Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington - Retirement - Death and Funeral

Death and Funeral

Wellington died on 14 September 1852, aged 83, of the after effects of a stroke culminating in a series of epileptic seizures.

Although in life he hated travelling by rail (after witnessing the death of William Huskisson, one of the first railway accident casualties), his body was then taken by train to London, where he was given a state funeral—one of only a handful of British subjects to be honoured in that way (other examples are Lord Nelson and Winston Churchill)—and the last heraldic state funeral to be held in Britain. The funeral took place on 18 November 1852. At his funeral there was hardly any space to stand because of the number of people attending, and the effusive praise given him in Tennyson's "Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington" attests to his stature at the time of his death. He was buried in a sarcophagus of luxulyanite in St Paul's Cathedral next to Lord Nelson.

Wellington's casket was decorated with banners which were made for his funeral procession. Originally, there was one for Prussia, which was removed during World War I and never reinstated.

Most of the book 'A Biographical Sketch of the Military and Political Career of the Late Duke of Wellington' by Weymouth newspaper proprietor Joseph Drew is a detailed contemporary account of his death, lying in state and funeral.

After his death Irish and English newspapers disputed whether Wellington had been born an Irishman or Englishman. During his life he had openly disliked being referred to as an "Irishman".

Owing to its links with Wellington, as the former commanding officer and colonel of the regiment, the title "33rd (The Duke of Wellington's) Regiment" was granted to the 33rd Regiment of Foot, on 18 June 1853 (the 38th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo) by Queen Victoria.

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