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Nelson’s First Love: Fanny’s Story

By Patrick Delaforce

Nelson is one of England’s most famous men, but little is written of his wife of fourteen years, Lady Frances ‘Fanny’ Nelson, Duchess of Bronte, until now.

Raised on a plantation in the West Indies, she married an unknown naval captain in 1787. He was unpopular with no prospects, an undesirable match. Yet Fanny was his devoted wife and widow until her death at the age of 70 in 1831. 

Largely ignored by biographers, Fanny was intelligent, well read and skilled in French, painting and the piano. She was also a favourite at court and amongst the Lords of the Admiralty. 

In this comprehensive biography Patrick Delaforce stakes Fanny’s claim to a place in history. This is a story of a remarkable woman and her intimate relationship with England’s greatest naval hero. 

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