THE funeral of the Duke of Wellington, who died on New Year’s Eve at the age of 99, is taking place today.

The private family service will take place at Stratfield Saye Church. The family said a public memorial service will be held in London later this year.

Arthur Valerian Wellesley, the 8th Duke of Wellington, who was also known as the Prince of Waterloo, died peacefully at his home, surrounded by his family.

His death comes just six months before the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, in which his great ancestor, the 1st Duke of Wellington, defeated Napol-eon.

After the battle, the 1st Duke received the Stratfield Saye estate, off the A33 between Basingstoke and Reading, which has rem-ained the family’s home.

The 8th Duke of Wellington was born in Rome on July 2, 1915, and had a long career in the Army, earning a Military Cross for his actions in the Middle East during the Second World War.

He retired from the Army in 1968 with the rank of brigadier, and succeeded his father as the Duke of Wellington in 1972, turning his attention to managing the family’s estates.

The Duke sold off more than 1,000 acres at Silchester to meet estate duties, and opened up the 17th Century Stratfield Saye house to the public.

He also set aside 700 acres of his estate for what became Wellington Country Park, one of the biggest of its kind in north Hampshire.

The Duke also became known for his defence of his properties abroad, including 2,600 acres next to the battlefield of Waterloo in Belgium and a hunting estate in Spain.

The heir to the peerages is Charles, Marquess of Douro, the eldest of four sons. The Duke is also survived by his daughter Jane.