EDINBURGH (Reuters) - The two Napoleonic eagle standards captured by British troops at Waterloo have been reunited in Edinburgh for the first time in 60 years to mark the 200th anniversary of the battle which finally brought down the French emperor.
A wide range of ceremonies and re-enactments are due to take place in Britain and on the Continent commemorating the battle fought at Waterloo, south of Brussels, on June 18, 1815, which ended 20 years of warfare across Europe and far beyond.
In a ceremony at the National Museum of Scotland on Thursday, a piper from the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards – better known as the Scots Greys – played in a three-man guard of honour with one gilded eagle atop a tall poll.
The standard had been captured by Sergeant Charles Ewart in a charge by the Scots Greys against the 45th French infantry regiment.
The ensign captured with the eagles is too delicate to be taken from its case in the regimental museum, so a replica has been made by weavers in Ewart’s home town of Kilmarnock in southwest Scotland.
Ewart’s eagle joins that seized by the Royal Dragoons from the 105th French infantry regiment, which is in Edinburgh for two weeks on loan from the National Army Museum in London before going to Liverpool for display there and then back to London.
Napoleon modelled his standards on the Roman Eagle which was sacred to the legions. He died in exile on the remote Southern Atlantic island of St Helena in 1821.
Reporting by Ian MacKenzie; editing by Stephen Addison