The Funeral of Wellington

London Historians' Blog

wellington by lawrence Wellington by Thos. Lawrence

This day in 1852, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, was laid to rest in St Paul’s, having died on 14 September, aged 83. Nearly half a century after Nelson’s ceremony and almost four decades of relative peace across land and sea following Waterloo, Wellington’s state funeral was the most extraordinary street procession that Londoners could remember. It even caused the Lord Mayor’s parade to be cancelled for the only time ever.

Prior to tranquil semi-retirement in Kent, the Iron Duke had become a deeply unpopular politician and Prime Minister. During a period characterised by Reform, Wellington – deeply conservative – set is face against the inexorable tide of popular emancipation. He genuinely felt that the existing settlement could not be further perfected and famously was stoned in his house and in his carriage. Even the equestrian statue of the hero of Waterloo for the Wellington Arch had been…

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One thought on “The Funeral of Wellington

  1. That funeral must have been an amazing sight in those days. The huge vehicle conveying the coffin was worth seeing for its own sake, let alone the occasion. I remember seeing Churchill’s funeral from a window in The City, as a youngster. I thought it grand at the time, but it was not on a par with this event.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

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