Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson was one of England's famous folk heroes, about whom many famous writers have written. Nelson's mistress Lady Emma Hamilton has also had excellent biographies written about her. However Lady Frances 'Fanny' Nelson, Duchess of Bronte, was Nelson's beloved wife for fourteen years. Of good family, brought up in the rich plantation life on Nevis in the West Indies, she married a completely unknown naval captain in 1787. He was very unpopular locally, had no particular prospects, lived on his pay and was no 'catch' at all. Fanny was his loyal devoted wife - and his equally devoted widow - until she died in London in 1831 at the age of 70. Most biographers of Nelson have failed to give her more than a cursory glance, hypnotised as they have been by the dynamic sea captain and his mistress. Fanny was handsome, highly intelligent, well read, spoke excellent French, always dressed fashionably, painted watercolours better than most, and played the piano. She wrote entertaining letters, had a wide circle of friends, was presented at court and was a favourite with all the Lords of the Admiralty and their wives.
She lived a long and interesting life, in London, Bath, Paris and Devon. Although she failed to give Nelson a child, she did give him her son by her first marriage, Josiah Nisbet, to whom the Admiral was deeply attached. This is the strange story of a mother and her son and their intimate relationship with England's greatest naval hero.