In 1784 Wellington’s Mother despaired of her “ugly boy”, withdrew him from Eton and suggested he was “only fit for the army”. He went on to become (arguably) the greatest general Britain has ever produced, eventually defeating Napoleon at the decisive Battle of Waterloo. Feted and loaded with material honours, he then chose to become a 'Westminster Warrior'. During violent and difficult times, he held a number of public offices before becoming Prime Minister at the head of a post-war nation expecting and demanding every variety of reform. On his death in 1852 Queen Victoria praised Wellington as “the greatest man this country has ever produced”.
But was he really?