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’…
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.
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