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16th June 2015

Commemorating Our Duke

Essentially our business is dealing in ‘history’. It’s debatable whether it’s usually history with a Big ‘H’ or history with a small ‘h’.

Today, 16th June 2015,  LASSCO at Brunswick House is touched by Big History. It marks the 200th anniversary of the death at the Battle of Quatre Bras of Frederick William, Duke of Brunswick who briefly lived at our old House and HQ in Vauxhall – and has given his name to it.

Flag of the Principality of Brunswick flying today at LASSCO
Flag of the Principality of Brunswick flying today at LASSCO

Our Duke had spent his adult life fighting Napoleon – his father was killed at Battle of Jena-Auerstedt – and his German home was overrun by the Bonapartists. Exiled, he joined his sister, Caroline of Brunswick, [bigamous] consort to the Prince Regent, spurned Princess of Wales and Queen of England, locked out of her own coronation yet beloved by the mob.

Our Duke was present at the renowned Duchess of Richmond’s Ball on the evening of the 15th and his gracious demeanour was noted. Wellington famously declared that Boney had ‘humbugged’ the Allies by stealing a march on Brussels and the assembled notables hurriedly rode off [our Duke without his supper] many in their dress uniforms with infantrymen clinging to their saddlebags.

In the late afternoon of the following day in a vicious engagement the Black Brunswickers lost their commanding officer to a French musket ball. Frederick died at the Quatre Bras cross roads. The following day his Brother in Arms, Arthur Wellesley, triumphed – “A close run thing”.

Frederick had a twinkle in his eye whilst an evening in his company at Brunswick House was rather dominated by military conversation. It has been noted that both soldiers lived on roundabouts, Wellington at Hyde Park Corner and Brunswick at Vauxhall – the one survived and the other perished. Such is Life!

We shall be flying the flag of the Principality of Brunswick here at Vauxhall for the next fortnight to celebrate the heroic life and death of ‘our’ noble Duke.


See previous post about The Brunswick House Ball being held on Friday  – commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo itself.