Anne Wellesley, Countess of Mornington (née Hill-Trevor), Anglo-Irish aristocrat, is born on June 23, 1742. She is the wife of Garret Wesley, 1st Earl of Mornington, and mother of the victor of the Battle of Waterloo, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington.
Wellesley is born the Hon. Anne Hill-Trevor, the eldest daughter of the banker Arthur Hill-Trevor, 1st Viscount Dungannon, and his wife Anne Stafford. She is a friend of Lady Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby, the famous Ladies of Llangollen.
Wellesley marries Garrett Wesley, the Earl of Mornington, in 1759. The marriage is said to be a happy one. They have nine children together, with seven of them surviving to adulthood:
- Richard Colley Wellesley (1760–1842)
- Arthur Gerald Wellesley (?–1768)
- William Wellesley (1763–1845)
- Francis Wellesley (1767–1770)
- Anne Wellesley (1768–1844)
- Arthur Wellesley (1769–1852)
- Gerald Valerian Wellesley (1770–1848)
- Mary Elizabeth Wellesley (1772–1794)
- Henry Wellesley (1773–1847)
Lord Mornington dies on May 22, 1781, leaving Wellesley and their eldest son Richard, who is 21 years old at the time, to raise the rest of the family. She dislikes Arthur when he is young. She says that he is “food for powder and nothing more” and constantly worries about his future. In 1785, she goes to Brussels to live, as a way to economise. She takes Arthur with her and sends him to the Royal Academy of Equitation at Angers, in Anjou, after she returns to Britain in 1786. She is granted a pension of £600 in 1813 by Parliament after Arthur’s success in the Peninsular War.
Wellesley’s husband’s titles are in the Irish peerage, entitling him to sit in the Irish House of Lords, which disbands following the Acts of Union 1800 with Great Britain. Four of her five sons who survive to adulthood earn titles in Peerage of the United Kingdom, entitling them to sit in the United Kingdom House of Lords, while the fifth, Gerald Valerian, becomes a bishop, giving him precedence comparable to a peer.
Wellesley dies at the age of 89 on September 10, 1831.
(Pictured: Portrait of Anne Wellesley, Countess of Mornington, the mother of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, 1839, from the Welsh Portrait Collection at the National Library of Wales)