Everyone will have heard of the famous funeral of Princess Diana or Winston Churchill, but we cannot forget the funeral of Admiral Nelson. Perished during the battle of Trafalgar, the famous admiral was shot by a French shooter but managed to win that famous and decisive battle. His remains were brought home from his ship, the HMS Victory which you can now see in Portsmouth.
It is said that to preserve the corpse he was dipped in brandy, thus depriving the sailors of the Trafalgar of the usual drink. It seems that out of desperation several sailors sipped the brandy that contained the admiral.
Obviously, given the sudden death, there wasn’t much time to organise a state funeral, but the man was a hero and deserved a great funeral. It was then decided, given the fact that he was an admiral and used to water, to have his funeral on the Thames. His mortal remains were placed in a mortuary at the Maritime Royal Hospital in Greenwich and on January 8, 1806, Nelson’s body was placed on a funeral boat with a black canopy and accompanied by a fleet of over 60 boats.
Nelson was not in a coffin, but in four different coffins placed one inside the other. The smaller coffin was made from wood from Nelson’s ship during the Battle of the Nile. The three coffins were locked in a large golden and ornate coffin that was the only one that the public could see.
The funeral was not only big but also had a profound emotional importance, a bit like Princess Diana’s funeral nearly 200 years later.
We are now more critical of Admiral Nelson, a man produced by an imperialist nation who also justified slavery, but then he was a great national hero. The coffins were then taken to St Paul’s Cathedral for the religious funeral. The Thames procession was recreated in 2005 for the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.
What is that spire outside Charing Cross station in London?
The cross was destroyed in the year 1647 by the Puritans during the English Civil War. After the construction of Charing Cross station in 1865, a reproduction of Eleanor Cross was created and placed outside the station and not in its original place in Trafalgar Square where the equestrian sculpture dedicated to Carlo.
The reproduction was created by the architect EM Barry himself who built the railway station. He used uncommon images available from the original. at the top, there are eight images of Eleonora, 4 as a queen, with imperial symbols and 4 represented as a Christian. Below are curved angels and shields with royal weapons and those of Ponthieu, Castile and Leon, all copied from still extant Eleanor Crosses who were at Waltham Cross and Northampton.
What is special about King Tut’s brooch?
Isabella Beeton – Author of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management
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