The state funeral of Lord Nelson, 5-9 January 1806
|Bringing Nelson home|
Sadness at home
The British people were very sad when news of Nelson's death arrived on 6 November.
The Poet Laureate, Robert Southey, wrote 'men started at the intelligence and turned pale as if they had heard of the death of a dear friend'.
Immediately plans began to be made for a lavish state funeral.
Repairs to the 'Victory'
Meanwhile, the Victory, which had been badly damaged in the battle, arrived in Gibraltar for repairs.
She then sailed for home, arriving at Portsmouth on 4 December.
By then preparations for the funeral were well under way. But there was tension about who should take part.
For example, there was no plan to include the sailors of HMS Victory. Pressure from the popular press eventually forced an official change of mind.
There were also tensions among some of the public figures involved.
The Prince of Wales originally planned to attend in his official capacity. But the King forbade it, so he went as a private citizen.
Coffin fit for a hero
The Victory sailed from Portsmouth to the Nore, a naval anchorage at the mouth of the River Thames.
Later this plain coffin was placed inside a gilded casket with lavish decoration celebrating Nelson's life and victories.
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