A cleaner, sweeter bed-fellow does not exist. – Greville’s letter praising Emma to Lord Hamilton
When Mandy Rice-Davies compared herself to Lady Hamilton, Lord Nelson’s mistress, it is doubtful that any of the reporters who made her famous for the reference had any confusion about what she meant. But the 1960s were a more sexually honest time than our own, and nowadays writers are even more likely to prevaricate about Lady Hamilton’s harlotry than they are about Rice-Davies’; a BBC article on the famous affair even goes so far as to say that “[Nelson and Hamilton] had fallen out of love with their partners”, as if the Lady had married her patron due to “falling in love” in the first place. In fact, there’s another modern term for the way they came to be together, more pejorative even than “prostitution”; read on and you’ll see what I mean.
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