Gerald Wellesley, 7th Duke of Wellington
Gerald Wellesley, 7th Duke of Wellington, styled Lord Gerald Wellesley between 1900 and 1943, was an Anglo-Irish diplomat and architect. Wellesley was the third son of Lady Arthur Wellesley, he was baptised at St Jude's Church of Ireland parish church, Dublin, on 27 September 1885. He was educated at Eton. Wellesley served as a diplomat in the Diplomatic Corps in 1908, he held the office of Third Secretary of the Diplomatic Service between 1910–17, the office of Second Secretary of the Diplomatic Service between 1917–19. He was invested as a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1921, as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 1935, was Surveyor of the King's Works of Art, 1936–43, he gained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in 1939 in the service of the Grenadier Guards. He fought in the Second World War between 1939-45; as a somewhat elderly officer with a spinsterish manner, he earned the nickname'The Iron Duchess', but his diplomatic skills proved invaluable in dealing with the Allies.
In 1943, he succeeded his nephew Henry as Duke of Wellington, Earl of Mornington, Prince of Waterloo. His nephew's other title, Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo, passed to Henry's sister Lady Anne Rhys, before she ceded it to him in 1949, he served as Lord Lieutenant of the County of London between 1944–49 and as Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire between 1949–60. In 1951 he was made a Knight of the Garter. Among his architecture projects was the remodeling of the London home of Anglo-American member of Parliament Henry "Chips" Channon. Working with Trenwith Wills, Wellesley remodeled Castle Hill, Filleigh, in Devon. Wellesley designed the Faringdon Folly tower for Gerald Tyrwhitt-Wilson, 14th Baron Berners. Wellesley built Portland House in Weymouth in 1935, he was the author of the following books: The Iconography of the First Duke of Wellington The Diary of a Desert Journey The Journal of Mrs. Arbuthnot A Selection from the Private Correspondence of the First Duke of Wellington Wellesley was bisexual or homosexual, but married Dorothy Violet Ashton on 30 April 1914.
The marriage was unhappy and they separated in 1922 but never divorced. She was the daughter of Robert Ashton of Croughton and was descended from wealthy cotton manufacturers, his wife Cecilia Dunn-Gardner Countess of Scarbrough, her stepfather since 1899 was Aldred Lumley, 10th Earl of Scarbrough. They had two children: Valerian Wellesley, 8th Duke of Wellington Lady Elizabeth Wellesley Dorothy, a poet, became the lover of Vita Sackville-West. Curiously, Gerald Wellesley had been engaged, before his marriage, to Sackville-West's lover Violet Trefusis. Dorothy became the lover and long-time companion of Hilda Matheson, a prominent BBC producer. After his wife's death in 1956, Wellesley wished to marry his widowed sister-in-law, Lady Serena James, but she did not wish to leave her marital home. Wellesley was the maternal grandfather of musician Jeremy Clyde. Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Duke of Wellington Duke of Wellington's Regiment – West Riding
James Harris, 1st Earl of Malmesbury
James Harris, 1st Earl of Malmesbury, GCB was an English diplomat. Born at Salisbury, the son of James Harris, an MP and the author of Hermes, Elizabeth Clarke of Sandford, Somerset, he was educated at Winchester and Law and History at the University of Leiden. Harris arrived in Spain in December 1768 and became secretary to the British embassy at Madrid, was left as chargé d'affaires at that court on the departure of Sir James Grey in August 1769 until the arrival of George Pitt, afterwards Lord Rivers; this interval gave him his opportunity. As a reward he was appointed minister ad interim at Madrid. In January 1772 Harris was appointed envoy-extraordinary to Prussia in Berlin, arriving on 21 February. Within a month of his arrival he became the first diplomat to hear of Frederick the Great's partition of Poland with the cooperation of Russia, his service in this office was undistinguished but he made an impression on Frederick, who requested that he be reappointed. Harris married Harriet Maria Amyand, the youngest daughter of Sir George Amyand MP and Anna Maria Korteen.
They had four children together: Lady Frances Harris m. General Galbraith Lowry Cole Lady Catherine Harris m. General Sir John Bell James Edward Harris, 2nd Earl of Malmesbury Rev. Hon. Thomas Alfred Harris In autumn of 1777, Harris travelled to Russia to be envoy-extraordinary to Russia, an office he held until September 1783. At St Petersburg he made his reputation, for he managed to get on with Catherine II, in spite of her predilections for France, steered adroitly through the accumulated difficulties of the first Armed Neutrality, he was made a Knight of the Bath at the end of 1778. He did great service in furthering Pitt's policy of maintaining England's influence on the Continent by the arms of her allies, held the threads of the diplomacy which ended in the king of Prussia's overthrowing the Patriot republican party in the Dutch Republic, inclined to France, re-establishing the stadtholder William V, Prince of Orange in his dictatorial powers; as envoy, Harris immersed himself in Dutch politics from 1784 on and managed to become the de facto leader of the Orangist party.
He and his French counterpart, Charles Olivier de Saint-Georges de Vérac, the French ambassador to the States General of the Netherlands, fought a secret war with the help of agents of influence, like the then-Grand Pensionary of the province of Zeeland, Laurens Pieter van de Spiegel, the confidential agent Hendrik August van Kinckel, spies like Pierre Auguste Brahain Ducange.. Harris returned to London in secret at the end of May 1787, where he managed to convince the Cabinet to endorse a policy of subversion in the Dutch Republic, to be funded by £70,000 from a slush fund, laundered through the king's Civil list. Harris agents used the money to bribe regiments of the Dutch States Army in the pay of the Patriot States of Holland, that had deposed the stadtholder as Captain-General of that Army, to defect; the counter-measures of the States of Holland precipitated a political crisis that prompted the States to ask for French mediation. The arrest of Princess Wilhelmina, the wife of the stadtholder, on 28 June 1782, gave Prussia and Great Britain an opening to muscle in on this diplomatic mediation, offered an excuse to intervene militarily.
In recognition of his services he was created Lord Malmesbury, Baron of Malmesbury, in the County of Wiltshire on 19 September 1788, permitted by the King of Prussia to bear the Prussian eagle on his arms, by the Prince of Orange to use his motto "Je maintiendrai". In 1786 he told Pitt that France was "an ambitious and restless rival power, on whose good faith we never can rely, whose friendship never can be deemed sincere, of whose enmity we have the most to apprehend." He wrote to Robert Murray Keith: "...from everything I hear and observe, there is not the least doubt that France is working hard at the formation of a League, the object of which, is the Destruction of England."The historian Paul Langford has claimed that Harris "proved brilliantly effective as a focus for Orangist and anti-French feeling, as the agent of Anglo-Prussian cooperation". He returned to England and took an anxious interest in politics, which ended in his seceding from the Whig party with the Duke of Portland in 1793.
In that year he was sent by Pitt, but in vain, to try to keep Prussia true to the first coalition against France. In 1794, he was sent to Brunswick to solicit the hand of the unfortunate Princess Caroline of Brunswick for the Prince of Wales, to marry her as proxy, conduct her to her husband in England. For once his diplomatic skills seem to have failed him: confronted with Caroline's bizarre manner and appearance, he sent no advance word to the Prince, so shocked by the sight of his future wife that he asked Malmesbury to bring him brandy. In 1796 and 1797 he was in Paris vainly negotiating with the French Directory, in Lille in summer 1797 for fruitless negotiations with the Directory's plenipotentiaries Hugues-Bernard Maret, Georges René Le Peley de Pléville and Etienne Louis François Honoré Letourner. Due to bad roads in France, Malmesbury reached Paris on 22 October 1796, a week after leaving London; this led the foremost opponent of peace with France, Edmund Bu
George Pitt, 1st Baron Rivers
George Pitt, 1st Baron Rivers was an English diplomat and politician. He was born in Geneva, the eldest son of George Pitt of Stratfieldsaye and his wife Mary Louise Bernier from Strasbourg. General Sir William Augustus Pitt was his younger brother, he was educated at Winchester College with attendance recorded in 1731 and matriculated on 26 September 1737 at Magdalen College, being awarded an MA on 13 March 1739 and a DCL on 21 August 1745. He traveled on the continent from 1740 to 1742 and succeeded his father in 1745, he inherited Stratfield Saye House in Hampshire, making extensive alterations to the park. Soon after returning from Europe, he was elected Member of Parliament at a by-election for Shaftesbury that followed the death of Charles Ewer, sat as a Tory, he voted with the opposition during the War of the Austrian Succession against the employment of the Hanoverians. At the 1747 election, he stood for Shaftesbury on his own interest, although Lord Shaftesbury endorsed him a few weeks before the poll.
He stood for the county of Dorset, a Tory stronghold, was returned for both constituencies, choosing to sit for Dorset. In his electoral survey of c. 1749, John Perceval, 2nd Earl of Egmont, examining individuals' political support for and on behalf of Frederick, Prince of Wales, considered Pitt "not proper". He represented Dorset continuously until 1774, becoming an independent, supporting the government from the accession of George III. Upon the formation of the Dorset Militia under the Militia Act 1757, Pitt was commissioned colonel of the regiment, served until his resignation in 1798. In 1760, he was appointed a Groom of the Bedchamber to the King, in which office he served until 1770, when he was asked to resign to make way for Sir George Osborn, 4th Baronet, a cousin of Lord North. From 1761 to 1768, he served as Envoy-extraordinary to the Kingdom of Sardinia at Turin, although he went on leave in 1764 and never returned. In 1770 he was superseded the following year. On 20 May 1776, he was raised to the peerage as Baron Rivers, of Stratfield Saye, Hampshire.
In 1780, he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, but was replaced in 1782, when he became a Lord of the Bedchamber. He was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Dorset in 1793. On 16 March 1802, he obtained a new patent as Baron Rivers, of Sudeley Castle, with special remainder, in default of male issue, to his brother Sir William and his issue male, failing which to his daughter Louisa's son Horace Beckford and his issue male, he was succeeded by his only son George. On 4 January 1746, at Oxford Chapel, Marylebone, he married Penelope, daughter of Sir Henry Atkins, 4th Baronet, of Clapham, Surrey, they had four children: George Pitt, 2nd Baron Rivers Hon. Penelope Pitt, married Edward Ligonier, 1st Earl Ligonier, in 1766, she was buried in the Protestant Cemetery in Italy. Rivers Inlet, a fjord on the Central Coast of British Columbia, was named by Captain George Vancouver for George Pitt. Lee, Sidney, ed.. "Pitt, George". Dictionary of National Biography. 45. London: Smith, Elder & Co. G. F. R. Barker, ‘Pitt, first Baron Rivers ’, rev.
R. D. E. Eagles, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, accessed 24 Aug 2008. Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs thepeerage.com/p4567.htm#i45663 ThePeerage.com
Robert Henley, 1st Earl of Northington
Sir Robert Henley, 1st Earl of Northington, PC was the Lord Chancellor of Great Britain. He was known for his wit and writing. Born the second son of Anthony Henley, Robert Henley was from a wealthy family in Hampshire, his grandfather, Sir Robert Henley, had been Master of the Court of the King's Bench a defence counsel. Henley's father Anthony Henley was interested in literature; when he moved to London, he became the friend of the Earls of Dorset and Sunderland, as well as a friend of Swift and Burnet. After becoming a married man, Anthony Henley had been the Member of Parliament for Andover in 1698, he died in August, 1711 and was succeeded in turn by his eldest son and his second son, Robert. Henley attended St. John's College in Oxford, he gained a fellowship at the All Souls College in 1727, entered the Inner Temple to study law in 1729 and was called to the bar on 23 June 1732. He succeeded his elder brother in 1746, inheriting The Grange, Northington in Hampshire, built for his grandfather by Inigo Jones.
He was elected a Member of Parliament for Bath in 1747 and became Recorder of the town in 1751. He was appointed Attorney General and knighted in 1756 and promoted the next year to Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, the last person to receive this title. Although as Lord Keeper he presided over the House of Lords, he was not made a peer until 1760 when he became Baron Henley of Grange in the County of Southampton; when George III ascended to power, Henley was appointed Lord Chancellor in 1761 and made Earl of Northington in 1764. The delay in raising him to the peerage was due to the hostility of George II, who resented Henley's former support of the Prince of Wales's faction, known as the Leicester House party, he resigned from his position in 1767 and died at his residence in Hampshire on 14 January 1772. In 1743, Henley had married Jane Huband, the daughter of Sir John Huband of Ipsley of Warwickshire, he had five daughters. The names of his daughters were: Lady Catherine Henley, Lady Bridget Henley, Jane Henley, Lady Elizabeth Henley, Mary Henley.
He was succeeded by 2nd Earl of Northington. Vernon v Bethell 28 ER 838, "necessitous men are not speaking, free men, but, to answer a present exigency, will submit to any terms that the crafty may impose upon them." Shanley v Harvey 2 Eden 126, 127, as “soon as a man sets foot on English ground he is free.” Brown v Peck 1 Eden 140, provisions discouraging cohabitation were void against public policy, as where a will promised £5 a month to a beneficiary to split up from her husband, or £2 otherwise. She was entitled to the £5. Hussey v. Dillon 2 Amb 603, 604, testament and meaning of "grandchildren" 1 Eden 5, “The Court has always in cases of this nature considered the question of consent with great latitude, adhering to the spirit and not the letter; the maxim Qui tacet satis loquitur has therefore been respected, constructive consents have been looked upon as entitled to as much regard as if conveyed in express terms.” Earl of Buckinghamshire v Drury Pike v Hoare, 2 Eden, 182. 428, on conflict of laws, a will affecting lands in the Colonies “is not triable” in this country.
Burgess v Wheate 1 Eden, 251 A memoir of the life of Robert Henely, earl of Northington, lord high chancellor of Great Britain The Complete peerage of England, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdoms, Extinct or Dormant Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage re: Penancoet Family Complete Baronetage Burke's Peerage and Baronetage A genealogical survey of the peerage of Britain as well as the royal families of Europe
James FitzJames, 1st Duke of Berwick
James FitzJames, 1st Duke of Berwick, 1st Duke of Liria and Jérica, 1st Duke of Fitz-James, GE, KOGF was an Anglo-French military leader, illegitimate son of King James II of England by Arabella Churchill, sister of the 1st Duke of Marlborough. Berwick was a successful general in the pay of Louis XIV of France. FitzJames was born at Moulins in France before his father's accession to the throne, was brought up in France as a Roman Catholic, he was the son of James and his mistress Arabella Churchill, sister of the English captain general and statesman John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough. He was educated at the Stuarts' expense in the College of Juilly, the Collège du Plessis, the Jesuit College of La Flèche, he went into the service of Charles V, Duke of Lorraine, was present at the siege of Buda. FitzJames was created Duke of Berwick, Earl of Tinmouth and Baron Bosworth by his father in 1687, he returned to Hungary and participated at the Battle of Mohács. Berwick was made Governor of Portsmouth.
King James made him a Knight of the Garter, appointed him Colonel of The Blues to replace the Protestant Earl of Oxford. The post had been coveted by his uncle the Earl of Marlborough, but FitzJames was earmarked for command, as Catholics replaced Anglicans, but due to the invasion of the Prince of Orange and the subsequent Glorious Revolution, the installation never took place. Berwick in all conscience could not remain with the Colonel of The Blues' Troop he had served since 1682. Officers were required to answer'three questions' designed by the king to test their loyalty. Berwick was with his father at Salisbury. James II was overthrown in December 1688 and Berwick went into exile with him. In 1689 Berwick accompanied his father to Ireland and fought in the Irish campaign at the Siege of Derry and the Battle of the Boyne during which he led a charge, was unhorsed and killed in the melee; when his father departed for France after the Boyne, Berwick remained with the Jacobite Irish Army during the retreat to Limerick.
On 2 August he was one of the Generals, with Patrick Sarsfield and Boisselau who shored up the defences at Limerick awaiting the Williamite assault. On 22 June 1691, Berwick was with the French general's command, St Ruth, at Aughrim, a site of his choosing when General Ginckel appeared over the hill with a superior force of 18,000 Williamites; the defenders were surrounded on one side by peat bog, on the other Kilcommodon Hill. Berwick was with Sarsfield's corps on the Irish right, who had an uncommitted reserve, when The Blues smashed through the Irish lines on the left, broke the Irish Dragoons, caused a general panic to ensue. General St Ruth was decapitated by a stray cannonball, but Sarsfield was too late to rescue the situation, he retired with Berwick to the relative safety of Limerick. Under the terms of Treaty of Limerick, signed on 3 October, all Irish contingents were banished to the continent forever; these soldiers became known as the Wild Geese: mercenaries forbidden from setting foot in Britain.
James II created Berwick Colonel of Wild Geese. Berwick arrived too late at the siege of Cork with 4,000 French troops, but unable to effect a result, he withdrew, it was at this time that he undertook a number of secret visits to England on behalf of the Jacobite cause. After his father's final exile, Berwick served in the French army under Marshal Luxemburg, he fought at the battles of Steenkerque. Luxemburg fell into William's trap set against superior numbers, but reinforcements failed the English, the French rallied to send the Maison Militaire du Roi infantry downhill. Berwick was in the charge of the division, they were driven from the field with heavy losses. Berwick was one of Luxemburg's principal officers, in 1694 commanded the centre of a large French army. After several forced marches to entrap William, they crossed the Meuse again before stopping them near Neerwinden. Berwick struggled against the Foot Guards, he was taken prisoner by his cousin, Charles Churchill, ransomed for 30,000 florins.
The Irish peer was accused of allowing himself to fall into enemy hands. The scandal swept Whitehall Palace causing angry questions in Parliament. At the same time a huge number of 400 ships bound for the Smyrna Convoy were taken by the French; because of his support for his father and service in the French army against England, he was attainted in 1695 by Act of Parliament rendering his British peerages forfeit. As a soldier, Berwick was esteemed for his courage and integrity, but when Marlborough challenged the French to fight at Liege, Boufflers retreated. In June 1704, Berwick commanded a combined Franco-Spanish army but they did not challenge the enemy, only taking a few of the Barrier Fortresses. By July 1706 Berwick had established increasing dominance in the north of Spain as the Bourbons' premier general. In August partizans forced the Earl of Galway to evacuate Madrid allowing Berwick into winter quarters; as a result of distinguished service in the War of the Spanish Succession, he became a French subject and was appointed a Marshal of France after his successful expedition against Nice in 1706.
Louis XIV was in the habit of sending his marshals lengthy orders. In 1707 he wrote the duc de Vendome: "...it will be necessary for the Duke of Berwick to detach a similar proportion and to send a sufficient number of tro
Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton
Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, was the only son of Henry Wriothesley, 2nd Earl of Southampton, Mary Browne, daughter of Anthony Browne, 1st Viscount Montagu. Shakespeare's two narrative poems and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece, were dedicated to Southampton, identified as the Fair Youth of Shakespeare's Sonnets. Henry Wriothesley, born 6 October 1573 at Cowdray House, was the only son of Henry Wriothesley, 2nd Earl of Southampton, by Mary Browne, the only daughter of Anthony Browne, 1st Viscount Montague, his first wife, Jane Radcliffe, he had two sisters, who died before 1573, Mary, who in June 1585 married Thomas Arundell, 1st Baron Arundell of Wardour. After his father's death, Southampton's mother married firstly, on 2 May 1594, as his second wife, Sir Thomas Heneage, Vice-Chamberlain of the Household, secondly, between 5 November 1598 and 31 January 1599, Sir William Hervey, she died in November 1607. When his father died on 4 October 1581 Southampton inherited the earldom and landed income valued at £1097 6s per annum.
His wardship and marriage were sold by the Queen to her kinsman, Lord Howard of Effingham, for £1000. According to Akrigg, Howard "entered into some further agreement, of which no documentation can now be found, which transferred to Lord Burghley the custody and marriage of the young Earl, but left Howard holding his lands", late in 1581 or early in 1582 Southampton eight years of age, came to live at Cecil House in the Strand. In October 1585, at age twelve, Southampton entered St John's College, graduating M. A. on 6 June 1589. His name was entered at the Gray's Inn legal society before he left the university, he was admitted on 29 February 1588. On Southampton's 16th birthday, 6 October 1589, Lord Burghley noted Southampton's age in his diary, by 1590 Burghley was negotiating with Southampton's grandfather, Anthony Browne, 1st Viscount Montague, Southampton's mother, for a marriage between Southampton and Lord Burghley's eldest granddaughter, Elizabeth Vere, daughter of Burghley's daughter, Anne Cecil, Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford.
However the match was not to Southampton's liking, in a letter written in November 1594, about six weeks after Southampton had turned 21, the Jesuit Henry Garnet reported the rumour that "The young Erle of Southampton refusing the Lady Veere payeth £5000 of present payment". In 1591 Lord Burghley's Clerk in Chancery, John Clapham, dedicated to Southampton a poem in Latin, recounting the Greek legend of a beautiful young man who perishes through self-love. According to Akrigg, Southampton was now spending much of his time at court, he was in attendance when Queen Elizabeth visited Oxford in late September 1592, was praised fulsomely in the Latin poem written by John Sandford to commemorate the Queen's visit. In October 1592 Southampton's grandfather, Viscount Montague, died. Montague had been a Knight of the Garter, on 3 May 1593 Philip Gawdy of Clifford's Inn wrote to his brother, Bassingbourne Gawdy, that Southampton had been nominated to the Order, together with the Lord Keeper, Lord Burgh, Lord Willoughby de Eresby.
Shortly thereafter, in his Honour of the Garter dated 26 June 1593, George Peele referred to him as "Gentle Wriothesley, Southampton's star", claiming erroneously that an Earl of Southampton had been among the founding Knights. However it was not until 1603. In 1593 Shakespeare dedicated his narrative poem Venus and Adonis to Southampton, followed in 1594 by The Rape of Lucrece. Although the dedication to Venus and Adonis is more restrained, the dedication to The Rape of Lucrece is couched in extravagant terms: "The love I dedicate to your lordship is without end... What I have done is yours; this type of vaunting language was not unusual though, because other dedications of the day always excessively praised any noble person sponsoring the author's work – for political, above all financial, reasons. Nathan Drake, in Shakespeare and his Times, was the first to suggest that Southampton was not only the dedicatee of Shakespeare's two long narrative poems, but the "Fair Youth" of the Sonnets; the title page refers to the "onlie begetter of these insuing sonnets Mr W.
H." and it had earlier been inferred that the Sonnets were addressed to "Mr. W. H.". Drake, adopting Chalmers' suggestion that one meaning of "beget" is "bring forth", argued that Mr. W. H. was the procurer of the manuscript rather than the "Fair Youth" addressed in the poems. Other adherents of the theory that Southampton was the addressee of the Sonnets have suggested that his initials, H. W. were reversed by the publisher to conceal his identity. However Honan argues that although Southampton "may be involved in Shakespeare's sonnets", "there is no real likelihood that he traduced him by drawing his portrait as the fickle, treacherous Young Man of the sonnets, implicitly'lascivious','sensual' to a'fault' or to his'shame', ridden with vices". Despite extensive archival research, no documents have been found concerning their relationship apart from the dedications to Shakespeare's two long narrative poems. Nicholas Rowe, on the authority of poet and playwright William Davenant, stated in his Life of Shakespeare that Southampton once gave Shakespeare £1000 to "go through with a purchase," but Honan terms this a myth.
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, was an Anglo-Irish soldier and Tory statesman, one of the leading military and political figures of 19th-century Britain, serving twice as Prime Minister. His victory against Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 puts him in the first rank of Britain's military heroes. Wellesley was born in Dublin into the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland, he was commissioned as an ensign in the British Army in 1787, serving in Ireland as aide-de-camp to two successive Lords Lieutenant of Ireland. He was elected as a Member of Parliament in the Irish House of Commons, he was a colonel by 1796, saw action in the Netherlands and in India, where he fought in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War at the Battle of Seringapatam. He was appointed governor of Seringapatam and Mysore in 1799 and, as a newly appointed major-general, won a decisive victory over the Maratha Confederacy at the Battle of Assaye in 1803. Wellesley rose to prominence as a general during the Peninsular campaign of the Napoleonic Wars, was promoted to the rank of field marshal after leading the allied forces to victory against the French Empire at the Battle of Vitoria in 1813.
Following Napoleon's exile in 1814, he was granted a dukedom. During the Hundred Days in 1815, he commanded the allied army which, together with a Prussian Army under Blücher, defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. Wellington's battle record is exemplary. Wellington is famous for his adaptive defensive style of warfare, resulting in several victories against numerically superior forces while minimising his own losses, he is regarded as one of the greatest defensive commanders of all time, many of his tactics and battle plans are still studied in military academies around the world. After the end of his active military career, Wellington returned to politics, he was twice British prime minister as part of the Tory party: from 1828 to 1830, for a little less than a month in 1834. He oversaw the passage of the Catholic Relief Act 1829, but opposed the Reform Act 1832, he continued as one of the leading figures in the House of Lords until his retirement and remained Commander-in-Chief of the British Army until his death.
Wellesley was born into an aristocratic Anglo-Irish family in Ireland as The Hon. Arthur Wesley, the third of five surviving sons of Anne and Garret Wesley, 1st Earl of Mornington, his mother was the eldest daughter of The 1st Viscount Dungannon. As such, he belonged to the Protestant Ascendancy, his biographers follow the same contemporary newspaper evidence in saying that he was born on 1 May 1769, the day before he was baptised. His birthplace is uncertain, he was most born at his parents' townhouse, 24 Upper Merrion Street, now the Merrion Hotel. But his mother Anne, Countess of Mornington, recalled in 1815 that he had been born at 6 Merrion Street, Dublin. Other places have been put forward as the location of his birth, including Mornington House, as his father had asserted, he spent most of his childhood at his family's two homes, the first a large house in Dublin and the second Dangan Castle, 3 miles north of Summerhill on the Trim Road in County Meath. In 1781, Arthur's father died and his eldest brother Richard inherited his father's earldom.
He went to the diocesan school in Trim when at Dangan, Mr Whyte's Academy when in Dublin, Brown's School in Chelsea when in London. He enrolled at Eton College, where he studied from 1781 to 1784, his loneliness there caused him to hate it, makes it unlikely that he said "The Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton", a quotation, attributed to him. Moreover, Eton had no playing fields at the time. In 1785, a lack of success at Eton, combined with a shortage of family funds due to his father's death, forced the young Wellesley and his mother to move to Brussels; until his early twenties, Arthur showed little sign of distinction and his mother grew concerned at his idleness, stating, "I don't know what I shall do with my awkward son Arthur."A year Arthur enrolled in the French Royal Academy of Equitation in Angers, where he progressed becoming a good horseman and learning French, which proved useful. Upon returning to England in late 1786, he astonished his mother with his improvement.
Despite his new promise, he had yet to find a job and his family was still short of money, so upon the advice of his mother, his brother Richard asked his friend the Duke of Rutland to consider Arthur for a commission in the Army. Soon afterward, on 7 March 1787, he was gazetted ensign in the 73rd Regiment of Foot. In October, with the assistance of his brother, he was assigned as aide-de-camp, on ten shillings a day, to the new Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Buckingham, he was transferred to the new 76th Regiment forming in Ireland and on Christmas Day, 1787, was promoted lieutenant. During his time in Dublin his duties were social. While in Ireland, he overextended himself in borrowing due to his occasional gambling, but in his defence stated that "I have known what it was to be in want of money, but I have never got helplessly into debt". On 23 January 1788, he transferred into the 41st Regiment of Foot again on 25 June 1789, still a lieutenant, he transferred to the 12th Regi