Arthur Wellesley, 2nd Duke of Wellington

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The Duke of Wellington
Arthur Wellesley, 2nd Duke of Wellington.jpg
The Duke of Wellington, c. 1870
Master of the Horse
In office
21 January 1853 – 21 February 1858
MonarchQueen Victoria
Prime MinisterThe Earl of Aberdeen
The Viscount Palmerston
Preceded byThe Earl of Jersey
Succeeded byThe Duke of Beaufort
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
14 September 1852 – 13 August 1884
Hereditary Peerage
Preceded byThe 1st Duke of Wellington
Succeeded byThe 3rd Duke of Wellington
Member of Parliament
for Norwich
In office
24 July 1837 – 7 July 1852
Preceded byWilliam Murray
Succeeded byEdward Warner
Member of Parliament
for Aldeburgh
In office
May 1829 – 8 December 1832
Preceded byWyndham Lewis
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Personal details
Born(1807-02-03)3 February 1807
Harley Street, Soho, London, England
Died13 August 1884(1884-08-13) (aged 77)
Brighton Railway Station, Brighton, Sussex
Spouse(s)Lady Elizabeth Hay
Parent(s)Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
Hon. Catherine Pakenham
Alma materChrist Church, Oxford
Trinity College, Cambridge

Lieutenant-General Arthur Richard Wellesley, 2nd Duke of Wellington, KG, PC (3 February 1807 – 13 August 1884), styled Lord Douro between 1812 and 1814 and Marquess of Douro between 1814 and 1852, was a British soldier and politician. The eldest son of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, victor of Waterloo and Prime Minister, he succeeded his father in the dukedom in 1852 and held minor political office as Master of the Horse from 1853 to 1858. In 1858 he was made a Knight of the Garter.

Background and education[edit]

Wellesley was born at Harley Street, Marylebone, London, the eldest son of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, and the Honourable Catherine Sarah Dorothea "Kitty" Pakenham, daughter of Edward Pakenham, 2nd Baron Longford. Lord Charles Wellesley was his younger brother and Lord Wellesley, Lord Mornington and Lord Cowley his uncles. He was educated at Temple Grove School, Eton College, Christ Church, Oxford, and Trinity College, Cambridge.[1] He became known by the courtesy title Lord Douro when his father was created Earl of Wellington in 1812 and as Marquess of Douro in 1814 after his father was elevated to a dukedom.[2]

Military career[edit]

Lord Douro became an ensign in the 81st Regiment of Foot in 1823[3] and in the 71st (Highland) Regiment of Foot in 1825,[4] a cornet in the Royal Horse Guards in 1825,[5] a lieutenant in the Royal Horse Guards in 1827,[6] a captain in the Royal Horse Guards in 1828[2] and in the King's Royal Rifle Corps the same year,[7] a major in the King's Royal Rifle Corps in 1830[2] and in the Rifle Brigade in 1831,[8] a lieutenant-colonel on the unattached list in 1834,[9] a brevet colonel in 1846,[10] a lieutenant-colonel in the Victoria (Middlesex) Rifle Volunteer Corps in 1853[2] and a major-general in 1854.[11]

Political career[edit]

Lord Douro was elected to parliament for the rotten borough of Aldeburgh in 1829, a seat he held until its abolition by the Reform Act of 1832.[2][12] He was out of parliament until 1837, when he was returned for Norwich.[2][13] In 1852 he succeeded his father in the dukedom and entered the House of Lords.[2] In early 1853 he was sworn of the Privy Council[14] and appointed Master of the Horse in Lord Aberdeen's coalition government,[15] a post he retained when Lord Palmerston became prime minister in 1855. He resigned along with the rest of the Palmerston government in 1858.[2] The latter year he was made a Knight of the Garter.[16]

In 1863 Wellington inherited the earldom of Mornington on the death of his cousin William Pole-Tylney-Long-Wellesley, 5th Earl of Mornington. From 1868 to 1884 he was Lord-Lieutenant of Middlesex.[2]

Family and personal legacy[edit]

"The son of Waterloo". Wellington, as caricatured by Adriano Cecioni in Vanity Fair, June 1872.

Wellington married Lady Elizabeth Hay, daughter of Field Marshal George Hay, 8th Marquess of Tweeddale, in 1839. They had no children.[2] The marriage was not a happy one although Lady Elizabeth was a great favourite with her father-in-law.[17] On succeeding his illustrious father he was said to have remarked: "Imagine what it will be when the Duke of Wellington is announced, and only I walk in the room."[This quote needs a citation] The relationship between father and son is often described as the classic case of the son of a famous father who cannot match such fame.[18] Wellington died at Brighton Railway Station, Brighton, Sussex, in August 1884, aged 77, and was buried at the family seat Stratfield Saye House, Hampshire. His probate was resworn six years later at £171,356 (equivalent to about £19,000,000 in 2021).[19] He was succeeded by his nephew, Henry. The Duchess died at Bearhill (Burhill) Park (House), Hersham, Surrey, in August 1904, aged 83, and was buried at Stratfield Saye.[2] Her probate left assets of £13,997.[19]

In literature[edit]

The Brontë family portrayed the first Duke of Wellington and his two sons in their imaginary games about the colonisation of Africa. They wrote many stories about Arthur, with Charlotte assuming the character of Charles as the "author" of these stories. As Charlotte and Branwell moved into their teenage years and used Lord Byron's writings as inspiration, they focused on Arthur as a romantic, heroic figure. He was known to them as the Duke of Zamorna, and later as Emperor Adrian of Angria. Elements of his character formed the basis for Edward Rochester in Jane Eyre.[20][21][22][23]

Thomas Raikes ("the Younger"), a British merchant banker, dandy and diarist, was a close childhood friend, travelling and gambling companion of Arthur Wellesley, 2nd Duke of Wellington. His journals Two volumes of Private Correspondence with the 2nd Duke of Wellington and other Distinguished Contemporaries were published in 1861.


  • 3 February 1807 – 26 August 1809: Arthur Richard Wellesley, Esq.
  • 26 August 1809 – 28 February 1812: Hon. Arthur Richard Wellesley, Esq.
  • 28 February 1812 – 3 May 1814: Lord Douro
  • 3 May 1814 – 14 September 1852: Marquess of Douro
  • 14 September 1852 – 7 February 1853: His Grace The Duke of Wellington
  • 7 February 1853 – 25 March 1858: His Grace The Duke of Wellington PC
  • 25 March 1858 – 13 August 1884: His Grace The Duke of Wellington KG, PC


  1. ^ "Wellesley, Arthur Richard, Marquess of Douro (WLSY825AR)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Lt.-Gen. Arthur Richard Wellesley, 2nd Duke of Wellington
  3. ^ "No. 17911". The London Gazette. 5 April 1823. p. 540.
  4. ^ "No. 18147". The London Gazette. 18 June 1825. p. 1071.
  5. ^ "No. 18147". The London Gazette. 18 June 1825. p. 1068.
  6. ^ "No. 18381". The London Gazette. 24 July 1827. p. 1589.
  7. ^ "No. 18493". The London Gazette. 5 August 1828. p. 1494.
  8. ^ "No. 18832". The London Gazette. 2 August 1831. p. 1562.
  9. ^ "No. 19181". The London Gazette. 12 August 1834. p. 1480.
  10. ^ "No. 20660". The London Gazette (1st supplement). 10 November 1846. p. 3990.
  11. ^ "No. 21564". The London Gazette. 22 June 1854. p. 1933.
  12. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "A" (part 1)
  13. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "N" (part 3)
  14. ^ "No. 21409". The London Gazette. 8 February 1853. p. 330.
  15. ^ "No. 21404". The London Gazette. 21 January 1853. p. 163.
  16. ^ "No. 22118". The London Gazette. 26 March 1858. p. 1575.
  17. ^ Longford, Elizabeth. Wellington-Elder Statesman. Weidenfeld & Nicolson London 1972.
  18. ^ Longford op.cit.
  19. ^ a b Calendar of Probates and Administrations
  20. ^ Elizabeth Gaskell, The Life of Charlotte Brontë. Smith & Elder, 1857. Entire text online at Gutenberg.
  21. ^ Fannie Elizabeth Ratchford, Legends of Angria. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1933.
  22. ^ Fannie Elizabeth Ratchford, The Brontës' Web of Childhood. Columbia University Press, 1941.
  23. ^ Charlotte and Branwell Brontë, Miscellaneous and Unpublished Writings. Shakespeare Head edition, 1932.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Aldeburgh
With: Joshua Walker 1829
Spencer Kilderbee 1829–1830
John Croker 1830–1832
Constituency abolished
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Norwich
With: Robert Scarlet 1835–1838
Benjamin Smith 1838–1847
Morton Peto 1847–1854
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Honorary titles
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