Emma Hamilton
Emma, Lady Hamilton was an English lady who was revered as one of the most beautiful women of her generation. She was painted multiple times in famous paintings, was the muse of George Romney, and the mistress of Lord Nelson. Before finding fame, she worked briefly as a maid, actress, model, and dancer.

Full Name Amy "Emma" Lyon Hart Hamilton
Who mistress
Birth Date April 26, 1765
Death Date January 15, 1815
Country England
Born Neston, Cheshire, England, UK
Died Calais, France
Cause of Death liver failure
Education n/a
Father Henry Lyon
Mother Mary Kidd Lyon
Spouse William Hamilton
Siblings none known

Emma Carew

Horatia Nelson


Beginning at the age of 12, in 1777, Hamilton began working as a maid in the home of Honoratus Leigh Thomas.  

Around 1778, around the ageof 13, Hamilton served as a maid to Mary Robinson, briefly. However, she soon quit the job, as it paid little.

Hamilton worked as a model and dancer at the questionable establishment of James Graham. He was a Scottish doctor who had an establishment called the Temple of Health, where couples went and laid in a bed, which would then deliver them mild electric shocks. Supposedly, this helped fertility. Hamilton's job was to get the couples in "the mood." She was about 14 years old at the time, around 1779.

Hamilton met Charles Francis Greville in 1780, at the age of 15, when she became the mistress of a lord. She would frequently entertain his guests at dinner parties by dancing nude on the tables. She and Greville became close friends, and shortly afterward the lord that was keeping Hamilton got her pregnant. He was furious at this, and moved her to another of his houses. The distraught Hamilton turned to Greville for comfort, and the two struck up a romantic relationship. She became his mistress, though Hamilton hoped that he would marry her, but instead Greville always sought to hide his relationship with her. Her child, a daughter, was born, and given away to another couple. Greville asked Hamilton, whose last name was at the time "Lyon," to change her last name to "Hart," which she did. He had an idea that she should sit as a model for his friend, Goerge Romney, which set in motion her rise to fame. In 1783, when Hamilton was 18 and now a renowned society beauty, Greville was forced to look for a rich wife in order to rescue his dwindling fortune. However, he would not be able to marry as long as it was known that he kept Hamilton as a mistress. Therefore, he devised a plan to give her to his uncle, William Hamilton, as a mistress. The benefits for William would be two-fold - he would no longer have the same of having a poor relation in Greville, and he would also get the chance to keep the most beautiful woman in England. Greville assured William that he could enjoy Emma for a short time as a temporary mistress, and after his marriage to a wealthy heiress was done, he would take Emma back. Thus, Emma was sent to Naples, where William Hamilton lived, as a guest. She was unaware of the plan that had been arranged - but was furious once she realized it. 

Emma's acquaintances included Ferdinand I of Naples. 

Hamilton met George Romney in 1782, when her lover Grenville suggested that she model for him. This began a series of paintings that Romney would paint of her, with enormous success. She became an obsession of Romeny's, and his lifelong muse. The paintings of her helped her to rise in social circles, and she was renowned for her wit, charm, and incredible beauty. 

Hamilton met the diplomat William Hamilton due to a trick that Greville, who she was at the time the mistress of, set up for her. Since he needed to marry a rich heiress (which could not be done while keeping her as a mistress), he contacted his uncle - William Hamilton - and devised to "give" Emma to him as a temporary mistress, and take her back once his marriage was done. And so, Emma was sent to Naples, having been told that she would be a guest there. However, once she realized that she was expected to become Hamilton's mistress, she was furious. However, she did make quite an impression on Naples, starting fashion trends that swept over Europe, organizing theatrical performances, hosting artists in a salon-type gatherings, and singing and miming for guests. After a few months, she and William Hamilton began a romantic relationship. Despite his age, the two got along well, and they married in London in 1791. William was 60, and Emma was 26. She thus recieved the title of Lady Hamilton. 

Hamilton was a close friend and confidante of Maria Carolina of Austria, the sister of Marie Antoinette. During the French Revolution, she advised the queen on political and court matters.

Hamilton first met Horatio Nelson in 1793, when he was a guest in her home. She met him again five years later, in 1798. He was now a war hero and legend, but had paid the price - prematurely aged, and minus one arm. Hamilton, according to stories, fainted against him when she saw him, and deeply moved. It was arranged that Nelson would stay in the Hamilton home, where Hamilton nursed him back to health, and hosted an enormous party of 1,800 guests to celebrate his return. Before long, the two fell in love. At the time, Nelson was revered as the bravest and most famous British man alive, and Hamilton was in turn revered as the most beautiful and most famous British woman alive. Their love affair was allowed and even supported by Hamilton's husband William, who was elderly and in ill health. Nelson and Hamilton had a deep mutual admiration for each other, adoring everything that the other did - a love streaked with obsession. In 1799, Nelson was recalled to England to serve again in the Navy, despite Hamilton pleading with the government to allow him to retire. This was not granted - and so Hamilton traveled alongside Nelson, and William came with them. The three became a tight knit circle of friends and lovers, and they took the longest route possible to get back to Britain, even stopping in Vienna to attend operas. Once they finally reached England, Nelson recieved a hero's welcome. The public learned that the three were living openly together, and it soon became the wildfire talk of the country - met with both fascination and scandal. The Navy sent Nelson back to sea in an attempt to break off his relationship with Hamilton. Nelson searched for ways to recieve a divorce from his estranged wife, but they both agreed that they must wait for William to die in order to marry each other - Hamilton would not consider a divorce from him. Hamilton had a daughter, Horatia, with Nelson in 1801. Later in the year, Nelson bought a palace, where he, Emma, William, and Emma's mother lived together harmoniously. This arrangement fascinated the public, and Emma was watched with more fervor than ever. Her every word was reported in the papers, her clothes dictated fashion trends all across Europe, and her dinner parties, social events, and even food menus were widely reported on. However, Emma had grown tired of society, and no longer sought out fame. She turned down a paid contract to sing at the Royal Opera in Madrid. She lived a more peaceful live with Nelson. William died in 1803, and Emma and Nelson went through difficulties. He was often gone with the Navy, fighting the Napoleonic Wars. Emma grew fat, and her beauty faded. She had a third daughter with Nelson, but the girl died a few weeks after birth. Emma turned to gambling and overspending, and was often lonely. She was also frustrated by the fact that Nelson had not yet succeeded in obtaining a divorce from his wife. She had also grown tired of waiting for his returns from battles, alone in her grand house that they had dreamed of living together in. In 1805, Nelson's forces famously defeated the French-Spanish Navy at the Battle of Trafalgar. However, he was fatally wounded, and died three hours after the battle was won. When news of her lover's death was given to Emma, she said to the messenger "Never mind your victory!" For ten hours, she stayed in the same room, not moving or speaking. After Nelson's death, the English government ignored his will - which clearly stated that he wished to leave everything to her and their daughter. Instead, the British crown gave Nelson's brothers all of his holdings. This resulted in Emma falling into debt, and forever mourning Nelson's death for the rest of her life.

How Added - Was researching famous people named Emma. 

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.