News archive 2007
Alumni celebrate Duel Day21 Mar 2007, PR 42/07
Duel Day (21 March), marked the anniversary of a duel which took place on 21 March 1829 between the then Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington, and the Earl of Winchilsea over the founding of the College. Alumni in the UK and overseas celebrated one of the most dramatic moments in King's history.
In 1829, Prime Minister the Duke of Wellington fought his one and only duel, after the Earl of Winchilsea criticised his support for the emancipation of Irish Catholics. Fearing the ‘introduction of popery' into the newly-founded King's, Winchilsea denounced the Duke, who promptly challenged him to single combat. The pair met shortly after dawn on 21 March 1829 in fields near Battersea – honour was satisfied when Wellington deliberately shot wide, and Winchilsea shot in the air before offering the Duke a written apology.
To celebrate the foundation of King's and Wellington's actions in defending the College's independence, former staff and students throughout the world commemorated Duel Day. Alumni in Singapore, for example, dressed up as Wellington and Winchilsea to re-enact the famous event, and enjoyed some socialising afterwards.
For more information and ideas for future Duel Day events, contact Steven Rhodes, Chairman of the King's College London Association (KCLA).
Notes to editors
King's College London is in contact with more than 90,000 of its alumni worldwide, including famous names such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, satirist Rory Bremner, novelist Hanif Kureishi and rock singer Kele Okereke. All alumni receive a bi-annual magazine In Touch, invitations to regular events and reunions, and a series of discounts and privileges including access to the College Libraries and Information Centres.
King's College London
King's College London is the fourth oldest university in England with more than 13,700 undergraduates and nearly 5,600 graduate students in nine schools of study based at five London campuses. It is a member of the Russell Group: a coalition of the UK's major research-based universities. The College has had 24 of its subject-areas awarded the highest rating of 5* and 5 for research quality, demonstrating excellence at an international level, and it has recently received an excellent result in its audit by the Quality Assurance Agency.
King's has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, international relations, medicine, nursing and the sciences, and has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA. It is the largest centre for the education of healthcare professionals in Europe and is home to five Medical Research Council Centres – more than any other university.
King's is in the top group of UK universities for research earnings, with income from grants and contracts of more than £100 million, and has an annual turnover of more than £363 million.
Alumni Office, King's College London
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