Members of the Royal Family are expected to attend an anniversary service at St Paul’s Cathedral to honour the Battle of Waterloo later this year.
The service, which is due to happen on 18th June, will commemorate 200 years to the day that the battle took place. The conflict saw the Duke of Wellington’s forces clash with the French army, commanded by Napoleon.
The Royal Family will also be joined by various heads of Government and their ambassadors, alongside a military cohort. The battlefield, around 9.5 miles south of Brussels, saw at least 65,000 men lose their lives across both sides, and at least 200 descendants of those will also be present at the service.
The 8th Duke of Wellington, a descendent of the 1st Duke, sadly passed away at the age of 99 in December last year.
The commemorations will also include a reenactment of the moment that the news of the victory was delivered to London.
At the time, King George III was incapacitated and his son was the acting Prince Regent. He was attending a private party near the Pall Mall when the news finally arrived from Belgium.
Major Henry Percy of the 14th Light Dragoons, travelled from overseas without a break from battle, to deliver The Duke of Wellington’s official despatch along with two standards, bearing the French regimental eagles.
The actor playing Percy will march up the steps of the-then private residence (now the East India Club), with an eagle in each hand, and lay them on the floor. It is hoped that a member of the Royal Family will reprise the role of The Prince Regent.
A variety of events are planned to mark the historic battle including a display of artefacts from the era which are being shown at Windsor Castle later this month. One of the highlights of the exhibition will be a cloak of Napoleon’s which was seized as his carriage fled after the end of the battle.
Visitors will also be able to see the letters to the Prince Regent from Wellington and Napoleon, which proclaim victory and defeat.
Major General Sir Evelyn Webb-Carter who is Chairman of Waterloo 200, a project aimed at increasing awareness of the battle, spoke about its importance:
“This is about trying to educate the young and anyone who is interested about why this anniversary is so important.
“The Battle of Waterloo brought an end to a very long war which had run for 22 years and was known at the time as the Great War.
“It heralded the start of a much more stable Europe and set in train the building of the nation states of Europe which we know now. The battle was a full stop in European history.”
Royal Central will provide coverage of the various events for the anniversary as they are announced. A short primer of the battle, its causes and consequences is available to read here.
Featured Image Credit: Ben251988