Lady Hamilton & Horatio Nelson: After Sir William’s Death (part 31)

Sir William‘s death, on 6 April 1803 withdrew the husband’s “cover” for Nelson‘s remaining under the same roof as Emma, and complicated matters a bit.
Her marriage to Sir William had granted her a certain degree of respectability even if it had not opened the doors of the Court for her: Queen Charlotte had firmly refused to receive her, despite a letter of recommendation sent by Queen Maria Carolina, underlining all her achievements as wife of the British envoy in Naples.
Her status had always shielded her from uncomfortable questions about the nature of her relationship with Nelson.
But now rumours and gossip intensified, along with unwelcome enquiries about little Horatia Thompson.
Therefore Nelson sent a clear letter to the nurse instructing her:
Mrs Gibson is desired on no consideration to answer any questions about Miss Thompson or who placed her with Mrs. G. as ill tempered people have talked lies about the child”.

After that, they hastened to have her christened five days before the Admiral was due to return to duty.
A few details on her baptism record were altered, and not just her date of birth, which was falsified and listed as 29 October 1800, to set her birth while Emma was in Vienna.
Her name became Horatia Nelson Thompson: the record named Emma and Nelson as her godparents, and her “fake “ father was no longer the illiterate sailor they spoke about in their letters, but Vice Admiral Charles Thompson.
These changes were made to back up the intended story that she was the ward of Nelson who adopted Horatia as an orphan from Naples.

It was a lot of years later that her real parents were publicly certified, as she grew up believing that the couple who visited her were her guardians, not her parents, and it is possible that Emma died without openly revealing her that she was her biological mother.

With the death of her husband, Lady Hamilton’s financial situation became precarious, also due to her spending sprees and her inability to live within her real financial means.
Unfortunately Greville, who was Sir William’s nephew and Emma’s former lover, and who had not married the heiress for whom he had passed the girl to the Ambassador, was appointed the sole heir of his uncle’s estates, the price for which he had bartered his beautiful mistress years before. She was left with only a small annual income.
He also forced her to leave Piccadilly, but at the same time obliged her, for the sake of respectability, to keep a separate address from Nelson’s. She therefore moved into a house in Clarges Street, further deteriorating her precarious finances.
Her move to Merton, which was run by Mrs Cadogan, Emma’s mother and confidante, was currently out of the question, in order to avoid further potential scandals.

Emma had continued to keep the existence of her first daughter Emma Carew hidden from Nelson, whilst Sir William had continued to provide for her financially , and now she finally told him about her and found that she had nothing to worry about.
Horatio even invited her to stay with them at Merton and soon became attached to “Emma’s relative“, as they continued to call her, even taking responsibility for her upkeep.

to be continued

La morte di Sir William il 6 aprile 1803, che faceva sparire la “copertura” del marito alla permanenza di Nelson ed Emma sotto lo stesso tetto, complicò un po’ le cose.
Il suo matrimonio con l’Ambasciatore le aveva garantito una certa rispettabilità, anche se non le aveva aperto le porte della Corte: la regina Carlotta si era fermamente rifiutata di riceverla, nonostante avesse ricevuto una lettera di raccomandazione inviatale dalla regina Maria Carolina, in cui venivano sottolineati tutti i suoi successi come moglie dell’inviato britannico a Napoli.

Quello status l’aveva anche sempre protetta da domande scomode sulla natura della sua relazione con Nelson.
Ma ora voci e pettegolezzi si intensificarono, insieme a domande spiacevoli sulla piccola Horatia Thompson.
Perciò Nelson inviò una chiara lettera alla balia ordinandole : “La signora Gibson è invitata a non rispondere a nessuna domanda sulla signorina Thompson o su chi l’ha messa presso la signora G. poiché persone maligne hanno diffuso menzogne sulla bambina.”

Dopo di che, si affrettarono a farla battezzare cinque giorni prima che l’Ammiraglio dovesse tornare in servizio. Alcuni dettagli sul suo certificato di battesimo furono falsificati, e non solo la data di nascita che era stata anticipata di parecchio per far figurare il parto mentre Emma era a Vienna
Al suo nome venne aggiunto anche Nelson; Horatia Nelson Thompson, i cui padrini erano Emma e Horatio Nelson. Il suo finto padre non era più il marinaio analfabeta di cui parlavano nelle loro lettere, ma il vice ammiraglio Charles Thompson.
Queste modifiche furono apportate per riuscire poi a sostenere la storia che era la pupilla di Nelson, un’orfana di Napoli adottata da lui.
E’ stato molti anni dopo la sua nascita che i veri genitori vennero certificati pubblicamente mentre lei era invece cresciuta credendo che la coppia che la visitava fossero i suoi tutori, ed è possibile che Emma sia morta senza rivelarle apertamente di essere la sua madre biologica.
All’inizio è stata presentata al mondo come la pupilla di Nelson, è cresciuta credendo che la coppia che l’ha visitata fossero i suoi tutori, non i suoi genitori, ed è possibile che Emma sia morta senza rivelarle apertamente di essere la sua madre biologica.

Con la morte del marito, la situazione finanziaria di Lady Hamilton divenne precaria, anche a causa delle sue spese folli e dell’incapacità di vivere in modo conforme alle sue reali possibilità economiche.
Sfortunatamente Greville, nipote di Sir William ed ex amante di Emma, che non aveva poi sposato l’ereditiera per la quale aveva ceduto la giovane all’Ambasciatore, fu nominato erede unico delle proprietà dello zio, il prezzo per il quale aveva barattato la bellissima amante anni prima. A lei rimase solo una piccola rendita annuale.
L’uomo la costrinse anche a lasciare la casa di Piccadilly, obbligandola però, per amor di rispettabilità, a tenere un indirizzo separato da quello di Nelson. Lei si trasferì quindi in una casa in Clarges Street, danneggiando ancor più le sue precarie finanze.
Il trasferimento a Merton, residenza gestita dalla signora Cadogan, madre e confidente di Emma, era al momento fuori discussione, per evitare ulteriori potenziali scandali.

Emma aveva continuato a tenere nascosta a Nelson l’esistenza della sua prima figlia Emma Carew, mentre Sir William aveva continuato a provvedere a lei finanziariamente, e ora finalmente si decise a parlargliene accorgendosi che non aveva nulla di cui preoccuparsi.
Horatio la invitò persino stare con loro a Merton e ben presto si affezionò al quella che continuavano a chiamate la “parente di Emma”, assumendosi anche la responsabilità del suo mantenimento.

continua

Image: Frank Dodd print (early 19th century) – Nelson, Emma and little Horatia with her nurse in the garden of Merton Place

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58 thoughts on “Lady Hamilton & Horatio Nelson: After Sir William’s Death (part 31)

  1. Everything that starts badly ends badly. I have not even anticipated reading about this story to have the pleasure of continuing with the curiosity of knowing how the outcome of this tumultuous life of Lady Hamilton will be. Greetings Luisa. We continue in the front row.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Luisa, you should seriously consider writing for television. What a wonderful, compelling narrative! You are exceptionally talented, dear. Thank you so much for rekindling my interest in History. ♥️♥️♥️😍😍😍. Waiting eagerly for the next post.

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    1. Luisa ! Extramarital affairs create such problems as faced by Emma . For hiding a truth that Horatia was her illegitimate daughter from Nelson , Nelson got the record of her birth and the record of her Baptism changed ; so that nobody could know about the truth . But the rumor and gossip was in the air that Horatia was their illegitimate child and more so after the death of Sir William Hamilton . Her lavish life was also halted as she was fixed a very small annual amount out of the property of Sir William and his nephew Grenville was declared as the heir of his property . Even she was thrown out of the house of Sir William . This was the fate of once a very powerful lady of Naples . Even after her recommendation by Queen Maria Caroline of Naples , she was not received by Queen Charlotte of Britain at all . And this was , of course , the result of her past cruelty and extramarital affairs with Nelson . Thanks !

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  3. So many lies. How can they remember the last one?
    Emma gets the boot from an old lover who gets all the money and makes her live in almost poverty.
    And Emma is taking a chance when she allows a rake like Nelson to get close to her oldest daughter.
    The story just keeps twisting.
    Another fine post, Luísa.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Si aggiungono nuovi risvolti, rendendo la storia sempre più interessate ed intrigante. Ho letto tre puntate di fila, così mi sono aggiornata alla storia. La vita di Emma con la morte del marito è cambiata anche economicamente. Vedremo come procederà per il futuro, visto che ha anche palesato la prima figlia, accettata di buon grado da Nelson. A risentirci presto, cara Luisa. Ti auguro buona serata!💞💞💞🎈

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  5. Would these two even know the truth if it bit them on the butt? They lie to each other, the world in general and most of their acquaintances in particular. You’ve done a brilliant job of letting these two specimens reveal themselves one chapter at a time

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    1. ,,, do you know that I discovered their true nature a little at a time, as well?
      When I started I never imagined feeling sometimes fascinated by Emma’s ability to overcome her obstacles, sometimes disgusted by her behavior
      As for Nelson, bewitched by a woman, it is just the right example to illustrate a somewhat vulgar proverb that we have in Italy which translates like this; one hair of a woman can draw more than a hundred pair of oxen😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is classier than our comments referring to the stupid stick or the lower brain. I share your ambiguity about Emma because my feelings have morphed as the saga has progressed. I love (think it was your comment) about the 17th-18th century morality that as long as the adultery was with a prostitute it didn’t really count as adultery (as opposed to a mistress).

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