Peeping John

Jacqui Livesey unmasks the cleric who revealed Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton’s most intimate secrets.

For almost two hundred years, the identity of the author of Lady Hamilton’s first biography has remained a mystery. Published soon after her death in 1815, the infamous book revealed the true nature of the relationship between the celebrated beauty Emma Hamilton and the hero, Admiral Lord Nelson.

Not only did the Memoirs of Lady Hamilton detail the ‘habitual adultery’ that had taken place between Emma and Nelson under her husband’s roof, the writer also revealed the sordid circumstances surrounding the secret birth of the lovers’ two illegitimate children. The impact was horrendous. It was a devastating blow to Nelson’s memory, and apparent confirmation that Lady Hamilton was an ambitious, low-born whore, a woman willing to prostitute herself in Nelson’s embrace to secure a stronger grip on the coat tails of his fame.

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