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What did Napoleon think of Wellington?

Published: 
15 November 2004

What the Emperor and Duke really thought of each other will be the subject for this year's University of Southampton Wellington Lecture, to be delivered by historical writer and journalist Andrew Roberts on Wednesday 24 November. It will be held at the Turner Sims Concert Hall at 6.00pm.

Wellington and Napoleon never met or corresponded and they only ever fought against each other once, but their encounter at Waterloo is one of the most famous battles in history.

"It has long been assumed by historians that, in the words of one: "Whereas Napoleon consistently misunderstood and underestimated Wellington, Wellington was never in doubt about the genius of Napoleon"," commented Andrew Roberts. "I profoundly disagree and, using several hundred contemporary sources and other circumstantial evidence, I will try to present a very different picture of the relationship between these two great military and political giants of the early 19th century."

An honorary senior scholar at Gonville and Caius, Cambridge, Andrew Roberts has written about Hitler, Churchill and the House of Windsor as well as Wellington and Napoleon. He is a frequent broadcaster and writes for several newspapers and magazines.

The lecture ends a day of celebration for the formal opening of the University's remodelled Hartley Library, which has been extended and refurbished in a £10 million project. It will be opened by the Marquess of Douro (the eldest son of the Duke of Wellington). There are strong links between the University and the Dukes of Wellington. The fourth Duke led the campaign for a university for Wessex in the 1920s and the seventh Duke was the first Chancellor of the University of Southampton. The papers of the first Duke are among the archives held in the Special Collections Division of the University Library.

Notes for editors

The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship. The University has around 20,000 students and nearly 5,000 staff. Its annual turnover is in the region of £270 million.

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