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31 December, 2010

2010 Peer of the Year:
Arthur Valerian Wellesley,
8th Duke of Wellington

We could think of no better way to celebrate New Year's Eve than to proclaim the availability of a great man, great hero, and great benefactor: the 8th Duke of Wellington and our 2010 Peer of the Year!!!

Born in 1915 (2 July), this 95-year-old nobleman (pictured below) is the oldest living duke in the realm.  If the fates smile upon him, His Grace will pass the 97-year age record of the late 7th Duke of Grafton and would then be poised to become the first centenarian duke.

His Grace is ranked 5th in his seniority of succession to the ducal title (January 1972) and holds approximately a dozen other domestic and foreign titles.  Additionally, he owns a 7,000-acre Hampshire estate, a purported 20,000 acres in Belgium and Spain, and is estimated to be worth as much as ₤50 million.  His Grace is a veteran of World War II and had a long and decorated Army career, winning the Military Cross and attaining the rank of Brigadier.

His Grace was recently widowed, having regrettably lost his wife of almost 67 years on 1 November, 2010.  His Grace and Her Grace were the longest married ducal couple (from length of marriage, as opposed to from when he succeeded to the dukedom).  Together they had five children, including His Grace’s heir, The Marquess of Douro; 10 grandchildren, including Lord Douro’s heir, The Earl of Mornington; and an estimated 4 great-grandchildren, including Lord Mornington’s heir, Viscount Wellesley and his twin sister.

The Duke of Wellington holds many records in the ducal world.  Not only is he the oldest and, until recently, the longest married, but he also ties for the most children (five) and has the most sons (four).  His noble family is also the only one to have three direct heirs in the line of succession.  Lastly, he is the premier duke in the peerage of the United Kingdom.

As a widower of advanced age, it is unknown whether or not His Grace would welcome a romantic entanglement; however, His Grace is reported to be of robust health, and it would not be the first time that such has happened.  For example, The Duke of Beaufort married for the second time in 2000 at the age of 71, The Duke of Marlborough married for the fourth time in 2008 at the age of 82, and The Marquess of Queensbury married for the third time in 2000 as a recent father at approximately age 70.

What competition would the Duke of Wellington face, should he take up a romantic campaign?  Suitors of such high esteem are the favored few: HRH The Prince Andrew, Duke of York (50, divorced) and The Duke of Fife (81, divorced).

His Grace The Duke of Wellington

Park Corner House, Heckfield, Hook, Hampshire RG27 0LJ
Stratfield Saye House, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG27 0AS
Tel:  01256 882218
Apsley House, 149 Piccadilly, London W1V 9FA


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