Duke of Wellington: Family


Figure 1.--Here we see Wellington with his grandchildren, two boys an a girl. They look to be 3-7 years old. The girls and the younger boy wear dresses. The older boy wears a black jacket and holds a matching hat. Notice the toys. Wellington died shortly after the painting was completed. The artist was Robert Thornburn, a minaturist who turned to oil painting because photography had destroyed the market for a painted minatures.

The young Wellesley fell in love with Catherine 'Kitty' Pakenham (1773-1831), the daughter of Edward Pakenham, 2nd Baron Longford (1791). Acually they had known each other since childhood in Ireland. She had met Wellesley in Ireland when they were both young. Wellesley made numerous visits to the Longfords' Dublin home and eventually made his feelings towards her clear. She was an attractive girl and was also apparently attracted by her 'gaiety and charm'. He decided to pursue marriage (1793). Kitty was apparently willing, but Her brother Thomas, Earl of Longford, saw the young Wellesley as a endebted junior officer with few prospects. He was also a yonger son without a title. Kitty's brother (their father had died) refused to give consent. Wellesley who had some musical skill actually burned his treasured violins. He through himself into his military carrer. More than a decade later, after promotions and successes in his military career, and Kitty's continued memories of, the situation changed. Returing from the Hanover Expedition (1805), Wellesley found that the marital prospects had changed. Kitty's family had changed their minds and consented to a marriage. They were married in Dublin (1806). The marriage, however, proved to be a mistake. The two did not get on. Kitty had been ill which affected her appearance and personality. Wellesley's years of campaigning kept them apart. This may have been the root of the problem. Kitty became depressed. Wellesley for his part became involved with other sexual and romantic partners. The couple did produce two sons, but notably early in the marriage (107 and 1808) It is notable that this was early in the marriage. As a result, they lived apart for most of the time and occupied separate rooms even when they were together. Another brother, Edward 'Ned' Pakenham, served under Wellesley in Spain, the Peninsular War (1807-14). Wellesley had considerable regard for him. This undoubtedly helped smooth his relations with Kitty for several years. Unfortunately this moderating influence when Pakenham's was killed in of all places New Orleans (1815). [Holmes, p. 20.] Despite their problems, Wellington was saddened when Kitty died two decades before him.

Kitty

The young Wellesley fell in love with Catherine 'Kitty' Pakenham (1773-1831), the daughter of Edward Pakenham, 2nd Baron Longford (1791). Acually they had known each other since childhood in Ireland. She had met Wellesley in Ireland when they were both young. Wellesley made numerous visits to the Longfords' Dublin home and eventually made his feelings towards her clear. She was an attractive girl and was also apparently attracted by her 'gaiety and charm'. He decided to pursue marriage (1793). Kitty was apparently willing, but Her brother Thomas, Earl of Longford, saw the young Wellesley as a endebted junior officer with few prospects. He was also a yonger son without a title. Kitty's brother (their father had died) refused to give consent. Wellesley who had some musical skill actually burned his treasured violins. He through himself into his military carrer.

Marriage

More than a decade later, after promotions and successes in his military career, and Kitty's continued memories of, the situation changed. Returing from the Hanover Expedition (1805), Wellesley found that the marital prospects had changed. Kitty's family had changed their minds and consented to a marriage. They were married in Dublin (1806).

Problems

The marriage, however, proved to be a mistake. The two did not get on. Kitty had been ill which affected her appearance and personality. Wellesley's years of campaigning kept them apart. This may have been the root of the problem. Kitty became depressed. Wellesley for his part became involved with other sexual and romantic partners. The couple did produce two sons, but notably early in the marriage (1807 and 1808). It is notable that this was early in the marriage. As a result, they lived apart for most of the time and occupied separate rooms even when they were together. Another brother, Edward 'Ned' Pakenham, served under Wellesley in Spain, the Peninsular War (1807-14). Wellesley had considerable regard for him. This undoubtedly helped smooth his relations with Kitty for several years. Unfortunately this moderating influence when Pakenham's was killed in of all places New Orleans (1815). [Holmes, p. 20.]

Duchess

She became the Duchess of Wellington on Wellesley's creation as the Duke of Wellington (1814). After Waterloo and Napoleon's exile in Elba she joined him in France when he was appointed Ambassador. Kitty had aged beyond her years. Reports decribe her as becoming dumpy and short-sighted. She reportedly squinted when talking. Wellesley found her both vain and vacuous and dificult to live with. Lady Elizabeth Yorke commented that "her appearance, unfortunately, does not correspond with one's notion of an ambassadress or the wife of a hero, but she succeeds uncommonly well in her part". The reference to her appearance, presumably because of her illness. It appears that she continued to love Wellington, but was unable to make him happy. It is unclear just who was at fault. Wllington blamed her. She was not bitter despite the separtion. Despite their problems, Wellington was saddened when Kitty died two decades before him.

Children

Wellington and Kitty had two children. Kitty has filled her life wihout her hucand by doting on her sons and four adopted children. Their two sons were Arthur Wellesley, 2nd Duke of Wellington (1807) and Lord Charles Wellesley (1808). Arthur became a soldier and politician. He married Lady Elizabeth Hay, daughter of Field Marshal George Hay, 8th Marquess of Tweeddale (1839). Lady Elizabeth proved to be a favorite of Arthur's father. The marriage was, however, not a happy one. Thee were no children. As the eldest son, he succeeded his father in the dukedom (1852). He held minor political office as Master of the Horse (1853-58). He was made a Knight of the Garter (1858). Arthur had the classic problem of being unable to live up to his father's achievements. Charles became a politician, soldier and courtier. He was educated at Eton College. He married Augusta Sophia Anne Pierrepont, daughter of The Hon. Henry Pierrepont (1844). Unlike the marriage of his father and brother, Charles' marriage was a happy one. They had four children, two sons and two daughters. Charles rose to the rank of major general in the army. Charles represented the Conservative Party as the Member of Parliament (MP) for South Hampshire (1842-52, and the MP for Windsor from (1852-55). He was also a Chief Equerry and Clerk Marshal to Queen Victoria. Lord Charles died at a rather young age--aged 50 years (1858). When his older brother, Arthur died) Wellesley, 2nd Duke of Wellington, died withot sons (1884) Lord Charles's second child, Henry Wellesley (as the oldest surviving son) inherited his uncle's dukedom as the third Duke of Wellington. Henry also died childless (1900), the peerage passed to Lord Charles’ second son Arthur Wellesley. Wellington and Kitty adopted four children. We have, however, been unable to find any information about them.

Sources

Holmes, Richard. Wellington: The Iron Duke. (London: Harper Collins Publishers, 2002).





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Created: 12:12 AM 4/26/2019
Last updated: 12:12 AM 4/26/2019