My Lord Hamlet, Honored Lord, Noble Hamlet, Dearest Hamlet. Horatio hears his Lord the Prince called many titles by many people. Even is he called upon by the foolish maiden Ophelia with her knavish doting. Doubt not I love, he writes her...
Horatio thinks that in all of this lavishing formality it is just that which seems most lost. He prefers, in those quiet, fleeting moments when with the Prince he is alone, using the addressal of friend. The word can be said too, he thinks, with little importance as, once I knew a friend, or friend to the crown, or the usage of the term when meaning of colleague or scholar is more apt, but still he knows of another meaning.
To him the word is greatly more suited to accompany a careful caress, wherein my dearest friend can take meaning of doubt not I love.