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Weddings and Waterloo

Hello, blog friends! I know I haven’t posted in a while – can you believe that I am going to be the Mother of the Groom (MOG) in not one but two weddings this summer? Well, happily it’s true. Our two sons have both decided to tie the knot with their lovely fiancées in ceremonies that are only six weeks apart. In Regency terms, my boys are about to exit the Marriage Mart, and get caught in the parson’s mousetrap.

Image by Annaselma 33
Creative Commons License CC BY-SA 3.0

As you may imagine, I've been preoccupied with wedding details. However, I can't miss the opportunity to note that today, June 18, is a significant date in Regency history. 

On June 18, 1815, the Battle of Waterloo took place. It was an epic clash between Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington. So epic that “Waterloo” has come to mean a decisive defeat. You could say that in terms of their bachelorhood our sons are about to face their Waterloos, but in the best possible way, of course! 

Wellington at Waterloo by Robert Alexander Hillingford

Waterloo was Napoleon’s attempt at a comeback. In 1814 the Emperor had abdicated his throne following a series of military defeats, and as part of his surrender he was exiled to the island of Elba. This event inspired a clever palindrome, supposedly uttered by Napoleon:

Able was I ere I saw Elba

Go ahead and try it – the phrase reads the same backwards and forwards. 

Elba wasn't bad as exile sites go – it’s a lush Mediterranean island off the coast of Tuscany. But after about nine months Napoleon decided to have another go at his old job. He escaped from Elba, gathered some forces who were still loyal to him, and tried to take back his empire. It didn't go well. 

After Wellington soundly defeated him at Waterloo, Napoleon was exiled again. This time he was sent to the isolated island of Saint Helena, which is basically a volcanic speck in the South Atlantic Ocean, only 10 by 5 miles in area. There Napoleon died in 1821.

Napoleon on St. Helena, brooding about his glorious past
and where it all went wrong .

Napoleon’s cause of death was listed as stomach cancer, but there is evidence that he may have died as result of arsenic poisoning. The culprit may have been a jealous guard, who killed Napoleon because he suspected the Emperor was dallying with his wife. Toujours l’amour!

To celebrate this momentous day in Regency history, here’s a 1974 clip of the Swedish rock group Abba performing their hit song, Waterloo. I wonder if I should suggest it for the wedding playlists?

All images in this post are courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


  1. Ah, too fun, Maureen! I was missing your great posts, and you've returned with another fantastic one! As usual, I learned a lot and had fun doing it. Thanks for brightening my day! xo Jennifer

    1. You're welcome, Jennifer! Right back at you - Plushpussycat always brightens my day, too! I hope someday to see a wedding at Cupcake Cottage! :-)


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