Arthur Valerian Wellesley, 8th Duke of Wellington
The Duke of Wellington
KG, LVO, OBE, MC
The Duke of Wellington
at Battlesbury Barracks, May 2006.
|Born||Arthur Valerian Wellesley
2 July 1915
Rome, Kingdom of Italy
|Died||31 December 2014 (aged 99)
Stratfield Saye House
|Resting place||Stratfield Saye House|
|Residence||Stratfield Saye House|
|Alma mater||New College, Oxford|
|Title||Duke of Wellington|
|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
|Years of service||1936–1968|
|Commands held||22nd Armoured Brigade
Household Cavalry Regiment
Royal Horse Guards Regiment
|Awards||Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order
Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Brigadier Arthur Valerian Wellesley, 8th Duke of Wellington KG, LVO, OBE, MC (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.
Apart from his British titles, Wellington held the hereditary titles of 8th Prince of Waterloo (Prins van Waterloo) of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Duke of the Victory (Duque da Vitória) of the former 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. 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.
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.
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. 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. 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. He received successive promotions to major on 2 July 1951, and to lieutenant colonel on 15 December 1954, rising to command of his regiment. Seeing service in Cyprus in 1957, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1958.
He then moved to the Household Cavalry Regiment, which he began commanding in 1959. Promoted to colonel on 14 January 1960, he commanded the 22nd Armoured Brigade (1960–1961), served as Commander, Royal Artillery for I(BR) Corps  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.
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. Through his final year, the Duke continued to conduct public engagements, most recently at the Order of the Garter investiture, 16 June 2014.
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.
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.
- 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). He married second, on 26 July 2005, his daughter's former teacher, Emma Nethercott. 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
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
|Knight of the Order of the Garter (KG)||1984|
|Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (LVO)||1952, as Member (Fourth Class); re-designated Lieutenant in 1984|
|Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)||1958 (Military Division)|
|Military Cross (MC)||1941|
|General Service Medal||with 'Cyprus' clasp and MID|
|France and Germany Star|
|War Medal 1939-1945|
|Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal||1977|
|Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal||2002|
|Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal||2012|
On 26 December 1941, as Second Lieutenant Wellesley, Wellesley was awarded the Military Cross "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."
Wellington was appointed a Member (Fourth Class) of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO) on 15 March 1952. 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".
In April 1990, he was further honoured by the Queen as a Knight of the Garter. 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).
Wellesley has been elected a Fellow of King's College London (FKC).
|Ancestors of Arthur Valerian Wellesley, 8th Duke of Wellington|
- "BOE, 30 de marzo de 2010, sección V." (PDF). Retrieved 2013-02-05.
- "BOE, 12 de junio de 2010". Boe.es. Retrieved 2013-02-05.
- "Brigadier Arthur Valerian Wellesley, 8th Duke of Wellington". Thepeerage.com. Retrieved 2013-02-05.
- The London Gazette: . 2 October 1936. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- The London Gazette: . 7 July 1939. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- The London Gazette: . 12 March 1940. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- The London Gazette: . 12 February 1946. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- The London Gazette: . 2 August 1946. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- The London Gazette: . 7 August 1951. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- The London Gazette: . 21 January 1955. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- The London Gazette: . 4 February 1958. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- The London Gazette: . 4 November 1960. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- The Army List, 1962
- The London Gazette: . 26 January 1968. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- The London Gazette: . 24 April 1975. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- "Search the Court Circular". 2014-06-16. Retrieved 2014-06-17.
- Rayner, Gordon (31 December 2014). "Duke of Wellington dies, aged 99". The Telegraph. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- Duke of Wellington's Regiment website, News article, Duke of Wellington Passed away this Morning, (31 December)
- Parker, Heidi (7 September 2014). "Singer James Blunt 'married fiancée Sofia Wellesley in a small chapel in Mallorca'". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- Michael Rhodes. Wellesley/Nethercott engagement. Retrieved 13 September 2007.
- Paul Theroff."Wellington". in An Online Gotha..
- The London Gazette: . 26 December 1941. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
- The London Gazette: . 26 December 1941. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
- The London Gazette: . 18 March 1952. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
- The London Gazette: . 7 February 1958. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
- The London Gazette: . 24 April 1990. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
- "www.orderofstjohn.org". www.orderofstjohn.org. 2013-01-11. Retrieved 2013-02-05.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Duke of Wellington
- The Yorkshire Regiment (14th/15th, 19th and 33rd/76th Foot
- Debrett's People of Today
|Peerage of the United Kingdom|
|Duke of Wellington
|Peerage of Ireland|
|Earl of Mornington
|Prince of Waterloo
|Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo
|Duke of Victoria
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