TV presenter, writer and historian Sir Tony Robinson brings to life the excitement and drama of this unique moment in British history through a series of scenes and music to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.
Brussels. 1815. At a ball given in his honour, Wellington surprised by Napoleon's crossing of the border, consults with senior officers.
Napoleon, with an army of 125,000 men occupies nearby Charleroi whilst Wellington, waiting for Field Marshall Blucher to arrive, takes up a defensive position around Waterloo.
Fearing an attack on his right, Wellington orders his men to occupy the Chateau de Hougoumont. After hours of fierce fighting, Hougoumont is held. At La Ligny the French 'Old Guard' rout a large Prussian force, delaying their arrival at Waterloo.
A famous charge by the Scots Greys surprises the French who lose some 3,000 men in the action.
Blucher, arriving late, reinforces Wellington's troops. As both sides tire, Wellington orders a charge with bayonets fixed. The French unable to re-form, retreat.
It is General Cambronne, commanding the last of the 'Old Guard', who when asked to surrender famously replies, "Merde! The Old Guard dies, it does not surrender.