A service of thanksgiving was held Tuesday in The Guards’ Chapel at Wellington Barracks for the 8th Duke of Wellington. The Duke of Wellington was born on 2nd July 1915 and died on New Year’s Eve 31st December 2014.
Members of the Royal family attending included The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke of York, The Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Lawrence. Also, present for Tuesday’s service was The Countess of Wessex, Princess Alexandra, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, The Duke of Kent and The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.
Singer James Blunt, who married The Duke Of Wellington’s granddaughter, Sofia Wellesley in 2014, was also in attendance at the service.
The Reverend Dowell Conning, Senior Chaplain to the Household Division and Headquarters London District, conducted Tuesday’s service. The Band of the Household Cavalry played music by Holst, Bach, Handel and Elgar accompanied by the Choir of the Guards Chapel.
The Duke was remembered for his leadership, heroism during combat as well as his unyielding spirit and optimism. He was proud of his legacy as an ancestor of Waterloo hero the 1st Duke of Wellington planting over a million trees to create an enduring memorial for future generations.
Lord Christopher Wellesley read the Citation for the Military Cross awarded to the Duke of Wellington for the invaluable intelligence he collected serving in the Household Cavalry Regiment as a Second Lieutenant in Palmyra, Syria in 1941.
Posted to Germany after the war, he deliberated leaving the Army until 1951 when King George VI asked him to stay stating: “I like to have people I know in the Household Cavalry.”
The following year when King George VI died, The Duke stood guard for 22 periods during The King’s lying-in-state.
The next posting would see him as a commanding officer of the Blues and Royals in Cyprus. He went on to command the Royal Armoured Corps in Germany and was military attaché in Madrid. He retired from the Army in 1968 with the rank of Brigadier.
The Duke worked tirelessly to revive the Wellington Estates, opening to the public Stratfield Saye, the 17th-century house given by the nation to the 1st Duke of Wellington.
In 1973, the Duke of Wellington founded The Waterloo Committee resulting from the collaboration with Lord Anglesey to stop the building of a motorway across the battlefield in Belgium.
The Duke’s numerous appointments included being the last Colonel-in-Chief of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment; a Trustee of the Royal Armouries; and a Governor of Wellington College.
The Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry in their majestic gold coats sounded The Last Post and Reveille and as the service concluded.
The Band of the Household Cavalry played The Royal Horse Guards’ Regimental Quick March, Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” and “Don’t Fence Me In”.
Photo Credit: Crown Copyright 2015, Sgt Ross Tilly RAF