Lord Nelson's secret letter to Lady Emma Hamilton set to go under the hammer

PUBLISHED: 12:46 12 November 2014 | UPDATED: 12:46 12 November 2014

A portrait of Lord Horatio Nelson.

A portrait of Lord Horatio Nelson.


A clandestine letter from one of our region's heroes to his mistress is expected to fetch more than £10,000 when it goes under the hammer.

This letter from Lord Admiral Nelson to his mistress Lady Emma Hamilton is expected to fetch more than £10,000 at auction.This letter from Lord Admiral Nelson to his mistress Lady Emma Hamilton is expected to fetch more than £10,000 at auction.

The letter from Lord Admiral Nelson to his lover Lady Emma Hamilton was sent weeks after the birth of their love child Horatia.

The correspondence, dated February 12 1801, is expected to go for between £10,000 and £15,000 on Wednesday, November 19, when it is up for auction at Christie’s in London.

Lord Nelson, who was born in Burnham Thorpe on the North Norfolk coast, and Lady Hamilton were worried that their secret correspondence was being intercepted and in the letter Lord Nelson responds to concerns raised by Lady Hamilton about the fate of an earlier letter.

He writes: “My letter to you with two others was put into the Post Office at Brixham at half past 2 o’clock on Sunday [...] I have had the mid up to the post and he assures me that he untied the red tape and put the three letters into the Post Office. I therefore hope it is come to hand, if not it is intercepted.”

Nelson and Emma pretended that Horatia was the daughter of a fictitious Admiral named Thomson and that they were the child’s godparents.

In the letter Nelson tells Lady Hamilton: “Mrs Thomson’s friend desires you will assure her of his unalterable & affectionate regard and begs she will be assured that all the world cannot either change or make him wish to change for a moment and that he is unalterably hers.”

Lord Nelson ends by asking Lady Hamilton to “kiss my god child”.

Auctioneers Christie’s said: “Reflecting the precarious circumstances in which Nelson and Emma were forced to conduct their relationship, the letter betrays some of the insecurities that beset the couple, including the constant fear that one of their letters – full of thinly-veiled affection, with neither party well disguised by their use of the ‘Thomson’ alias – would fall into strange hands.

“From his proclamations of affection, it also seems that Emma, or ‘Mrs Thomson’ as she appears here, had questioned Nelson’s devotion; accusations of emotional infidelity and neglect recur throughout their correspondence and saw him whipped into agonies of jealousy and despair.

“Based in England during the final negotiations of the Peace of Amiens,

“Nelson could frequently visit Emma and play some part in the life of his illegitimate daughter, Horatia, referred to his as ‘god child’ in their correspondence.”

Do you own a rare historical artefact? Write to Doug Faulkner at

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