“He came in, and with a pale countenance and faint voice said, ‘We have gained a great Victory’. ‘Never mind your victory,’ I said, “My letters – give me my letters’ – Capt. Whitby was unable to speak – tears in his eyes and a deathly paleness over his face made me comprehend him. I believe I gave one scream and fell back, and for ten hours after I could neither speak nor shed a tear – days have passed on and I know not how they end or begin – nor how I am to bear my future existence.”
Lady Hamilton, in a recollection to Lady Foster
Lord Nelson, before the Battle of Trafalgar, wrote a codicil to his will, leaving everything to Emma and his daughter, Horatia. He entreated the government, in the event of his death, to arrange for Emma’s financial security. Even, in his final hours, he pleaded for his nation to care for his family.
Lord Nelson fulfilled his duty. His government did not.
The funeral was the most lavish in British History. Lord Nelson had requested that Emma sing at his funeral. They had plans to be buried side by side. Emma was shut out entirely, a foreshadowing of what was to come. There was no government assistance for either Emma or Horatia, despite Lord Nelson’s sacrifice for his country. Emma passed away on January 1815, in Calais, France, her daughter at her side.
Horatia lived a long life and found true love with Reverend Philip Ward. They had ten children, three girls and seven boys. She lived to see her children grow and find their own way in the world. Her epitaph includes:
“…Here rests Horatia Nelson Ward, who died March 6th. 1881, aged 80, the beloved daughter of Vice Admiral Lord Nelson and widow of the above-named Revd. Philip Ward.”
Horatia never publicly revealed or recognized that she was the daughter of Emma Hamilton. Indeed, over the years, many scholars have marginalized Emma’s relevance in Lord Nelson’s life. How foolish.
In the end, Emma had the best of all outcomes. She was loved, passionately and irrevocably by England’s greatest hero.
If you are interested in learning more about Lady Hamilton (and there is much more to know) I recommend reading: “England’s Mistress – The Infamous Life of Emma Hamilton” by Kate Williams
22 thoughts on “The End”
It’s so sad that the country shut Emma out, but you’re right, she did have the love and devotion of a really great man.
You would find this interesting – Kate Williams wrote that as she was collecting the research for her book “England’s Mistress” there were many people who contacted her to say that they were descendants from Lord Nelson and the remarkable Lady Hamilton. Everyone wants to be connected to this famous couple.
Can you blame them? 🙂
I agree wholeheartedly!!! 🙂
You always leave us wanting to learn more about your subject.
Alas and Alack……….
I just clicked on your pinterest.
Alack and Alas……..
There is so much to this story. First and foremost it is a story about the plight of women. While Lady Hamilton’s background was rather “tarnished” she was not unusual – there were many others. Women had very few choices and limited opportunity. Although I did not go into it in the series, the story of Lord Nelson’s first wife bears noting. She could never give Nelson a child, another issue that could curtail a women’s worth. I am so glad that you enjoyed the series!!
It’s not the first time that the English government has failed to fulfil it’s promises to the country’s heroes
I have no doubt that you and Thomas Jefferson would be great friends!!
“Governments constantly choose between telling lies and fighting wars, with the end result always being the same. One will always lead to the other.”
― Thomas Jefferson
“And in the end
the love you take
is equal to the love
The Beatles, Abbey Road
Oh well said!!! A fitting benediction to this post…. Thank you!
Hello Rebecca 🙂
And some woman she was Ten children and lived too the age of eighty 🙂
It so typical that the British-Government and power even today do not recognise in full those they call upon when they need them, having said that it’s not exclusive to the British but typical at the same time.
Is there a family tree Rebecca, it would be very interesting to know what happens to the family with them being 10 in total ?
You are so right – it is not exclusive to Britain. I have not found a family tree although I have tried. I will keep on looking. I did find a short one on Wikipedia, but it was backwards, not forwards. 🙂 Wikipedia does give insight into the children, but not to the next generation…
It would be very interesting to find out but maybe a little difficult 🙂
Yes, most place seem to think a stone with a name on is enough ?
I understand that in 1994, a group of Lady Hamilton’s supporters placed a plaque in her honour in the Parc Richelieu in Calais. As for Sir William, his grave was destroyed by an owner of Slebech Castle. Also lost is the grave of Sir Charles Greville. All that remains, of course is the magnificent tomb of Lord Nelson. Which reminds us all, that life is fleeting and that each day is indeed a gift.
I would rather have the love and suffer all else then to have never known that kind of love. But, that’s just moi. I’m a romantic to the unrealistic core. 🙂
Ah – I am with you!!! When was love realistic?!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
Poor Emma/ There is much in life that is not fair.
So very true…
Life is rather unpredictable and it seems not to understand humanity’s concept of fairness. I always like this quote about life and acceptance.
“Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.”
Without a doubt, as it is even today, there was an Office of Circumlocution which denied Emma and her daughter what by common sense was rightly theirs. One wonders if the French would have been more accommodating in such a case.
A very interesting point. One of my 2013 books to read (if I ever get through that huge list that I made at the beginning of the year) is about Napoleon. The key in any outcome is to survive. Emma’s life would have been quite different if Lord Nelson had survived. Oh the twists and turns….
“History is written by the winners.”
― Napoleon Bonaparte
Yes, so true.
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