“England expects that every man will do his duty.”
Sir William was enormously fond of Lord Nelson. Both men held each other in great esteem, enjoying the camaraderie of close friends. Lord Nelson, Sir William and Lady Hamilton united in their resolve not to allow Naples to fall into the hands of Napoleon. They called themselves “Tria juncto in uno.” Under these perilous circumstances, Lord Nelson could see the strength and courage in Lady Hamilton. Love between the two was inevitable.
By the end of 1798, the French invasion was imminent. Lady Hamilton, a close friend and adviser to Queen Maria Carolina, wife of Ferdinand I of Naples, was at the Queen’s side as plans were made to flee. The “Tria juncto in uno,” along with the royal family and those with means, escaped to Sicily. Yet, England was beckoning.
Nelson was recalled to Britain and Sir William, whose health was failing, longed for home. The three set out, taking the long route through a Europe grateful for Lord Nelson’s recent victory at the Battle of the Nile. Britain gave Lord Nelson a hero’s welcome. There was great jubilation. It was 1800, the dawning of a new century.
Instead of a long life together, Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton were given six years, much of that time spent apart. They had one daughter, Horatia in 1801. Sir William passed away in 1803, a heavy blow to both Emma and Lord Nelson. And then destiny intervened.
On October 21, 1805, Nelson’s fleet gained the victory over a joint Franco-Spanish naval force at the Battle of Trafalgar.
“Now I can do no more. We must trust to the Great Disposer of all events and the justice of our course. I thank God for this opportunity of doing my duty.”