Such as Adolf Hitler and William the Conqueror (or William I as we City guides call him as he never actually conquered the City of London).
Although separated by 900 years, they had exactly the same invasion plan when it came to London.
William, having done for Harold at Hastings in 1066 headed north, took one look at London and decided it would be: a) too much effort; and b) too wasteful to destroy it by taking it by force. So, having wandered out West for a couple more skirmishes, he headed back to London and presented them with William’s Writ, which read:
“William, King, greets William, Bishop and Godfrey, Portreeve, and all the burghers within London, French and English, friendlike. And I will that both be worthy of all the rights of which ye both were worthy in King Edward’s day. And I will that every child be his father’s heir after his father’s day. And I will not suffer that any man offer you any wrong. God keep you.”
In other words, recognise me as King, pay your dues and carry on chaps. Which the good burghers of the City of London (ever the pragmatists when it came to making money) were happy to do. Not that it stopped him building three castles along the banks of the Thames (the only remaining one being The Tower of London) just to remind everyone who was boss…
Hitler, believe it or not, similarly had no plans to destroy London (at least not initially). So confident was he of taking it intact, that the Luftwaffe was actually under strict instructions not to bomb London and focus instead on RAF airfields to soften up the air defences in preparation for a German invasion.
Then, at 12.15 am on 25th August 1940, a German bomb fell on Fore Street (near what is now The Barbican) in the City of London, the first to do so. Given Hitler’s instructions, it was almost certainly not intended, but its consequences were disastrous.
Churchill was having none of it and sent the bombers to Berlin the very next night. After that, as we all know, Hitler’s strategy changed and London suffered The Blitz – 9 months of near continuous bombardment at the hands of the Luftwaffe.
Something for the two of them to talk about in whatever version of Valhalla they both now inhabit…