As we brush up on our Tam O’Shanter and get those neeps mashed up for Burns Night, here are a few little-known facts about the bard and his influence around the world…
1. US fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger is a direct descendant of Robert Burns. Records show that the grandmother of Hilfiger’s elderly aunt, Rose Kirbis was the granddaughter of Burns’ brother, Gilbert. It makes the multi-millionaire the great, great, great grand-nephew of Rabbie (working that one out gave us quite a headache)
2. Rumour has it that Burns fan, Michael Jackson took inspiration for his ‘Thriller’ video from the graveyard scene in ‘Tam O’ Shanter’
3. The city of Atlanta, Georgia, has a life-size replica of the Alloway cottage that Burns was born in. It was built by the Burns Club of Atlanta in 1911
4. In 2010, a miniature book of Robert Burns’ poetry was carried into orbit by astronaut Nick Patrick on a two week space mission. It completed a 5.7 million mile trip and made 217 orbits of the Earth. The tiny book, less than one-inch high, also contains a small fragment of Burn’s wife’s, Jean Armour’s wedding dress. It’s now on display at the Burns Museum in Alloway
5. Burn’s youngest child, Maxwell, was born on the day of his father’s funeral. Through his twelve children, Burns has over 600 living descendants
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