Wellington the Beau: The life and loves of the Duke of Wellington
Few people know that Wellington, the `Iron Duke’, as well as being an outstanding general, was also a great lover, who pursued the opposite sex with passion, vigour, but also dignity. His unassuming wife Kitty could not compete with Harriette Wilson, the intriguing courtesan; nor with the beautiful Italian singer La Grassini; nor with Princess Lieven, the notorious Russian spy.
Patrick Delaforce has unearthed a cornucopia of true, fascinating stories about a score of ladies, who one way or another loved the Iron Duke. One of his nicknames, `The Beau’, referred not only to his sartorial taste but also to his considerable graceful charm. He was a favourite of Queen Victoria, who would call `Send for the Duke!’ whenever she had a problem.
This story has an extraordinary ending. The Duke was actually `seen to be ill with love’ for the beautiful Mary Anne Patterson from Baltimore, and she with him. However, as a distinguished widower, society decreed that Wellington could not marry Mary Anne, a divorcée, so instead she married the Duke’s brother, Richard Wellesley, a notable roué, and lived unhappily ever after.
‘In this unique and entertaining book military historian Patrick Delaforce turns from the battlefield to the boudoir to document Wellington's many victories as a bedroom warrior.’