|Photo by Annaselma 33, 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.
Which somehow brings me back to weddings . . .
All images in this post are courtesy of Wikimedia Commons