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Arthur Valerian Wellesley, 8th Duke of Wellington

His Grace
The Duke of Wellington
The Duke of Wellington
at Battlesbury Barracks, May 2006.
Born Arthur Valerian Wellesley
(1915-07-02)2 July 1915
Rome, Kingdom of Italy
Died 31 December 2014(2014-12-31) (aged 99)
Stratfield Saye House
Resting place
Stratfield Saye House
Residence Stratfield Saye House
Nationality British
Alma mater New College, Oxford
Title Duke of Wellington
Predecessor Gerald Wellesley
Successor Charles Wellesley
Spouse(s) Diana McConnel (1944–2010; her death)
Children Charles Wellesley, 9th Duke of Wellington
Lord Richard Wellesley
Lady Jane Wellesley
Lord John Wellesley
Lord James Wellesley
Parent(s) Gerald Wellesley, 7th Duke of Wellington
Dorothy Violet Ashton
Military career
Allegiance 23x15px United Kingdom
Service/branch 22x20px British Army
Years of service 1936–1968
Rank Brigadier
Commands held 22nd Armoured Brigade
Household Cavalry Regiment
Royal Horse Guards Regiment

Second World War

Cyprus dispute
Awards Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order
Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Military Cross
Brigadier Arthur Valerian Wellesley, 8th Duke of Wellington KGLVOOBEMC (2 July 1915 – 31 December 2014), styled Marquess of Douro between 1943 and 1972, was a senior British peer and a retired brigadier in the British Army. His main residence was Stratfield Saye House in Hampshire.

He was a member of the House of Lords from 1972 until 1999, losing his seat by the House of Lords Act.

Apart from his British titles, Wellington held the hereditary titles of 8th Prince of Waterloo (Prins van Waterloo) of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Duke of the Victory (Duque da Vitória) of the Kingdom of Portugal with its subsidiary titles Marquis of Torres Vedras (Marquês de Torres Vedras) and Count of Vimeiro (Conde de Vimeiro). These were granted to the first Duke as victory titles for his distinguished services as victorious commanding general in the Peninsular War (in Spain and Portugal), and at the Battle of Waterloo (in what is now Belgium).

The 8th Duke of Wellington was also the 9th Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo (Duque de Ciudad Rodrigo) of the Kingdom of Spain, but on 10 March 2010 he ceded the Spanish Dukedom to his eldest child, Charles Wellesley, Marquess of Douro. In accordance with Spanish procedure, Lord Douro petitioned formal claim to the title with the Spanish authorities.[1] King Juan Carlos of Spain, through his Minister, granted the succession of the dukedom to Douro by Royal Decree on 21 May 2010, reported officially in the Official Bulletin of State for 12 June 2010.[2]

Background and education

Wellington was born in Rome, Italy on 2 July 1915, the son of Gerald Wellesley, 7th Duke of Wellington, and Dorothy Violet, daughter of Robert Ashton. He was known by the courtesy title Marquess of Douro from 1943 when his father succeeded in the dukedom on the death of his nephew. He attended Eton before going up to New College, Oxford.[3]

Military career

Wellington was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Territorial Army on 3 July 1936, and was commissioned with the same rank (on probation) in the British Army Reserve on 8 July 1939.[4][5] He was given a full commission as a second lieutenant on 9 March 1940 in the Royal Horse Guards Regiment, with the service number 68268.[6] He served in the Second World War with the Royal Horse Guards as a second lieutenant, during which time he was awarded the Military Cross and promoted to the war substantive rank of captain. He was promoted to lieutenant on 13 February 1946 and advanced to the substantive rank of captain on 1 July.[7][8] He received successive promotions to major on 2 July 1951,[9] and to lieutenant colonel on 15 December 1954, rising to command of his regiment.[10] Seeing service in Cyprus in 1957, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1958.[11]

He then moved to the Household Cavalry Regiment, which he began commanding in 1959. Promoted to colonel on 14 January 1960,[12] he commanded the 22nd Armoured Brigade (1960–1961), served in the British Army of the Rhine, and became defence attaché to Spain in 1964. He retired from the Army on 31 January 1968 with the honorary rank of brigadier.[13]

Honorary appointments

Wellington was Deputy Colonel-in-Chief (to HRH The Duke of York) of the Yorkshire Regiment, Deputy Colonel (to HRH The Princess Royal) of The Blues and Royals and an Honorary Colonel of the 2nd Battalion, Wessex Regiment.

Later life and death

Wellington was involved in business as a Director of Massey Ferguson Holdings Ltd from 1967 to 1989 and of Motor Iberica SA (Spain) from 1967 to 1999. He was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire on 18 April 1975.[3][14] Through his final year, the Duke continued to conduct public engagements, most recently at the Order of the Garter investiture, 16 June 2014.[15]

Wellington died peacefully at his home, Stratfield Saye Estate, near Basingstoke, on New Year's Eve 2014, six months before the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, and seven months before his 100th birthday.[16][17]


File:Arthur Wellesley 8th Duke of Wellington.jpg
The 8th Duke of Wellington wearing his robes as a Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter at Windsor Castle (2006)

Wellington was twice engaged to Lady Rose Paget, the daughter of Charles Paget, 6th Marquess of Anglesey, who eventually married the Hon. John McLaren. On 28 January 1944 he married Diana Ruth McConnel (1921–2010), only daughter of Major-General Douglas Fitzgerald McConnel CB, CBE, of Knockdolian, Colmonell, Ayr, at St. George's Cathedral in Jerusalem. With Diana, he had five children:

  • Arthur Charles Valerian Wellesley, 9th Duke of Wellington, 10th Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo (b. 19 August 1945), married to the Princess Antonia of Prussia and has issue, two sons, three daughters, two granddaughters and three grandsons.
  • Lord Richard Gerald Wellesley (b. 20 June 1949), who lives on his maternal grandfather's estate Knockdolian; he married 1973 (div) Joanna Marion Sumner, daughter of John Sumner of Marston St. Lawrence, and has issue, two daughters, Davinia Chloe (b. 1977) and Natasha Doone (b. 1981).
  • Lady (Caroline) Jane Wellesley (b. 6 July 1951), television producer and author. Unmarried.
  • Lord John Henry Wellesley (b. 20 April 1954), married 1977 Corinne Vaes, daughter of Robert Vaes, a Belgian diplomat, and has issue, one son Gerald Valerian born in 1981 and one daughter (Alexandrina) Sofia Blunt born in 1983, now married to the singer James Blunt.[18]
  • Lord James Christopher Douglas Wellesley (b. 16 December 1964), married first, in 1994 (divorced 2005) as her second husband, Laura Elizabeth Wedge, daughter of a property magnate, and has issue, 1 daughter, Eleanor (b. 1995).[19] He married second, on 26 July 2005, his daughter's former teacher, Emma Nethercott.[20] They have had issue, one son and two daughters. The son is named Oliver and the eldest daughter is named Sky and has Rett syndrome

Wellington was the elder brother of the socialite Lady Elizabeth Clyde and the uncle of the actor and musician Jeremy Clyde.

Titles and styles

  • 2 July 1915 – 16 September 1943: Arthur Valerian Wellesley
  • 16 September 1943 – 4 January 1972: Marquess of Douro
  • 4 January 1972 – 31 December 2014: His Grace The Duke of Wellington
    • (Netherlands): His Serene Highness The Prince of Waterloo (4 January 1972 – 31 December 2014)
    • (Spain): The Most Excellent The Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo (4 January 1972 – 21 May 2010)
    • (Portugal): His Excellency The Duke of the Victory (4 January 1972 – 31 December 2014)

Honours and decorations

100px Knight of the Order of the Garter (KG) 1984
100px Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (LVO) 1952, as Member (Fourth Class); re-designated Lieutenant in 1984
100px Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) 1958 (Military Division)
100px Military Cross (MC) 1941
100px General Service Medal with 'Cyprus' clasp and MID
100px 1939-45 Star
100px Africa Star
100px Italy Star
100px France and Germany Star
100px War Medal 1939-1945
100px Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal 1977
100px Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal 2002
100px Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal 2012

On 26 December 1941, as Second Lieutenant Wellesley, Wellesley was awarded the Military Cross[21] "in recognition of distinguished services in the Middle East (including Egypt, East Africa, The Western Desert, The Sudan, Greece, Crete, Syria and Tobruk) during the period February, 1941, to July, 1941."[3][22]

Wellington was appointed a Member (Fourth Class) of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO) on 15 March 1952.[23] Membership (Fourth Class) was redesignated Lieutenant in 1984, thus adjusting his post-nominal letters to LVO. He was made an Officer (Military) of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) on 7 February 1958 "in recognition of distinguished services in Cyprus for the period 1st July to 31st December, 1957".[24]

In April 1990, he was further honoured by HM The Queen as a Knight of the Garter.[25] His foreign honours include appointments as Officer of the Légion d'honneur, Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael of the Wing of Portugal and Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Isabel La Catolica of Spain. Wellington is also an Officer of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem (OStJ).[3][26]

Wellesley has been elected a Fellow of King's College London (FKC).


See also


  1. ^ "BOE, 30 de marzo de 2010, sección V." (PDF). Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  2. ^ "BOE, 12 de junio de 2010". Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Brigadier Arthur Valerian Wellesley, 8th Duke of Wellington". Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  4. ^ "London Gazette, 2 October 1936". 1936-10-02. Retrieved 2014-03-13. 
  5. ^ "London Gazette, 7 July 1939". 1939-07-07. Retrieved 2014-05-16. 
  6. ^ "Supplement to the London Gazette, 12 March 1940". 1940-03-12. Retrieved 2014-03-13. 
  7. ^ "London Gazette, 8 February 1946". 1946-02-08. Retrieved 2014-05-16. 
  8. ^ "London Gazette, 2 August 1946". 1946-07-30. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  9. ^ "Viewing Page 4253 of Issue 39306". 1951-08-07. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  10. ^ "London Gazette, 21 January 1955". 1955-01-21. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  11. ^ "London Gazette, 4 February 1958". 1958-02-04. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  12. ^ "London Gazette, 4 November 1960". 1960-11-04. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  13. ^ "London Gazette, 26 January 1968". 1968-01-26. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  14. ^ "London Gazette, 24 April 1975". 1975-04-24. Retrieved 2014-05-17. 
  15. ^ "Search the Court Circular". 2014-06-16. Retrieved 2014-06-17. 
  16. ^ Duke of Wellington dies aged 99
  17. ^ Duke of Wellington's Regiment website, News article, Duke of Wellington Passed away this Morning, (31 December)
  18. ^ Daily Mail Online - Singer James Blunt 'married fiancée Sofia Wellesley in a small chapel in Mallorca' (7 September 2014)
  19. ^ Michael Rhodes. Wellesley/Nethercott engagement. Retrieved 13 September 2007.
  20. ^ Paul Theroff."Wellington". in An Online Gotha..
  21. ^ The London Gazette: no. 35396. p. 7334. 26 December 1941. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
  22. ^ The London Gazette: no. 35396. p. 7332. 26 December 1941. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
  23. ^ The London Gazette: no. 39494. pp. 1543–1544. 18 March 1952. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
  24. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 41304. p. 839. 4 February 1958. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
  25. ^ The London Gazette: no. 52120. p. 8251. 24 April 1990. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
  26. ^ "". 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 

External links

Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Gerald Wellesley
Duke of Wellington
Succeeded by
Charles Wellesley
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Gerald Wellesley
Earl of Mornington
Succeeded by
Charles Wellesley
Dutch nobility
Preceded by
Gerald Wellesley
Prince of Waterloo
Succeeded by
Charles Wellesley
Spanish nobility
Preceded by
Gerald Wellesley
Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo
Succeeded by
Charles Wellesley
Portuguese nobility
Preceded by
Gerald Wellesley
Duke of Victoria
Succeeded by
Charles Wellesley

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