On 8 January 1806, the coffin was taken into the Admiralty for the night, attended by Nelson's chaplain, Alexander Scott. The following day, 9 January, a funeral procession consisting of 32 admirals, over a hundred captains, and an escort of 10,000 soldiers took the coffin from the Admiralty to St Paul's Cathedral. After a four-hour service, he was interred within a crypt, in a sarcophagus originally carved for Cardinal Wolsey; the sarcophagus and its base had been previously taken over for the tomb of Henry VIII, which was never completed. The sailors charged with folding the flag, which they were to then place on Nelson's coffin after it had been lowered through the floor of the nave, instead tore it into fragments, each taking a piece as a memorial of their fallen commander.
National Heroes Square must reflect our heroes. And ... while we accept that the statue of the vice admiral Lord Horatio Nelson is an important historic relic, it is not a relic to be placed in the National Heroes Square of a nation that has had to fight for too long to shape its destiny and to forge a positive future for its citizens.
In July the same year, he was personally involved in a boat action off Cadiz. He later recalled: 'This was a service, hand to hand with swords.' The artist Richard Westall vividly recalls that night and dramatically captures the intensity of the fight. Nelson's coxswain, Sykes, standing on his right, saved the admiral's life twice that night by placing himself between Nelson and enemy cutlasses. On the second occasion, Sykes was wounded badly in the process. Apart from illustrating Nelson's personal bravery, this incident shows the depth of the loyalty he inspired in his men, they were quite literally prepared to die for him.
At the Battle of the Nile in 1798, he successfully destroyed Napoleon's fleet and thus his bid for a direct trade route to India. Nelson's next posting took him to Naples, where he fell in love with Emma, Lady Hamilton. Although they remained in their respective marriages, Nelson and Emma Hamilton considered each other soul-mates and had a child together, Horatia, in 1801. Earlier that same year, Nelson was promoted to vice-admiral.
Horatio Nelson was once a household name, with adoring crowds turning out to catch a glimpse of him and the press feeding off both his successes and scandals. His triumphs were a source of national joy and his death plunged Britain into mourning. Today he remains a legendary figure in Britain, but his daring exploits are little-known elsewhere. This is the story of Admiral Nelson, the immortal admiral, a man who was both a national hero and a celebrity. 041b061a72