Every year the Duke of Wellington gives a copy of this silk “Quit Rent” flag to the Queen or King of Britain. It serves as a symbolical rent payment for the Duke’s ancestral home of Stratfield Saye.
Stratfield Saye is a splendid mansion in Hampshire. It was given to the first Duke of Wellington by the British government in 1817, in gratitude for his leading the Allied Army to victory at the Battle of Waterloo. To acknowledge the generous gift of a house and 600,000 acres of land, the Duke of Wellington makes a token “rent” payment of a flag every year.
In recent years, the Queen and the current Duke have met in June, in the Waterloo Chamber at Windsor Castle, for a ceremonial presentation. The flag, embroidered with the current year, is then hung in the Waterloo Chamber.
This practice is sometimes called “peppercorn rent”, meaning any trivial payment that is used to mark a gift of land. Theoretically, if the Duke of Wellington ever skipped a year’s “rent”, the property would be forfeited and the Duke and his family would have to move out. A spare copy of the flag is always kept at Stratfield Saye, just in case it is lost or damaged on the way to the presentation ceremony.
Find it here
This object is in the collection of Stratfield Saye