s last campaign, those are among the lessons I think he would have liked to impart to all Americans. We face daunting challenges both nationally and globally. But we must rise to those tasks armed with courage, faith, love and an abiding commitment to justice, yet girded with a healthy sense of skepticism.

Adapted from Robert F. Kennedy: Ripples of Hope by Kerry Kennedy (copyright 2018). Used with permission from Center Street, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

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What British People in 1776 Really Thought of American Independence

A page from the Declaration of Independence is displayed at the New York Public Library on July 3, 2009 in New York City.

In the United States, the Fourth of July is time to launch some fireworks and eat some hot dogs in celebration of American independence. But in 1776, when news reached Britain of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, the atmosphere was anything but celebratory.

A look through letters from the period, now held in the archives of the U.K.’s Nottingham University, shows that British people were divided about the outbreak of war with what was then their colony—over how bad it was, whose fault it was and what to do about it.

Before the Americans officially declared independence, the British were worried about what King George’s response to the unrest there would be. After all, the Declaration of Independence was not the beginning of the American Revolution; the riot-provoking Stamp Act was passed in 1765, the Boston Tea Party took place in 1773 and the famous “shot heard ’round the world” that is seen as the start of the war was fired in 1775.

One 1775 letter from a group of merchants and traders in the southwestern port city of Bristol sheds light on the economic concerns provoked by the burgeoning revolution. They wrote to the king to express their concern about the “unhappily distracted empires” and urged him to give the American colonists the freedoms they wanted rather than risk a precious trading relationship.

“It is with an affliction not to be expressed and with the most anxious apprehensions for ourselves and our Posterity that we behold the growing distractions in America threaten, unless prevented by the timely interposition of your Majesty’s Wisdom and Goodness, nothing less than a lasting and ruinous Civil War,” they wrote. “We are apprehensive that if the present measures are adhered to, a total alienation of the affections of our fellow subjects in the colonies will ensue, to which affection much more than to a dread of any power, we have been hitherto indebted for the inestimable benefits which we have derived from those establishments. We can foresee no good effects to the commerce or revenues of this kingdom at a future period from any victories which may be obtained by your majesty’s army over desolated provinces and […] people.”

The traders warned the King that “the subsistence of a great part of your kingdom has depended very much on the Honourable and in this instance amicable behaviour of your American subjects. We have in this single city received no less than one million bushels of wheat […].”

A petition from the Merchants, Traders, Manufacturers and other citizens of Bristol to George III; c.1775
A petition from the Merchants, Traders, Manufacturers and other citizens of Bristol to George III; c.1775
Nottingham University Archives

While they were confident that “none can profit by the continuance of this war,” the traders remained optimistic that the Americans would stay friendly if the British adopt a more conciliatory approach, despite things having been “carried to unfortunate lengths of hostility on both sides.”

“[Our] fellow subjects in that part of the world are very far from having lost their affection and regard to their mother country or departed from the principles of commercial honour,” they wrote.

Though their optimism might seem misplaced today, at the time it wasn’t completely ridiculous. After all, this was the same year that Americans’ Second Continental Congress sent the crown the Olive Branch Petition, a last-ditch attempt to convince the King to back off so that the British subjects in the colonies could continue to live happily under his rule alongside their counterparts in England.

Other letters, however, give indications that some people had given up hope that the King would give in to the colonists’ requests.

For example, in March of 1775, Chevalier Renaud Boccolari—whose own homeland of France would see a massive anti-monarchical uprising just over a decade later—wrote to peers from Modena, Italy, warning of the “awful despotism [of the English king]” and the “crowd of blind and ugly [people] with whom he has shared his unjust power for some time.

“We still find among us souls who are sensitive to freedom, souls that have not been swallowed by the insulting dominion of priests, the barbarous constriction of the inquisition and the blind, despotic monarchy,” he wrote. But, he felt “every free country should be alarmed” that “in this century everything is tending towards the most illegitimate despotism.”

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When news finally broke that the Americans had, in fact, declared their independence—that they planned on being their own country, no longer part of the British empire—many in the English aristocracy were horrified.

A series of letters received by the third Duke of Portland reveal how opinions differed on the subject.

On July 22, 1776, his wife Dorothy wrote to him from Nottinghamshire that she had “received letters filled with unpleasant news, that from America I trust in God is not true, it really is too shocking.” On Aug. 16 of that year, Baron Rudolph Bentick also wrote from the Netherlands, bemoaning the news and sharing what people in Europe thought.

“As to people’s opinion here of Great Britain’s disputes with America,” he wrote, “the well meaning all agree no doubt that it is a most unhappy business for both countries and probably will prove a mortal blow to the liberties of the people of England.”

He warned that the influence of certain ambassadors might lead the Dutch to take advantage of Britain’s loss, and “prevent this country from acting a part most consistent and honourable to themselves, as well as beneficial to the liberties of Europe. Prudence prevents me from saying any more as this letter is to go by the post.”

Some, though, blamed the British government for what was happening, and willed their leaders to give up and abandon the war with the Americans. On Sept. 7, 1776, Stephen Sayre of Harley Street, London, wrote to the Duke of Portland urging him and others to come to a meeting to figure out how to cut Britain’s losses. “And tho we think America is lost: yet we wish to preserve this country,” he wrote.

Letter from Stephen Sayre, Harley Street, London, to the 3rd Duke of Portland; 7 Sep. 1776.
Letter from Stephen Sayre, Harley Street, London, to the 3rd Duke of Portland; 7 Sep. 1776.
Nottingham University Archives

And on Oct. 18 1776, the Rt. Honourable Thomas Townshend wrote to the Duke of Portland complaining that “the Government and Majority have drawn us into a war, that in our opinions is unjust in its Principle and ruinous in its consequences.”

As he prepared for a meeting of Parliament, of which he was a longstanding member, Townshend told the Duke the British authorities “by their violence […] have driven the Americans to extremitys.”

“I cannot for one, on any condition, give my assent to any of their measures in the prosecution of it,” he wrote, worrying that many such measures would be proposed at Parliament’s next session. He worried that, despite his point of view “we shall have a difficult task to support the Americans declaring for separation” among the British political establishment.

Townshend dismissed concerns about his letter being read by censors, writing “I have no objection to any one knowing my opinion on this subject.”

Unsurprisingly, others were less sympathetic to the American rebels.

On Dec. 30 1776, one G.B. Brudenell wrote from London, to H.F.C. Pelham-Clinton, 2nd Duke of Newcastle under Lyne, giving news of the capture of Fort Washington by Gen. Howe, who drove the rebel forces from Manhattan, though at great cost.

“It is very melancholy to think,” Brudenell wrote, “that we must sacrifice so many brave lives, in order to put an end, to such an unnatural Rebellion.”

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The Story Behind That Striking Photo of Jeff Flake After the Kavanaugh Vote Bombshell

One of the reasons I moved from California to Washington, D.C., a year ago to photograph politics in the Donald Trump era was a curiosity about what happens outside of the frame of the television screen, such as the interactions between the staffers and the senators, and the senators with each other. I’m an independent photographer, credentialed to cover the members and halls of government, and like many others here I’m constantly in search of unique moments and scenes that convey the reality, and the gravity of it. Sometimes a photographic situation that I may like is not quite the “newsiest” of the day, but on Sept. 28 those two dynamics merged.

The day after sharply contrasting testimonies under oath from Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh regarding her sexual assault allegation, there was a sense of seriousness on Capitol Hill. With Trump’s seal of support for his already-controversial nominee that evening, the expectation on Friday was that the Senate Judiciary Committee would narrowly vote along party lines to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate. So while the committee’s hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building had tremendous weight, the outcome seemed certain.

The Story Behind TIME’s Trump and Putin ‘Summit Crisis’ Cover

At first glance, the man on TIME’s July 30, 2018, cover might seem familiar: it was created by morphing images of two of the world’s most recognizable men, President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The composite image, by visual artist Nancy Burson, is meant to represent this particular moment in U.S. foreign policy, following the pair’s recent meeting in Helsinki, Finland. As Brian Bennett writes in this week’s cover story, “A year and a half into his presidency, Trump’s puzzling affinity for Putin has yet to be explained. Trump is bruised by the idea that Russian election meddling taints his victory, those close to him say, and can’t concede the fact that Russia did try to interfere in the election, regardless of whether it impacted the outcome. He views this problem entirely through a political lens, these people say, unable or unwilling to differentiate between the question of whether his campaign colluded with Russia—which he denies—and the question of whether Russia attempted to influence the election.”

To represent that conflict, Burson merged the faces of Trump and Putin into a still image and video which morphs between the shifting appearances of the two world leaders. Over three decades ago, Burson, featured in TIME’s 100 Photographs, which documented the most influential photographs of all time, began her pioneering photographic work with MIT scientists, leading to the development of computer-generated compositing technology. “I wanted to create answers to unasked questions,” says Burson, about the origins of her artistic process, “like what would it look like if you put six men and six women together?”

Androgyny (6 Men + 6 Women), 1982
Androgyny (6 Men + 6 Women), 1982
Nancy Burson

She became well known for developing a technique to age faces, which is used by the FBI to find missing children. Most famously, she created the aged image of kidnapped 6-year-old Etan Patz that appeared on the front page of the New York Post in 1985.

The November 2, 1985, cover featuring Burson's altered image of Etan Patz.
The November 2, 1985, cover featuring Burson’s altered image of Etan Patz.
Courtesy of New York Post

She says the goal of her latest composite is to help readers “stop and think” when it comes to similarities between the two leaders. “What my work has always been about is allowing people to see differently,” she adds. “The combining of faces is a different way for people to see what they couldn’t see before.”

“I think the best art can change people’s perception of how they see how they are as human beings,” says Burson. “Art makes everything possible and beyond.”

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President Trump Says He Wishes He Hadn’t Picked Jeff Sessions for Attorney General

President Donald Trump once again vented his frustration at Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Twitter – this time saying he wished he hadn’t picked the former Alabama Senator to lead the Justice Department.

In a series of tweets on Wednesday morning, Trump quoted a Fox News interview with House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy in which the Republican Congressman said: “I think what the President is doing is expressing frustration that Attorney General Sessions should have shared these reasons for recusal before he took the job, not afterward.

“If I were the President and I picked someone to be the country’s chief law enforcement officer, and they told me later, ‘Oh by the way I’m not going to be able to participate in the most important case in the office,’ I would be frustrated too and that’s how I read that. ‘Senator Sessions, why didn’t you tell me before I picked you.’ There are lots of really good lawyers in the country, he could have picked somebody else!”

 

Trump added, “And I wish I did!”

The tweets come after the New York Times reported that Trump tried to get Sessions to reverse his decision to recuse himself in Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, which could be key in the investigation into whether the President obstructed justice. Sessions’ recusal last March, which was based on contact with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. that he failed to disclose during his confirmation hearing, has been a constant point of contention with Trump during Mueller’s year-long investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump has publicly mused about firing Sessions in the past and Sessions has called the President’s criticism “kind of hurtful.”;

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See the Original Concept Art That Helped Take Disneyland From Dream to Reality

Hand-Colored Disneyland Billboard Concept Brownline lot 58

Walt Disney did not invent the amusement park, but revolutionized the format and, in the minds of many Disney fans, perfected it.

He incorporated rides inspired by family-friendly films and TV shows, TIME’s late film critic Richard Corliss wrote in a 1986, feature, as theme parks were anticipating their best seasons yet. Instead of “crumbling” rides like “rickety roller coasters” and “no-frills thrills,” Walt Disney imagined “every path would be as spotless as Formica; every doorway would be scaled to just above kid-size; every ‘attraction’ (not ride) would be sweet enough for ‘guests’ (not customers) of all ages to enjoy, a little.”

Unsurprisingly, a lot of planning went into that spotless look.

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The “brownlines” and concept art featured above offer a glimpse behind the scenes at that process. Similar to blueprints, “brownlines” are duplicates reproduced so that original concept drawings wouldn’t be damaged; with copies made, the drawings could be distributed among teams working on the park. (The lines are brown because of the chemicals on the transfer paper that was used.) They are artifacts of the planning process for the park, which officially opened to the public on July 17, 1955 — “the world’s biggest toy for the world’s biggest boy,” as a friend of Walt Disney’s described the mogul’s vision for Disneyland. Because brownlines were part of the production process, many were disposed after being used, which means that surviving original examples are relatively rare. The examples in the gallery above are part of an exhibition opening Wednesday at Van Eaton Galleries in Sherman Oaks, Calif., which specializes in Disney memorabilia. The show “This Is Disneyland,” a exhibition of more than 750 items related to the Anaheim, Calif. theme park, comprises the prized possessions of Hollywood agent Richard Kraft and will culminate in a sale on Aug. 25 and Aug. 26.

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But even the best-laid plans can go awry, and the grand opening of “the happiest place on Earth” was hellish. Corliss described the rocky start in his 1986 story:

Even the mastermind recalled it as “Black Sunday.” Everything went wrong. The glut of visitors turned the Santa Ana Freeway into a seven-mile parking lot. Refreshment stands ran out of food and drink for the nearly 30,000 invited guests and thousands more ticket counterfeiters who stormed the gates. Rides broke down almost immediately. A gas leak forced the shuttering of Fantasyland. The day’s corrosive heat sent women’s spiked heels sinking into the asphalt on Main Street. Nor was this a debacle to be covered over with Tinker Bell dust; the whole sorry spectacle was broadcast on a live TV special co-hosted by Ronald Reagan. WALT’S DREAM A NIGHTMARE, proclaimed the Los Angeles Tidings. But Walt, who had sunk his fortune into this $17 million mousehole, was not done wheeling and dreaming. Disney’s name, the most trusted in the movie business, reassured visitors. By Labor Day the park had already greeted its millionth paying guest, and after a year the attendance was 3.8 million.

Disneyland officials clearly had worked out the kinks by the park’s second birthday in 1957, based on feedback from 55 public-opinion polls sampling 500-700 visitors each, as TIME reported back then. The polls concluded that visitors’ “biggest gripe” was “high prices,” which in 1957 meant admission and rides were about $2.72 a day (amounting to about $23 in 2017), with food averaged another $2. (By contrast, today, many ticket prices start at $100.) Nevertheless, 80% of Disney visitors polled in 1957 said they planned to come back despite the high prices. “Disneyland is proving California’s biggest tourist attraction since Hollywood,” TIME reported.

More: See Photos of Disneyland When It Opened in 1955

Disney’s children’s TV shows lured the 43% of visitors who came from out of state in 1957, while dozens of big U.S. companies sponsored special attractions within the attractions to advertise their products, such as Frontierland’s Golden Horseshoe soft-drink saloon run by Pepsi-Cola. By the time Disney World opened in Florida in 1971, people outside of Anaheim started seeing theme parks closer to home in what the magazine called the “Disneyland effect”; for example, Six Flags had opened in Dallas, St. Louis, and Atlanta, Santa’s Villagein Chicago, and Astroworld in Houston.

While new rides have been added in the years since, the enduring appeal of theme park experiences like Disneyland is arguably rooted in something more timeless.

“As for the twin fountainheads of theme parks— Disneyland in Anaheim , Calif., and the gigantic Walt Disney World outside Orlando—they offer nothing less,” Corliss argued, “than a dream of America as it once or never was: a homogenized, turn-of-the-century village propelled into the future by space-age science and the relentless optimism of its founding dreamer.”

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What British People in 1776 Really Thought of American Independence

A page from the Declaration of Independence is displayed at the New York Public Library on July 3, 2009 in New York City.
A page from the Declaration of Independence is displayed at the New York Public Library on July 3, 2009 in New York City.
Spencer Platt—Getty Images
By CIARA NUGENT

July 3, 2018

In the United States, the Fourth of July is time to launch some fireworks and eat some hot dogs in celebration of American independence. But in 1776, when news reached Britain of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, the atmosphere was anything but celebratory.

A look through letters from the period, now held in the archives of the U.K.’s Nottingham University, shows that British people were divided about the outbreak of war with what was then their colony—over how bad it was, whose fault it was and what to do about it.

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Before the Americans officially declared independence, the British were worried about what King George’s response to the unrest there would be. After all, the Declaration of Independence was not the beginning of the American Revolution; the riot-provoking Stamp Act was passed in 1765, the Boston Tea Party took place in 1773 and the famous “shot heard ’round the world” that is seen as the start of the war was fired in 1775.

One 1775 letter from a group of merchants and traders in the southwestern port city of Bristol sheds light on the economic concerns provoked by the burgeoning revolution. They wrote to the king to express their concern about the “unhappily distracted empires” and urged him to give the American colonists the freedoms they wanted rather than risk a precious trading relationship.

“It is with an affliction not to be expressed and with the most anxious apprehensions for ourselves and our Posterity that we behold the growing distractions in America threaten, unless prevented by the timely interposition of your Majesty’s Wisdom and Goodness, nothing less than a lasting and ruinous Civil War,” they wrote. “We are apprehensive that if the present measures are adhered to, a total alienation of the affections of our fellow subjects in the colonies will ensue, to which affection much more than to a dread of any power, we have been hitherto indebted for the inestimable benefits which we have derived from those establishments. We can foresee no good effects to the commerce or revenues of this kingdom at a future period from any victories which may be obtained by your majesty’s army over desolated provinces and […] people.”

The traders warned the King that “the subsistence of a great part of your kingdom has depended very much on the Honourable and in this instance amicable behaviour of your American subjects. We have in this single city received no less than one million bushels of wheat […].”

A petition from the Merchants, Traders, Manufacturers and other citizens of Bristol to George III; c.1775
A petition from the Merchants, Traders, Manufacturers and other citizens of Bristol to George III; c.1775
Nottingham University Archives

While they were confident that “none can profit by the continuance of this war,” the traders remained optimistic that the Americans would stay friendly if the British adopt a more conciliatory approach, despite things having been “carried to unfortunate lengths of hostility on both sides.”

“[Our] fellow subjects in that part of the world are very far from having lost their affection and regard to their mother country or departed from the principles of commercial honour,” they wrote.

Though their optimism might seem misplaced today, at the time it wasn’t completely ridiculous. After all, this was the same year that Americans’ Second Continental Congress sent the crown the Olive Branch Petition, a last-ditch attempt to convince the King to back off so that the British subjects in the colonies could continue to live happily under his rule alongside their counterparts in England.

Other letters, however, give indications that some people had given up hope that the King would give in to the colonists’ requests.

For example, in March of 1775, Chevalier Renaud Boccolari—whose own homeland of France would see a massive anti-monarchical uprising just over a decade later—wrote to peers from Modena, Italy, warning of the “awful despotism [of the English king]” and the “crowd of blind and ugly [people] with whom he has shared his unjust power for some time.

“We still find among us souls who are sensitive to freedom, souls that have not been swallowed by the insulting dominion of priests, the barbarous constriction of the inquisition and the blind, despotic monarchy,” he wrote. But, he felt “every free country should be alarmed” that “in this century everything is tending towards the most illegitimate despotism.”

Get your history fix in one place: sign up for the weekly TIME History newsletter

When news finally broke that the Americans had, in fact, declared their independence—that they planned on being their own country, no longer part of the British empire—many in the English aristocracy were horrified.

A series of letters received by the third Duke of Portland reveal how opinions differed on the subject.

On July 22, 1776, his wife Dorothy wrote to him from Nottinghamshire that she had “received letters filled with unpleasant news, that from America I trust in God is not true, it really is too shocking.” On Aug. 16 of that year, Baron Rudolph Bentick also wrote from the Netherlands, bemoaning the news and sharing what people in Europe thought.

“As to people’s opinion here of Great Britain’s disputes with America,” he wrote, “the well meaning all agree no doubt that it is a most unhappy business for both countries and probably will prove a mortal blow to the liberties of the people of England.”

He warned that the influence of certain ambassadors might lead the Dutch to take advantage of Britain’s loss, and “prevent this country from acting a part most consistent and honourable to themselves, as well as beneficial to the liberties of Europe. Prudence prevents me from saying any more as this letter is to go by the post.”

Some, though, blamed the British government for what was happening, and willed their leaders to give up and abandon the war with the Americans. On Sept. 7, 1776, Stephen Sayre of Harley Street, London, wrote to the Duke of Portland urging him and others to come to a meeting to figure out how to cut Britain’s losses. “And tho we think America is lost: yet we wish to preserve this country,” he wrote.

Letter from Stephen Sayre, Harley Street, London, to the 3rd Duke of Portland; 7 Sep. 1776.
Letter from Stephen Sayre, Harley Street, London, to the 3rd Duke of Portland; 7 Sep. 1776.
Nottingham University Archives

And on Oct. 18 1776, the Rt. Honourable Thomas Townshend wrote to the Duke of Portland complaining that “the Government and Majority have drawn us into a war, that in our opinions is unjust in its Principle and ruinous in its consequences.”

As he prepared for a meeting of Parliament, of which he was a longstanding member, Townshend told the Duke the British authorities “by their violence […] have driven the Americans to extremitys.”

“I cannot for one, on any condition, give my assent to any of their measures in the prosecution of it,” he wrote, worrying that many such measures would be proposed at Parliament’s next session. He worried that, despite his point of view “we shall have a difficult task to support the Americans declaring for separation” among the British political establishment.

Townshend dismissed concerns about his letter being read by censors, writing “I have no objection to any one knowing my opinion on this subject.”

Unsurprisingly, others were less sympathetic to the American rebels.

On Dec. 30 1776, one G.B. Brudenell wrote from London, to H.F.C. Pelham-Clinton, 2nd Duke of Newcastle under Lyne, giving news of the capture of Fort Washington by Gen. Howe, who drove the rebel forces from Manhattan, though at great cost.

“It is very melancholy to think,” Brudenell wrote, “that we must sacrifice so many brave lives, in order to put an end, to such an unnatural Rebellion.”

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How This World Cup Photographer Captured the ‘Pure Excitement’ After Croatia’s Victory

Photographer Yuri Cortez has been shooting for Agence France-Presse for 27 years. The job has brought him around the world, covering everything from conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq to natural disasters in Haiti and Mexico.

But last Wednesday’s 2018 FIFA World Cup match between England and Croatiaoffered Cortez a whole new experience: He found himself at the bottom of a pile of Croatian soccer players as they celebrated star striker Mario Mandžukić’s extra time goal against England — the game winner, it would turn out, punching Croatia’s ticket into Sunday’s final against France. It was Cortez’s fourth World Cup, but his first time at the bottom of a goal celebration.

Croatia's forward Mario Mandzukic (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's second goal during the semi-final game on July 11, 2018.
Croatia’s forward Mario Mandzukic (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s second goal during the semi-final game on July 11, 2018.
Yuri Cortez—AFP/Getty Images
Croatian defender Josip Pivaric celebrates with his teammates.
Croatian defender Josip Pivaric celebrates with his teammates.
Yuri Cortez—AFP/Getty Images

Following his goal, Mandžukić ran to the corner to celebrate with his teammates directly in front of Cortez. “When the second goal happened, I was taking pictures with a 400mm lens,” says Cortez. “When I saw Mandžukić running towards me, I quickly switched cameras. Suddenly more players were coming closer and closer.” As Croatian players ran over to celebrate the goal, Cortez was pushed over and found himself beneath the celebration pile.

“At that moment I was taking pictures of their faces the whole time. Capturing their joy,” he says. “The scenes that I saw that that moment was pure excitement.”

Croatian forward Mario Mandzukic offers to help AFP photographer Yuri Cortez after falling on him during the celebration.
Croatian forward Mario Mandzukic offers to help AFP photographer Yuri Cortez after falling on him during the celebration.
Yuri Cortez—AFP/Getty Images

As the players got up, Mandžukić extended Cortez a hand and asked, “Are these your glasses?” He then placed the glasses on Cortez’s head and shook his hand. Croatian defender Domagoj Vida then gave Cortez a kiss on the forehead before the team returned to the field, leaving him stunned with a glowing smile. “It’s a historic moment for them and a great moment for me,” he says. “Really incredible”

Mario Mandzukic shakes hands with photographer Yuri Cortez after helping him up.
Mario Mandzukic shakes hands with photographer Yuri Cortez after helping him up.
Mladen Antonov—AFP/Getty Images

Cortez says his phone has not stopped ringing from people and publications who are interested in the photographs. But his focus is now on the final game — where he says he’ll be rooting for Croatia.

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