Royal Armouries

Wellington, First Duke of

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Date: 1818-1827

Wellington, First Duke of

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Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington was born in 1769.

He attended the Academy of Equitation at Angers from 1786 in order to prepare him for a military career, and in 1787, Wellington received a commission to the 73rd foot, a Highland regiment in India. Wellington’s successful military career is well known and, needless to say, by his victory at the battle of Waterloo in 1815 he was a national hero.

When Wellington returned to England he was soon made Master-General of the Ordnance, a role he held until 1827. In December 1826 Wellington had been made Constable of the Tower and the following January Commander-in-Chief of the forces.

Following a stroke, the Prime Minster, Lord Liverpool, stepped down and he was succeeded by George Canning, Wellington consequently resigned as Master General of the Ordnance and Commander-in-Chief. Following Canning’s death and the fall of the brief Goderich government Wellington became Prime Minster in 1828 until 1830. He continued as Constable of the Tower of London and Lord Lieutenant of Tower Hamlets until his death in 1852.

Wellington was buried at St Paul’s Cathedral on 14 November 1852, following a procession from Horse Guards via Constitution Hill. It is thought that over a million people turned out to pay their respects.

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