In Brussels, the redoubtable Duchess of Richmond had planned to throw a ball on the evening of Thursday, June 15. She asked the Duke of Wellington whether she should proceed, and he was quite reassuring. He himself was planning to host a ball on June 21. His spies were telling him that the French planned to invade on the twenty-fifth, so there was still time to socialize. On the evening of June 15, two hundred Brussels aristocrats and officers descended on the duchess's house. As the ball started, the news began to circulate that Napoleon was advancing toward Brussels. The soldiers would have to fight the following day. As one guest reported, some men dashed away at that instant; others 'remained at the ball, and actually had not time to change their clothes, but fought in evening costume.' Lord Uxbridge rounded up the stragglers. 'You gentlemen who have engaged partners had better finish your dance and get to your quarters as soon as you can.' The Duchess of Richmond stood at the door, helplessly begging her guests to stay for supper.
-- from Becoming Queen Victoria, by Kate Williams