Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Annie Johnson, in St Louis, Missouri, in 1928. Her brother could not pronounce her name properly and called her Maya, the name that she came to be known by.
She had a difficult childhood – after suffering abuse when she was eight years old, she stopped talking for five years. She later wrote her autobiography, describing overcoming her childhood trauma, and growing up in the segregated south of USA – when people of colour and white people were not allowed to mix. She was committed to the civil rights movement, which aimed to break the segregation and allow people to live freely.
You may have heard her referred to as ‘The One Who Got Away’ from Henry VIII, but who was Christina of Denmark? Historian Lucy Allen explains.
“If I had two heads, one should be at the King of England’s disposal!”
Most of the time, when someone claims that a king or queen made a clever quip, it turns out to be made up, but the line Christina of Denmark supposedly used to reply to Henry VIII’s proposal of marriage is more likely to be true than most.