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Wellington – The Iron Duke – #1/3 – The Making of a Man


Presented by military historian Richard Holmes

About the series

A film charting the life of Arthur Wellesley, better known as the Duke of Wellington, an extraordinary man whose thrilling life on the battlefield was just as interesting off it. Military historian and presenter Professor Richard Holmes tells the story of Britain’s greatest-ever soldier. Wellington was a brilliant figure, idealistic in politics, cynical in love yet irresistible to women, a man of enormous personal courage, often sickened by the horror of war. The series charts Wellington’s progress from a shy boy to commander in chief of the allied forces of Europe, victor at Waterloo and ultimately Prime Minister.

About the episodes

The Making of a Man

Military historian Richard Holmes tells the life story of Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, one of Britain’s greatest soldiers. He begins with a detailed insight into Wellesley’s upbringing in Ireland where, along with his brothers, he struggled to cope with his late father’s debts. Joining the Army, the young officer eventually found his division dispatched to India – a posting said to have made a man of him.

A Thirst for Reputation

Richard Holmes investigates Arthur Wellesley’s overwhelming determination to prove his military leadership skills by defeating the forces of Napoleon Bonaparte, a task that ultimately earned him the title Duke of Wellington. Also explored are two important events in British military history, the siege of the Spanish city of Badajoz, and the spectacular Battle of Salamanca, when the Duke’s men reputedly defeated a 40,000-strong army in a remarkably short space of time.

From Soldier to Statesman

Historian Richard Holmes visits Waterloo to examine the strategies Wellington employed in his defeat of Napoleon, before turning his attention to the soldier’s less successful political career. However, any mistakes he was to make in office were mitigated by his heroic efforts on the battlefield, and a million people lined the streets to witness his funeral procession.

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