Napoleon was the real winner of Waterloo… claim the French! Re-enactment set to mark bi-centenary will ignore history

Napoleon’s red cloak – originally belonging to the 5′ 6″ Emperor and retrieved form his fleeing baggage train after Waterloo on show as part of The Royal Collection Trust’s “Waterloo at Windsor 1815-2015” exhibition. Key features of the display will include Napoleon’s red cloak, the Sevres table commissioned by the Emperor and the Waterloo Chamber which is hung with 38 portraits of those most closely associated with the overthrow of Napoleon. Picture: Heathcliff O’Malley/The Telegraph

It is not so much a bid to rewrite history as a blatant attempt at match-rigging.

For the French are claiming that Napoleon – not Wellington – was the true hero of Waterloo.

In a reconstruction to mark this year’s bicentenary of the battle, they plan to ignore the fact that he emerged utterly defeated.

Instead, they want to portray the French emperor as the winner over a ‘frightful’ English nobody.

But the sabre-rattling ahead of the commemorations in Belgium this summer was quickly dismissed by historians.

The first salvo was fired by French lawyer Frank Samson, who will play Napoleon in the re-enactment.

The 47-year-old, taking massive liberties with history, claimed that while Napoleon was ‘one of the greatest men the world has ever known’, the Duke of Wellington – who led the Allied army to a famous victory – was a ‘frightful Englishman that no one has heard of’.

He added: ‘In terms of public relations, in terms of his historical importance, it’s clear that [Napoleon] won at Waterloo. The public will acclaim him and we have forgotten that he lost’…

h/t Marvin

From Wikipedia:

The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday, 18 June 1815, near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. A French army under the command of Napoleon was defeated by the armies of the Seventh Coalition, comprising an Anglo-allied army under the command of the Duke of Wellington combined with a Prussian army under the command of Gebhard von Blücher.

National Army Museum Launches  Its Commemorations For The Bicentenary Of The Battle Of Waterloo

Members of the Napoleonic Association pose for photographs during a press call at Wellington Arch in London. The photocall marked the launch of the Waterloo200.org website in conjunction with the events marking the bicentennial of the Battle of Waterloo

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  • Observer

    They are ignoring everything else going on in France so why not its history too?

    • Frau Katze

      I hear that Napoleon still has plenty of admirers in France.

      • tom_billesley

        They’d be better off looking to Charles Martel and Charlemagne.

  • simus1

    Frank Samson seems somewhat confused.

    Perhaps his French education did not belabour the more embarrassing sections of French history which involved the successful campaigns of

    Arthur Wellesley,

    1st duke of Wellington,
    marquess of Douro,
    marquess of Wellington,
    earl of Wellington,
    Viscount Wellington of Talavera and of Wellington,
    Baron Douro or Wellesley,
    byname Iron Duke

    • Clausewitz

      Wellington also kicked French ass non stop all over the Iberian Peninsula as well.

  • Clausewitz

    Ah revisionist history. Most socialist governments seem to have a lock on it.

    • Frau Katze

      So it seems!

  • A little ‘Iraqi’ of the French, don’t ya think?

  • Norman_In_New_York

    No one has heard of? In far off Vienna, Beethoven wrote a piece he named “Wellingtons Sieg”, commemorating the Iron Duke’s victory in Spain.

  • AlanUK

    Napoleon fought and won many battles. He was a great leader of men on land but not on water. He understood artillery but failed to get to grips with artillery on the water.

    Arguably, his greatest battle was Austerlitz.

    If he had been in better health, he MIGHT have won Waterloo but, again arguably, the extraordinarily brave Marshall Ney lost the battle for him by leading his beloved cavalry to destruction.
    Napoleon was a great war leader. But he LOST Waterloo in June of 1815. In less than a month he surrendered to the captain of the British line-of-battle ship Belerophon. The Napoleonic wars were over and Europe had peace for about 50 years.

    France. Get over it!
    Abba got the history wrong but at least they realised who lost!

  • ed

    25/10/1415 battle of Agincourt .6,000 English warriors against 37,000 French knights , at the end of the day 27,000 French lay dead and the rest ran away , English dead 500, spin that you froggies !

  • dance…dancetotheradio

    They couldn’t be happy enough with 1066?

  • Over a year ago I saw an exhibit at the Fine Arts Museum in Montreal of some of Napoleon’s… stuff. Coked-up Mafia molls cringe at this guy’s taste.

    “Roman” style busts of members of his ghastly family, who were I get the impression supposed to be thought of as gods or something. At least I seem to remember that that’s what the engravings said. Horrible too-small badly gilded furniture (my God! His butt may well have sat right here!). Ugly jewelry comprised of a mint precious stones that you wouldn’t be caught dead in. Everything so pretentious and self-consciously “imperial” and just utterly derivative. And all those huge cluttered glossy paintings with nothing to say except “important! Big!”. The “insecure” vibe was so palpable it was downright weird.

    Hit the frogs where it hurts. Napoleon wasn’t just a monster: he was extremely gauche. Not so much a criminal as a fashion blunder.

    If I were French I’d try to blame him on the wops.

    • tom_billesley

      Emulated, in taste at least, by Jean Bedel Bokassa of the Central African Republic, who made himself Emperor Bokassa I

  • tom_billesley

    ‘frightful Englishman ..”
    He was Anglo-Irish, born in Dublin.

    • “Being born in a stable does not make one a horse.”