The Forbidden Love of Charles Dickens

Dickens met the Ternan family of actresses, Maria, Fanny, Ellen, and their widowed mother, Frances, during rehearsals for Wilkie Collins’ play The Frozen Deep in August 1857. The forty-five-year-old Dickens became besotted with the youngest of the sisters, eighteen-year-old Ellen Ternan, called Nelly. Dickens managed to weather the rumors and remain attached to Nelly until his death in 1870. When Dickens’ will was published in the press it revealed that he had left Nelly £1000, spurring more controversy.

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