Valerian Wellesley, 8th Duke of Wellington

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The Duke of Wellington
8th Duke of Wellington 4 Allan Warren.jpg
The Duke in 1984, by Allan Warren.
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
4 January 1972 – 11 November 1999
Hereditary Peerage
Preceded byThe 7th Duke of Wellington
Succeeded bySeat abolished
Personal details
Arthur Valerian Wellesley

(1915-07-02)2 July 1915
Rome, Kingdom of Italy
Died31 December 2014(2014-12-31) (aged 99)
Stratfield Saye House
Resting placeStratfield Saye House
(m. 1944; died 2010)
ChildrenCharles 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
ResidenceStratfield Saye House
Alma materNew College, Oxford
Military service
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Branch/serviceBritish Army
Years of service1936–1968
Commands22nd Armoured Brigade
Household Cavalry Regiment
Royal Horse Guards Regiment
Battles/warsSecond World War Cyprus dispute
AwardsKnight of the Garter
Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order
Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Military Cross

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 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.

Background and education[edit]

Wellington was born in Rome, Italy, on 2 July 1915, the son of Lord Gerald Wellesley, future 7th Duke of Wellington, by his wife Dorothy Violet, daughter of Robert Ashton. He had one younger sister, the socialite Lady Elizabeth Clyde, whose son is the actor and musician Jeremy Clyde.

At the time of Wellington's birth, his father Gerald was the third son of the 4th Duke of Wellington, with little prospect of succeeding to the family's estates and titles. Wellington was 28 when his first cousin Henry, the 6th Duke, was killed in action aged 31 while serving in Italy during the Second World War. Wellington's father then became the 7th Duke, and Wellington himself came to be known by the courtesy title Marquess of Douro. He was known by this moniker between 1943 and 1972, when he became 8th Duke upon the death of his father.

Wellington attended Eton before going up to New College, Oxford.[1]

Military career[edit]

The Duke of Wellington at Battlesbury Barracks, May 2006.

Wellington was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Territorial Army in 1936,[2] and was commissioned with the same rank (on probation) in the British Army Reserve in 1939.[3] In 1940, he was given a full commission as a second lieutenant in the Royal Horse Guards Regiment, with the service number 68268.[4] He served in the Second World War with the 1st Household Cavalry Regiment in the Middle East and Italy,[5][6] during which time he was awarded the Military Cross,[7] and promoted to the war substantive rank of captain.[8] Following the war, the 1st Household Cavalry Regiment disbanded,[9] and he returned to Royal Horse Guards, where he was promoted to lieutenant in 1946,[8] and advanced to the rank of captain later that year.[10] He received successive promotions to major in 1951,[11] and to lieutenant colonel in 1954,[12] rising to command of his regiment.[6] Seeing service in Cyprus between 1956 and 1958,[6] he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1958.[13]

He then moved to the Household Cavalry Regiment, which he began commanding in 1959.[6] Promoted to colonel in 1960,[14] he commanded the 22nd Armoured Brigade (1960–1961), served as Commander, Royal Armoured Corps in the I(BR) Corps of the British Army of the Rhine, and became defence attaché to Spain in 1964.[6] He retired from the Army in 1968 and was granted the honorary rank of brigadier.[15]

Honorary appointments[edit]

Wellington was appointed the Colonel-in-Chief of the Duke of Wellington's Regiment in 1974, making him the only non-royal Colonel-in-Chief.[6] After its absorption into the Yorkshire Regiment, he was appointed Deputy Colonel-in-Chief of the new regiment.[16] He was also Deputy Colonel of The Blues and Royals and an Honorary Colonel of the 2nd Battalion, Wessex Regiment.[citation needed]

Later life and death[edit]

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.[1][17] Through his final years, the Duke continued to conduct public engagements, most recently at the Order of the Garter investiture, 16 June 2014.[18]

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.[19][20][5]

Marriage and issue[edit]

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 Francis McLaren. On 28 January 1944 he married Diana Ruth McConnel (1922–2010), only daughter of Major-General Douglas McConnel, of Knockdolian, Colmonell, Ayr, at St. George's Cathedral, Jerusalem. With Diana, he had five children:

  • Arthur Charles Valerian Wellesley, 9th Duke of Wellington, 10th Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo (19 August 1945); married Princess Antonia of Prussia.
  • Lord Richard Gerald Wellesley (20 June 1949); married Joanna Sumner on 14 July 1973. They have two daughters.
  • Lady (Caroline) Jane Wellesley (6 July 1951)
  • Lord John Henry Wellesley (20 April 1954); married Corinne Vaes, daughter of a Belgian diplomat, on 7 May 1977. They have two children.
  • Lord (James) Christopher Douglas Wellesley (16 December 1964); married 1) Laura Wedge in 1994 and they were divorced in 2005. 2) Emma Nethercott, with whom he had a daughter, Skye (2006-2021).

Titles and styles[edit]

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

He was 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.[21] King Juan Carlos of Spain, through his Minister, granted the succession of the dukedom to Douro on 21 May 2010.[22]

Honours and decorations[edit]

Arms of the Duke
Order of the Garter UK ribbon.png Knight of the Order of the Garter (KG) April 1990
Royal Victorian Order UK ribbon.png Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (LVO) 1952, as Member (Fourth Class); re-designated Lieutenant in 1984
Order of the British Empire (Military) Ribbon.png Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) 1958 (Military Division)
Military cross BAR.svg Military Cross (MC) 1941
Order of St John (UK) ribbon -vector.svg Officer of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem (OStJ)
39-45 Star BAR.svg 1939–1945 Star
Africa Star BAR.svg Africa Star
Italy Star BAR.svg Italy Star
France and Germany Star BAR.svg France and Germany Star
Defence Medal ribbon.png Defence Medal
War Medal 39-45 BAR.svg War Medal 1939–1945
General Service Medal 1918 BAR MID.svg General Service Medal with 'Cyprus' clasp and MID
Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal ribbon.gif Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal 1953
Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal ribbon.png Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal 1977
Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal ribbon.png Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal 2002
QEII Diamond Jubilee Medal ribbon.png Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal 2012
ESP Isabella Catholic Order GC.svg Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic Spain
Legion Honneur Officier ribbon.svg Officer of the Légion d'honneur France
Order of Saint Michael of the Wing (Portugal) - ribbon bar.gif Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Michael of the Wing Portugal (dynastic order)

On 26 December 1941, as Second Lieutenant Wellesley, Wellesley was awarded the Military Cross[7] "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."[1][23]

Wellington was appointed a Member (Fourth Class) of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO) on 15 March 1952.[24] 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".[25]

In April 1990, he was further honoured by the Queen as a Knight of the Garter.[26] 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 was also an Officer of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem (OStJ).[1]

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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Brigadier Arthur Valerian Wellesley, 8th Duke of Wellington". Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  2. ^ "No. 34328". The London Gazette. 2 October 1936. p. 6278.
  3. ^ "No. 34643". The London Gazette. 7 July 1939. p. 4666.
  4. ^ "No. 34809". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 March 1940. p. 1460.
  5. ^ a b "The Duke of Wellington – obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 31 December 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "The Duke of Wellington". The Independent. 1 January 2015.
  7. ^ a b "No. 35396". The London Gazette. 26 December 1941. p. 7334.
  8. ^ a b "No. 37462". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 February 1946. p. 895.
  9. ^ "Household Cavalry Regiment at by T.F.Mills". Archived from the original on 18 November 2005. Retrieved 31 July 2016.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  10. ^ "No. 37673". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 August 1946. p. 3927.
  11. ^ "No. 39306". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 August 1951. p. 4253.
  12. ^ "No. 40389". The London Gazette (Supplement). 21 January 1955. p. 493.
  13. ^ "No. 41304". The London Gazette (Supplement). 4 February 1958. p. 839.
  14. ^ "No. 42186". The London Gazette (Supplement). 4 November 1960. p. 7543.
  15. ^ "No. 44513". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 January 1968. p. 1180.
  16. ^ "Duke of Wellington dies, aged 99". The Telegraph. 31 December 2014.
  17. ^ "No. 46553". The London Gazette. 24 April 1975. p. 5267.
  18. ^ "Search the Court Circular". 16 June 2014. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  19. ^ Rayner, Gordon (31 December 2014). "Duke of Wellington dies, aged 99". The Telegraph. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
  20. ^ Duke of Wellington's Regiment website, News article, Duke of Wellington Passed away this Morning, (31 December) Archived 31 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ "BOE, 30 de marzo de 2010, sección V." (PDF). Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  22. ^ Reported officially in the Official State Gazette for 12 June 2010."BOE, 12 de junio de 2010". Archived from the original on 18 June 2010. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  23. ^ "No. 35396". The London Gazette. 26 December 1941. p. 7332.
  24. ^ "No. 39494". The London Gazette. 18 March 1952. pp. 1543–1544.
  25. ^ "No. 41304". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 February 1958. p. 839.
  26. ^ "No. 52120". The London Gazette. 24 April 1990. p. 8251.

External links[edit]

Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Duke of Wellington
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Peerage of Ireland
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Dutch nobility
Preceded by Prince of Waterloo
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Spanish nobility
Preceded by Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo
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Portuguese nobility
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