“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