King's College London
Exhibitions & Conferences
The Duke of Wellington

Birth of a hero

Wellesley in IndiaWellesley in IndiaArthur Wesley or Wellesley was born on 1 May 1769 in Dublin, a son of the Earl of Mornington, a member of the protestant Anglo-Irish aristocracy that effectively ruled Ireland.

Wellesley was enrolled at Eton but he left aged 15 having proved disappointing at his studies.

Like many younger sons of the aristocracy and gentry, he eventually found his vocation in the Army.

However, even his family had low expectations for the young man in his new career, particularly when he was compared with his talented older brother, Richard.

Their opinion perhaps also owed something to the relative poverty of his family at a time when money and connections were often necessary to achieve promotion in the Army, but reflected as well a rather detached and solitary personality given to practising for long periods on the violin.

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