Brig Michael Aris CBE DL and Richard Bennett DL, both experienced guides at the Duke of Wellington’s country home at Stratfield Saye, in Hampshire. They will give a fully illustrated presentation about the Life of Service which the 1st Duke of Wellington, known to all as 'The Great Duke'. This, by way of the story and many illustrations, captures the duke’s life from his birth in 1769 to his funeral in 1852.
We will follow his successful military campaigns in India, the Peninsula and Waterloo and then his later life as a Politician and Statesman, although his fondness for the company of intelligent and strong women is not forgotten. When his State Funeral, and burial in St Paul's Cathedral, is explained you may hear again the drums and steady pace of the procession at the funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth II. The presentation concludes with Queen Victoria’s reflections about him from her Journal.
This exclusive members' lecture will also provide special insight into Stratfield Saye and the Grade I listed Church of St Mary’s Stratfield Saye, otherwise referred to as the Village Church on the Estate. Built by George Pitt to replace an earlier church much closer to the house, it was dedicated on 1 September 1758, and is the home to many memorials related to the owners of Stratfield Saye. Michael and Richard look forward to talking through the many conservation challenges.
Michael was commissioned from The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst into The Royal Lincolnshire Regiment in 1955 and joined his Regiment on active service in Malaya where he was twice Mentioned in Despatches for distinguished service. During his subsequent career, spanning 35 years, he returned to Sandhurst as a senior instructor and then commanded a Battalion in Germany, Northern Ireland and Cyprus. He then returned to teach at the Staff College in Camberley. Michael was then tasked to establish a new operational Brigade in North Yorkshire for which he was awarded the CBE. His final appointment was as Director of all Reserve Forces in the UK. After retirement he worked for Waitrose and the Princes Trust. He established the Berkshire branch of the ABF (now the Soldiers Charity) in 1994 and was, for five years, a Church Warden of the Minster Church in Reading. Michael has been a Guide at the Duke of Wellington's country house at Stratfield Saye for over twenty years. He was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for Berkshire in 2005.