The British and Prussian armies’ victory over Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Waterloo was possibly one of the most significant battles in European history.
Following the epic event, The Duke of Wellington entrusted his personal handwritten version of events – The Waterloo Dispatch – to his aide de camp, Major the Hon. Henry Percy, who, accompanied by Commander White, undertook the arduous journey to bring the good news to England. Long before the modern technology we take for granted – internet, fax or telephone -the pair departed Belgium on 18 June 1815, arriving in London 3 days later, after travelling by horse-drawn post chaise carriage and rowing boat.
2015 marks 200 years since the momentous victory and to commemorate the anniversary, Major Percy’s journey is to be re-enacted, with actors in period costume travelling the newly-named Waterloo Way, carrying replicas of the two captured Imperial Eagles and Standards, as did their namesakes in 1815.
In 1815, Major Percy’s first stop in London was at 44 Grosvenor Square, where members of the Cabinet had gathered for dinner. The Millennium Hotel London Mayfair now stands at that very address and we are proud and delighted to be part of the celebrations.
During the afternoon of Sunday 21 June, around 3.30pm, the horse-drawn post chaise, accompanied by other carriages and mounted members of the Household Cavalry, will enter Grosvenor Square from Park Lane and park outside the Millennium Hotel. There will be short private ceremony inside the hotel’s Waterloo Suite, followed by a plaque unveiling at the Hotel’s Grosvenor Square entrance, which can be viewed by the public. At approximately 4.00pm, the carriages will leave Grosvenor Square, travelling along South Audley Street to their next stop in St James’s.
The most outstanding presentation will be at the end of the journey during ceremonies at St James’s Square and the Waterloo Room in the East India Club, where the message of victory was originally received by The Prince Regent. The replica Eagles will be laid before HRH The Princess Royal, by Major Percy, as happened with Her Royal Highness’ ancestor exactly 200 years to the day in 1815.
The post chaise journey from Waterloo to London climaxes with The Waterloo Parade, which will see international and British military bands marching and playing from Horse Guards Parade down The Mall.