Emma Hamilton and Horatio Nelson were by now the two most famous Britons in the world. Emma had by then become not only a close personal friend of Queen Maria Carolina, but had developed into an important political influence. She advised the Queen on how to react to the threats from the French Revolution. Maria Carolina's sister Marie Antoinette had fallen a victim to the Revolution. In , Naples was the scene of a strange revolution led by members of the aristocracy; the common people did not agree with the revolution.
The French troops were not welcome, but the royal family fled to Sicily. From here Nelson tried to help the royal family put down the revolutionaries. He had absolutely no support from the British government.
He even allowed one of the leaders of the revolution, Admiral Francesco Caracciolo , to be executed for treason. Emma Hamilton tried to draw a parallel between the revolution in Naples and the Irish uprising in Emma played an important role in helping to put an end to the revolution when she arrived off Naples with Nelson's fleet on 24 June Nelson's recall to Britain  shortly afterwards coincided with the government finally granting Hamilton's request for relief from his post in Naples. Emma must have become pregnant around April Upon arrival in London on 8 November, the three of them took suites at Nerot's Hotel after a missed communication from Nelson to his wife about receiving the party at their home, Roundwood.
Lady Nelson and Nelson's father arrived and they all dined at the hotel, with Fanny deeply unhappy to see Emma pregnant. The affair soon became public knowledge, and to the delight of the newspapers, Fanny did not accept the affair as placidly as Sir William. Emma was winning the media war at that point, and every fine lady was experimenting with her look.
Nelson contributed to Fanny's misery by being cruel to her when not in Emma's company.
Sir William was mercilessly lampooned in the press, but his sister observed that he doted on Emma and she was very attached to him. The Hamiltons moved into William Beckford's mansion at 22 Grosvenor Square, and Nelson and Fanny took an expensive furnished house at 17 Dover Street, a comfortable walking distance away, until December, when Sir William rented a home at 23 Piccadilly , opposite Green Park. On 1 January, Nelson's promotion to Vice Admiral was confirmed and he prepared to go to sea on the same night. Infuriated by Fanny's handing him an ultimatum to choose between her and his mistress, Nelson chose Emma and decided to take steps to formalise separation from his wife.
He never saw her again, after being hustled out of town by an agent.
While he was at sea, Nelson and Emma exchanged many letters, using a secret code to discuss Emma's condition. Emma kept her first daughter Emma Carew's existence as a secret from Nelson, while Sir William continued to provide for her. Emma gave birth to Nelson's daughter Horatia , on 29 January  at 23 Piccadilly, who was taken soon afterwards to a Mrs Gibson for care and hire of a wet nurse. On 1 February, Emma made a spectacular appearance at a concert at the house of the Duke of Norfolk in St James' Square, and Emma worked hard to keep the press onside.
Soon after this, the Prince of Wales later King George IV became infatuated with Emma, leading Nelson to be consumed by jealousy, and inspiring a remarkable letter by Sir William to Nelson, assuring him that she was being faithful. Nelson's family were aware of the pregnancy, and his clergyman brother Rev. William Nelson wrote to Emma praising her virtue and goodness. Nelson and Emma continued to write letters to each other when he was away at sea, and she kept every one. While he was away too, she arranged for her mother to visit the Kidds in Hawarden and her daughter in Manchester.
He gave her free rein with spending to improve the property, and her vision was to transform the house into a celebration of his genius. Emma also made herself useful to Nelson's sisters Kitty Catherine , married to George Matcham, and Susanna, married to Thomas Bolton, by helping to raise their children and to make ends meet.
Nelson's sister-in-law Sarah married to William , also pressed him for assistance and favours, including the payment of their son Horatio's school fees at Eton. Also around this time, Emma finally told Nelson about her daughter Emma Carew, now known as Emma Hartley, and found that she had had nothing to worry about; he invited her to stay at Merton and soon grew fond of "Emma's relative".
She moved to a house called Elmdene in Church Lane, Pinner and later at Beaufort Villas, Woodridings a former estate in Pinner , where she died 22 years later; both were near to her son Nelson. This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets CSS enabled. Emma next worked as a model and dancer at the "Goddess of Health" also known as the "Temple of Health" for James Graham ,  a Scottish " quack " doctor. Emma was unable to attend Court yet, but Sir William took her to every other party, assembly and outing. Maurice Suckling Behold the painful plough.
An unpublished letter shows that Nelson assumed responsibility for upkeep of young Emma at this time. After the Treaty of Amiens on 25 March , Nelson was released from active service, but wanted to keep his new-found position in society by maintaining an aura of wealth, and Emma worked hard to live up to this dream.
Nelson's father became seriously ill in April, but Nelson did not visit him in Norfolk possibly fearing a meeting with Fanny , staying home to celebrate Emma's 37th birthday with a big party on the very day that Edmund died, and did not attend the funeral. The newspapers reported on their every move, including trips to Wales to inspect Sir William's estates and a holiday to Ramsgate intended to give him some peace and quiet, looking to Emma to set fashions in dress, home decoration and even dinner party menus.
By the autumn of , Sir William's health was declining, at the same time that the peace with France was disintegrating. But soon afterwards, Sir William collapsed at 23 Piccadilly and on 6 April died in Emma's arms, and Emma's creditors closed in. Charles Greville was the executor of the estate and he instructed to her leave 23 Piccadilly, but for the sake of respectability, she had to keep an address separate from Nelson's and so moved into 11 Clarges Street, not far away, a couple of months later.
Greville, furious at the extent of the debts left in the estate, was not willing to do Emma any favours. In addition, Sir William had not written fairly about Emma's role in the vital espionage of , inflating his own role, so the government did not consider her worthy of a pension. In the meantime, Nelson was offered the position of Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet , and they rushed to have Horatia christened at Marylebone Parish Church before he left.
On her baptism record, her name was recorded as Horatia Nelson Thompson, and her date of birth falsely recorded as 29 October in order to continue the pretence that she had been born in Naples and was godchild of Emma and Nelson, according to Kate Williams and based on an unpublished letter;  however the only publicly available transcription of the record shows 29 October Emma planned, paid for and hosted the wedding of Nelson's niece Kitty Bolton daughter of Susanna and her cousin Captain Sir William Bolton Nelson's sister Susanna's husband's brother's son at 23 Piccadilly on 18 May ,  the same day as Nelson's early morning departure to fight in the Napoleonic Wars , leaving Emma pregnant with their second child although neither knew it at this time.
She was desperately lonely, preoccupied with attempting to turn Merton Place into the grand home Nelson desired,  suffering from several ailments and frantic for his return. The child, a girl reportedly named Emma , died about 6 weeks after her birth in early ,  and Horatia also fell ill at her home with Mrs Gibson on Titchfield Street.
Emma kept the infant's death a secret from the press her burial is unrecorded , kept her deep grief from Nelson's family and found it increasingly difficult to cope alone.
She reportedly distracted herself by gambling, and succumbed to binges of heavy drinking and eating and spending lavishly. Emma received several marriage proposals during , all wealthy men, but she was still in love with Nelson and believed that he would become wealthy with prize money and leave her rich in his will, and she refused them all. She continued to entertain and help Nelson's relatives, especially William and Sarah's "obstreperous son Horace" and their daughter Charlotte, who was referred to as Emma's "foster daughter" in a letter.
Nelson urged her to keep Horatia at Merton, and when his return seemed imminent in , Emma ran up bills on furnishing and decorating Merton. Five-year-old Horatia came to live at Merton in May There were also reports that she holidayed with Emma Carew. After a brief visit to England in August , Nelson once again had to return to service.
Emma received letters from him on 1, 7 and 13 October. On the ship, he wrote a note intended as a codicil to his will requesting that, in return to his legacy to King and Country that they should give Emma "ample provision to maintain her rank in life", and that his "adopted daughter, Horatia Nelson Thompson Nelson was seriously wounded during the battle and died three hours later. When the news of his death arrived in London, a messenger was sent to Merton Place to bring the news to Lady Hamilton. They brought me word, Mr Whitby from the Admiralty. He came in, and with a pale countenance and faint voice, said, 'We have gained a great Victory.
I believe I gave a scream and fell back, and for ten hours I could neither speak nor shed a tear. Emma lay in bed prostrate with grief for many weeks, often receiving visitors in tears. It was some weeks before she heard that Nelson's last words were of her and that he had begged the nation to take care of her and Horatia. After William and Sarah distanced themselves from her William being elated upon hearing that Nelson had not changed his will , she relied on Nelson's sisters Kitty Matcham and Susanna Bolton for moral support and company.
Mired in retirement in Norfolk for the previous five years, Nelson had hardly seen a woman since he had returned to sea six months before their meeting, and he was impressed by Lady Hamilton. By the Italian Court, including Emma and her husband, were terrified that Naples would be invaded by French troops. Emma wrote him a passionately admiring letter:.
I fainted when I heard the joyful news I walk and tread in the air with pride, feeling I was born in the same land with the victor Nelson … we are preparing your apartmen Sir William and I are so impatient to embrace you. Even my shawl is in blue with gold anchors all over. I send you some Sonets, but I must have taken a ship on purpose to send you all written on you. When Nelson arrived in September, Emma welcomed him in spectacular fashion and he was immediately captivated by her. The English press speculated about the close friendship between the 'national hero' - Nelson - and Lady Hamilton.
Emma had encompassed all his attentions. Emma had never been unfaithful to Sir William since becoming his mistress in and his wife in Nelson, too, had been loyal to his wife, in the way that the period defined male fidelity - he had restricted himself to courtesans. But their marriages had not given them the romance and excitement they craved, and both had fallen out of love with their partners. Nelson and Emma shared an emotional temperament and playful sense of humour, as well as boundless energy, ambition and hunger for fame.
Their emotions were intensified by the flight from Naples and the struggle against the French, and they fell profoundly in love. Concerned that Nelson was falling under Neapolitan influence, the Admiralty recalled him to England in At the same time, the Foreign Office asked year-old Sir William to retire from his post.
Every city they stayed in feted them, and Nelson and Emma tasted the celebrity they would experience in London. The hero and his mistress returned to England in November to public clamour. Mortified, she demanded Nelson give up his mistress. Her ultimatum so infuriated him that he decided to separate from her by moving out of her home and paying her half his income.
He never saw her again. Most aristocrats and rich men kept mistresses, and many, like the Duke of Wellington, humiliated their wives by flaunting courtesans in public. Nelson, however, was the first high-profile man to actually leave his wife and many were scandalised by his actions.
Almost everything she owned was scattered in sales after Nelson died at Trafalgar in , two years after Sir William. Nelson, when he learned the original was to be sold, wrote to Lady Hamilton: I am almost mad to think of the iniquity. Painting Horatio Nelson Women Art news. Order by newest oldest recommendations. Show 25 25 50 All.