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The Funeral of Admiral Nelson

The Funeral of Admiral Nelson
5th-9th January 1806
Britain’s greatest naval hero, Horatio Nelson, was killed winning his most famous victory at Trafalgar in October 1805. Having requested not to be buried at sea, Nelson’s body was placed in a barrel of brandy for its transport to Gibraltar. Nelson’s body was taken to the naval hospital at Greenwich, January 9th began a journey up the Thames. All traffic on the Thames was suspended as Nelson’s funeral procession passed and minute guns marked its progress and the great guns of the Tower of London fired a salute as the procession passed. Nearly 8,000 troops and 20,000 volunteers marked the route from the Admiralty to St Paul’s. Notable for her absence was Nelson’s wife, Fanny, whose carriage was left empty and the blinds raised; because of Nelson’s well known affair with Emma Hamilton, who also did not attend the funeral, Frances refused to attend. The standards of French and Spanish ships, taken at Trafalgar, adorned St Paul’s and the ensign of HMS Victory raised behind Nelson’s coffin. The coffin itself was made of the timbers of the French ship l’Orient which had been destroyed at the Battle of the Nile in 1798. Nelson’s coffin was lowered 20ft to the crypt and placed in a tomb originally made for Cardinal Wolseley. After the service, the sailors of the Victory began to tear the ship’s ensign apart, taking it away with them as a memento of their beloved commander.

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