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Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale

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Title: Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale  
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Subject: Edward VII, Alexandra of Denmark, Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, Earl of Athlone
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Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale

Prince Albert Victor
Duke of Clarence and Avondale
Photograph by William and Daniel Downey, 1891
Born 8 January 1864
Frogmore, Windsor, Berkshire
Died 14 January 1892 (aged 28)
Sandringham House, Norfolk
Burial 20 January 1892
Full name
Albert Victor Christian Edward
House House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Father Edward VII
Mother Alexandra of Denmark

Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale (Albert Victor Christian Edward; 8 January 1864 – 14 January 1892), was the eldest son of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), and the grandson of the reigning British monarch, Queen Victoria. From the time of his birth, he was second in the line of succession to the British throne, but never became king: he died before his father and his grandmother, the Queen.

Albert Victor was known to his family, and many later biographers, as "Eddy". When young, he travelled the world extensively as a King George V in 1910.

Albert Victor's intellect, sexuality and mental health have been the subject of much speculation. Rumours linked him with the Cleveland Street scandal, which involved a homosexual brothel, but there is no conclusive evidence verifying or disproving the rumours or his sexual orientation. Some authors have argued that he was the serial killer known as Jack the Ripper, but contemporary documents show that Albert Victor could not have been in London at the time of the murders, and the claim is widely dismissed.


  • Early life 1
    • Education 1.1
  • Cleveland Street scandal 2
  • Tour of India 3
  • Prospective brides 4
  • Death 5
  • Legacy 6
    • Fictional portrayals 6.1
  • Titles, styles, honours and arms 7
    • Titles and styles 7.1
    • Honours 7.2
      • Military 7.2.1
      • Honorary military appointments 7.2.2
    • Arms 7.3
  • Ancestry 8
  • Footnotes 9
  • References 10

Early life

The Prince and Princess of Wales, Albert Edward and Alexandra, with their new-born son, Albert Victor, 1864

Albert Victor was born two months prematurely on 8 January 1864 at Frogmore House, Windsor, Berkshire. He was the first child of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, and Alexandra, Princess of Wales (formerly Alexandra of Denmark). Following his grandmother Queen Victoria's wishes, he was named Albert Victor, after herself and her late husband Albert.[1] As a grandchild of the reigning British monarch in the male line, and a son of the Prince of Wales, he was formally styled His Royal Highness Prince Albert Victor of Wales from birth.

He was christened Albert Victor Christian Edward in the private chapel of Crown Princess of Prussia (his paternal aunt, for whom Princess Helena, her sister, stood proxy) and Prince Alfred (his paternal uncle).[2][3]


Albert Victor photographed by Alexander Bassano, 1875

When Albert Victor was just short of seventeen months old, his brother, John Neale Dalton as their tutor. The two princes were given a strict programme of study, which included games and military drills as well as academic subjects.[4] Dalton complained that Albert Victor's mind was "abnormally dormant".[5] Though he learned to speak Danish, progress in other languages and subjects was slow.[6] Sir Henry Ponsonby thought that Albert Victor might have inherited his mother's deafness.[7] Albert Victor never excelled intellectually. Possible physical explanations for Albert Victor's inattention or indolence in class include absence seizures or his premature birth, which can be associated with learning difficulties,[8] but Lady Geraldine Somerset blamed Albert Victor's poor education on Dalton, whom she considered uninspiring.[9]

Separating the brothers for the remainder of their education was considered, but Dalton advised the Prince of Wales against splitting them up as "Prince Albert Victor requires the stimulus of Prince George's company to induce him to work at all."[10] In 1877, the two boys were sent to the Royal Navy's training ship, HMS Britannia. They began their studies there two months behind the other cadets as Albert Victor contracted typhoid fever, for which he was treated by Sir William Gull.[11] Dalton accompanied them as chaplain to the ship. In 1879, after a great deal of discussion between the Queen, the Prince of Wales, their households and the Government, the royal brothers were sent as naval cadets on a three-year world tour aboard HMS Bacchante.[12] Albert Victor was rated midshipman on his sixteenth birthday.[13] They toured the British Empire, accompanied by Dalton, visiting the Americas, the Falkland Islands, South Africa, Australia, Fiji, the Far East, Singapore, Ceylon, Aden, Egypt, the Holy Land and Greece. They acquired tattoos in Japan. By the time they returned to Britain, Albert Victor was eighteen.[14]

The brothers were parted in 1883; George continued in the navy and Albert Victor attended Trinity College, Cambridge.[15] At Bachelor's Cottage, Sandringham, Albert Victor was expected to cram before arriving at university in the company of Dalton, French instructor Monsieur Hua, and a newly chosen tutor/companion James Kenneth Stephen.[16] Some biographers have said that Stephen was a misogynist, although this has recently been questioned,[17] and he may have felt emotionally attached to Albert Victor, but whether or not his feelings were overtly homosexual is open to question.[18] Stephen was initially optimistic about tutoring the prince, but by the time the party were to move to Cambridge had concluded, "I do not think he can possibly derive much benefit from attending lectures at Cambridge ... He hardly knows the meaning of the words to read".[19]

At the start of the new term in October, Albert Victor, Dalton, and Lieutenant Henderson from Bacchante moved to Nevile's Court at Trinity College, which was generally reserved for accommodating dons rather than students. The prince showed little interest in the intellectual atmosphere, and he was excused from examinations, though he did become involved in undergraduate life.[20] He was introduced to Oscar Browning, a noted don who gave parties and "made pets of those undergraduates who were handsome and attractive",[21] and became friendly with Dalton's godson, Alfred Fripp, who later became his doctor and royal surgeon. It is not known whether he had any sexual experiences at Cambridge, but partners of either sex would have been available.[22] In August 1884, he spent some time at Heidelberg University studying German, before returning to Cambridge.[20] Leaving Cambridge in 1885, where he had already served as a cadet in the 2nd Cambridge University Battalion, he was gazetted as an officer in the 10th Hussars.[23] In 1888, he was awarded an honorary degree by the university.[24]

British Royalty
House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Edward VII
Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale
George V
Louise, Princess Royal and Duchess of Fife
Princess Victoria
Maud, Queen of Norway
Prince Alexander John of Wales
Grandchildren in the female-line
Princess Alexandra, Duchess of Fife
Princess Maud, Countess of Southesk

One of Albert Victor's instructors said he learnt by listening rather than reading or writing and had no difficulty remembering information,[25] but [26] Princess Augusta of Cambridge was also dismissive, calling him: "si peu de chose".[27]

Much of Albert Victor's time at his post in Aldershot was spent drilling, which he disliked, though he did like to play polo.[28] He passed his examinations, and in March 1887, he was posted to Hounslow where he was promoted to captain. He was given more public engagements, visited Ireland and Gibraltar, and opened the Hammersmith suspension bridge.[29] Of his private life, a childhood friend of Albert Victor later recalled that it was uneventful: "his brother officers had said that they would like to make a man of the world of him. Into that world he refused to be initiated."[30]

Cleveland Street scandal

Albert Victor photographed by Bassano, c. 1888

In July 1889, the Metropolitan Police uncovered a male brothel operated by Charles Hammond in London's Cleveland Street. Under police interrogation, the male prostitutes and pimps revealed the names of their clients, who included Lord Arthur Somerset, an Extra Equerry to the Prince of Wales.[31] At the time, all homosexual acts between men were illegal, and the clients faced social ostracism, prosecution, and at worst, two years' imprisonment with hard labour.[32]

The resultant Cleveland Street scandal implicated other high-ranking figures in British society, and rumours swept upper-class London of the involvement of a member of the royal family, namely Prince Albert Victor.[33] The prostitutes had not named Albert Victor, and it is suggested that Somerset's solicitor, Arthur Newton, fabricated and spread the rumours to take the heat off his client.[34][35] Letters exchanged between the Treasury Solicitor, Sir Augustus Stephenson, and his assistant, Hamilton Cuffe, make coded reference to Newton's threats to implicate Albert Victor.[36]

The Prince of Wales intervened in the investigation; no clients were ever prosecuted and nothing against Albert Victor was proven.[37] Although there is no conclusive evidence for or against his involvement, or that he ever visited a homosexual club or brothel,[38] the rumours and cover-up have led some biographers to speculate that he did visit Cleveland Street,[39] and that he was "possibly bisexual, probably homosexual".[40] This is contested by other commentators, one of whom refers to him as "ardently heterosexual" and his involvement in the rumours as "somewhat unfair".[41] The historian H. Montgomery Hyde wrote, "There is no evidence that he was homosexual, or even bisexual."[42]

Somerset's sister, Lady Waterford, denied that her brother knew anything about Albert Victor. She wrote, "I am sure the boy is as straight as a line ... Arthur does not the least know how or where the boy spends his time ... he believes the boy to be perfectly innocent."[43] Lady Waterford, however, also believed Somerset's protestations of his own innocence.[44] In surviving private letters to his friend Lord Esher, Somerset denies knowing anything directly about Albert Victor, but confirms that he has heard the rumours, and hopes that they will help quash any prosecution. He wrote, "I can quite understand the Prince of Wales being much annoyed at his son's name being coupled with the thing but that was the case before I left it ... we were both accused of going to this place but not together ... they will end by having out in open court exactly what they are all trying to keep quiet. I wonder if it is really a fact or only an invention of that arch ruffian H[ammond]."[45] He continued, "I have never mentioned the boy's name except to Probyn, Montagu and Knollys when they were acting for me and I thought they ought to know. Had they been wise, hearing what I knew and therefore what others knew, they ought to have hushed the matter up, instead of stirring it up as they did, with all the authorities."[46]

The rumours persisted; sixty years later the official biographer of King George V, Harold Nicolson, was told by Lord Goddard, who was a twelve-year-old schoolboy at the time of the scandal, that Albert Victor "had been involved in a male brothel scene, and that a solicitor had to commit perjury to clear him. The solicitor was struck off the rolls for his offence, but was thereafter reinstated."[47] In fact, none of the lawyers in the case was convicted of perjury or struck off during the scandal, but Somerset's solicitor, Arthur Newton, was convicted of obstruction of justice for helping his clients escape abroad, and was sentenced to six weeks in prison. Over twenty years later in 1910, Newton was struck off for twelve months for professional misconduct after falsifying letters from another of his clients, the notorious murderer Dr Crippen.[48] In 1913, Newton was struck off indefinitely and sentenced to three years imprisonment for obtaining money by false pretences.[49]

Tour of India

Sketch of Albert Victor by Christian Wilhelm Allers, 1887

The foreign press suggested that Albert Victor was sent on a seven-month tour of British India from October 1889 to avoid the gossip which swept London society in the wake of the scandal.[50] This is not true;[51] the trip had actually been planned since the spring.[52] Travelling via Athens, Port Said, Cairo and Aden, Albert Victor arrived in Bombay on 9 November 1889.[53] He was entertained sumptuously in Hyderabad by the Nizam,[54] and elsewhere by many other maharajahs.[55] He spent Christmas at Mandalay and the New Year at Calcutta. Most of the extensive travelling was done by train,[56] although elephants were ridden as part of ceremonies.[57] In the style of the time, a great many animals were shot for sport.[58]

During the trip, Albert Victor met Mrs. Margery Haddon, the wife of a civil engineer, Henry Haddon. After several failed marriages and Albert Victor's death, Margery came to England and claimed the Prince was the father of her son, Clarence Haddon. There was no evidence and her claims were dismissed. She had become an alcoholic and seemed deranged. The allegations were reported to Buckingham Palace and the head of the police Special Branch investigated. Papers in the National Archives show that neither courtiers nor Margery had any proof of the allegation. In a statement to police, Albert Victor's lawyers admitted that there had been "some relations" between him and Mrs. Haddon, but denied the claim of fatherhood.[59]

In the 1920s, however, the son, Clarence, repeated the story and published a book in the United States, My Uncle George V, in which he claimed he was born in London in September 1890, about nine months after Albert Victor's meeting with Mrs. Haddon. In 1933, he was charged with demanding money with menace and attempted extortion after writing to the King asking for hush money. At his trial the following January, the prosecution produced documents showing that Haddon's enlistment papers, marriage certificate, officer's commission, demobilisation papers and employment records all showed he was born in or before 1887, at least two years before Albert Victor met Mrs. Haddon. Haddon was found guilty and the judge, believing Haddon to be suffering from delusions, did not jail him but bound him over for three years on the condition that he made no claim that he was Albert Victor's son.[60] Haddon breached the conditions and was jailed for a year. Dismissed as a crank, he died a broken man. Even if Haddon's claim had been true, as with other royal illegitimacies, it would have made no difference to the royal line of succession.[59]

On his return from India, Albert Victor was created Duke of Clarence and Avondale and Earl of Athlone on 24 May 1890, Queen Victoria's 71st birthday.[61]

Prospective brides

Young Mary in a tightly-corseted dress
Princess Mary of Teck, Albert Victor's fiancée, photographed by James Lafayette, 1893

Several women were lined up as possible brides for Albert Victor. The first, in 1889, was his cousin, Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine, but she did not return his affection and refused his offer of engagement.[62][63] She later married Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, another of Albert Victor's cousins, in 1894. The second, in 1890, was a love match with Princess Hélène of Orléans, a daughter of Prince Philippe, Count of Paris, a pretender to the French throne who was living in England after being banished from France in 1886.[64]

At first, Queen Victoria opposed any engagement because Hélène was Roman Catholic. Victoria wrote to her grandson suggesting another of her grandchildren, Princess Margaret of Prussia, as a suitable alternative,[65] but nothing came of her suggestion, and once the couple confided their love to her, the Queen relented and supported the marriage.[66][67] Hélène offered to convert,[68] and Albert Victor offered to renounce his succession rights to marry her.[66] To the couple's disappointment, her father refused to countenance the marriage and was adamant she could not convert. Hélène travelled personally to intercede with Pope Leo XIII but he confirmed her father's verdict, and the courtship ended.[69] She later became the Duchess of Aosta.

In mid-1890, Albert Victor was attended by several doctors, but in correspondence his illness is only referred to as "fever" or "

  • Aronson, Theo (1994). Prince Eddy and the Homosexual Underworld. London: John Murray. ISBN 0-7195-5278-8.
  • Bradford, Sarah (1989). King George VI. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 0-297-79667-4.
  • Cook, Andrew (2006). Prince Eddy: The King Britain Never Had. Stroud, Gloucestershire: Tempus Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-7524-3410-1.
  • Cornwell, Patricia (2003). Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper Case Closed. London: Time Warner Paperbacks. ISBN 0-7515-3359-9.
  • Duff, David (1980). Alexandra: Princess and Queen. London: Collins. ISBN 0-00-216667-4.
  • Harrison, Michael (1972). Clarence: The life of H.R.H. the Duke of Clarence and Avondale (1864–1892). London and New York: W. H. Allen. ISBN 0-491-00722-1.
  • Hyde, H. Montgomery (1970). The Other Love: An Historical and Contemporary Survey of Homosexuality in Britain. London: Heinemann. ISBN 0-434-35902-5.
  • Hyde, H. Montgomery (1976). The Cleveland Street Scandal. London: W. H. Allen. ISBN 0-491-01995-5.
  • Knight, Stephen (1976). Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution. New York: McKay. ISBN 0-679-50711-6.
  • Lees-Milne, James (1981). Harold Nicolson: A Biography. Volume 2: 1930–1968 London: Chatto & Windus. ISBN 0-7011-2602-7.
  • Marriott, Trevor (2005). Jack the Ripper: The 21st Century Investigation. London: John Blake. ISBN 1-84454-103-7.
  • McDonald, Deborah (2007). The Prince, His Tutor and the Ripper. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Co. ISBN 978-0-7864-3018-5.
  • Meikle, Denis (2002). Jack the Ripper: The Murders and the Movies. Richmond, Surrey: Reynolds and Hearn Ltd. ISBN 1-903111-32-3.
  • Neubecker, Ottfried (1976). Heraldry: sources, symbols and meaning. New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-046308-5.
  • Nicolson, Harold (1952). King George the Fifth: His Life and Reign. London: Constable.
  • Pope-Hennessy, James (1959). Queen Mary: 1867–1953. London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd.
  • Rumbelow, Donald (2004). The Complete Jack the Ripper: Fully Revised and Updated Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-017395-1.
  • Van der Kiste, John (September 2004; online edition January 2008). "Albert Victor, Prince, duke of Clarence and Avondale (1864–1892)" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press. Accessed 1 May 2010. (Subscription required)


  1. ^ Cook, pp. 28–29.
  2. ^ Demoskoff, Yvonne (27 December 2005). "Yvonne's Royalty Home Page: Royal Christenings". Accessed 1 May 2010.
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 22832. p. 1535. 14 March 1864.
  4. ^ Nicolson, pp. 7–9.
  5. ^ Letter from Dalton in the Royal Archives, 6 April 1879, quoted in Cook, p. 52.
  6. ^ Cook, pp. 52, 56–57; Harrison, pp. 68–69.
  7. ^ Aronson, p. 54; Harrison, p. 34.
  8. ^ Aronson, pp. 53–54; Harrison, p. 35.
  9. ^ Aronson, p. 74.
  10. ^ Nicolson, pp. 12–13.
  11. ^ Cook, p. 62; Harrison, p. 37.
  12. ^ Cook, pp. 70–72.
  13. ^ Cook, p. 79.
  14. ^ Cook, pp. 79–94; Harrison, pp. 41–56.
  15. ^ Cook, p. 98; Harrison, p. 72; "Clarence and Avondale, H.R.H. Albert Victor Christian Edward, afterwards Duke of Clarence and Avondale (CLRN883AV)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  16. ^ Aronson, pp. 64–67; Cook, pp. 101–104.
  17. ^ McDonald, pp. 130, 183, 204.
  18. ^ Aronson, pp. 66–67.
  19. ^ Cook p. 103, quoting from correspondence in the Royal archives Z 474/63.
  20. ^ a b Cook, pp. 104–111.
  21. ^ Cook p. 107.
  22. ^ Aronson, p. 73.
  23. ^ Cook, pp. 119–120.
  24. ^ Cook p. 140.
  25. ^ Major Miles quoted in Aronson, p. 81, Cook, p. 123 and Harrison, p. 92.
  26. ^ Harrison, p. 90.
  27. ^ Hitchens, Christopher (8 November 1990). "How's The Vampire". London Review of Books. Volume 12, issue 21, p. 12.
  28. ^ Pope-Hennessy, p. 192.
  29. ^ Cook, p. 135.
  30. ^ Rev. William Rogers quoted in Bullock, Charles (1892). "Prince Edward: A Memory", p. 53, quoted by Aronson, pp. 80–81.
  31. ^ Cook, pp. 16, 172–173.
  32. ^ Hyde, The Other Love, pp. 5, 92–93, 134–136.
  33. ^ Hyde, The Other Love, p. 123.
  34. ^ Channel 4. "The monarchs we never had: Prince Albert Victor (1864–1892)". Accessed 1 May 2010.
  35. ^ Cook, Andrew (1 November 2005) "The King Who Never Was" History Today #11.
  36. ^ Aronson, p. 34; Cook, pp. 172–173; Hyde, The Cleveland Street Scandal, p. 55.
  37. ^ Howard, Philip (11 March 1975). "Victorian Scandal Revealed". The Times. Issue 59341, p. 1, col. G.
  38. ^ a b c Aronson, p. 117.
  39. ^ Aronson, p. 170.
  40. ^ Aronson, p. 217.
  41. ^ a b Bradford, p. 10.
  42. ^ Hyde, The Cleveland Street Scandal, p. 56.
  43. ^ Blanche Beresford, Marchioness of Waterford to Reginald Brett, 2nd Viscount Esher, 31 December 1889, quoted in Aronson, p. 168 and Cook, pp. 196, 200.
  44. ^ Aronson, p. 168
  45. ^ Lord Arthur Somerset to Reginald Brett, 2nd Viscount Esher, 10 December 1889, quoted in Cook, p. 197.
  46. ^ Lord Arthur Somerset to Reginald Brett, 2nd Viscount Esher, 10 December 1889, quoted in Aronson, p. 170, Cook, pp. 199–200 and Hyde, The Cleveland Street Scandal, p. 122.
  47. ^ Lees-Milne, p. 231.
  48. ^ Cook, pp. 284–285.
  49. ^ Cook, pp. 285–286; Hyde, The Cleveland Street Scandal, p. 253.
  50. ^ e.g. The New York Times (10 November 1889) quoted in Cook, p. 195.
  51. ^ Aronson, p. 147.
  52. ^ Aronson, pp. 128, 147; Cook, p. 202.
  53. ^ Aronson, p. 147; Cook, p. 191.
  54. ^ Cook, pp. 192–194.
  55. ^ Cook, pp. 204–205, 211–212.
  56. ^ Cook, p. 205.
  57. ^ Cook, p. 207.
  58. ^ Cook, pp. 205–208; Harrison, pp. 212–214.
  59. ^ a b Day, Peter and Ungoed-Thomas, John (27 November 2005) "Royal cover-up of illegitimate son revealed". The Sunday Times. Times Online. Accessed 1 May 2010.
  60. ^ "Letters to the King: Haddon bound over". (20 January 1934) The Times. Issue 46657, p. 7, col. C.
  61. ^ Aronson, p. 181.
  62. ^ Albert Victor writing to Prince Louis of Battenberg, 6 September 1889 and 7 October 1889, quoted in Cook, pp. 157–159, 183–185.
  63. ^ Queen Victoria writing to Victoria, Princess Royal, 7 May 1890, quoted in Pope-Hennessy, p. 196.
  64. ^ Pope-Hennessy, p. 196.
  65. ^ Queen Victoria writing to Albert Victor, 19 May 1890, quoted in Pope-Hennessy, pp. 196–197.
  66. ^ a b Albert Victor writing to his brother, George, quoted in Pope-Hennessy, p. 198.
  67. ^ Queen Victoria and Arthur Balfour writing to Lord Salisbury, late August 1890, quoted in Cook, pp. 224–225.
  68. ^ Pope-Hennessy, p. 197.
  69. ^ Pope-Hennessy, p. 199.
  70. ^ See e.g. Aronson, p. 197 and Cook, pp. 221, 230.
  71. ^ Aronson, p. 199.
  72. ^ Cook p. 134
  73. ^ Cook, p. 222.
  74. ^ "Adventures Of A Gaiety Girl" (7 April 1900). Auckland Star. Vol. XXXI, issue 83, p. 13
  75. ^ Cornwell, pp. 135–136.
  76. ^ Alleyne, Richard (29 October 2007). "History of royal scandals". Daily Telegraph. Accessed 1 May 2010.
  77. ^ Cook, pp. 297–298.
  78. ^ Albert Victor writing to Lady Sybil Erskine, 21 June 1891, 28 June 1891 and 29 November 1891, quoted in Pope-Hennessy, pp. 199–200.
  79. ^ Queen Victoria writing to Victoria, Princess Royal, 12 November 1891 and 19 November 1891, quoted in Pope-Hennessy, p. 207.
  80. ^ Diary of Mary of Teck, quoted in Pope-Hennessy, p. 210.
  81. ^ Aronson, p. 206.
  82. ^ Official statement of Sir Dighton Probyn released to the press and quoted in many newspapers, e.g. "The Death of the Duke of Clarence: Description of His Last Hours". (15 January 1892). The Times. Issue 33535, p. 9, col. F.
  83. ^ Pope-Hennessy, p. 223.
  84. ^ Quoted in Harrison, p. 237.
  85. ^ Mary of Teck writing to Queen Victoria, quoted in Pope-Hennessy, p. 226.
  86. ^ Nicolson, p. 46.
  87. ^ Aronson, p. 212.
  88. ^ Duff, p. 184.
  89. ^ Pope-Hennessy, p. 226.
  90. ^ Aronson, p. 105; Cook, p. 281; Harrison, p. 238.
  91. ^ a b Roskill, Mark (1968). "Alfred Gilbert's Monument to the Duke of Clarence: A Study in the Sources of Later Victorian Sculpture." The Burlington Magazine. Vol. 110 Issue 789, pp. 699–704.
  92. ^ St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle (2008). "Albert Memorial Chapel". Accessed 28 March 2008.
  93. ^ Henry Broadhurst, 1901, quoted in Cook, p. 100.
  94. ^ Matthew, H. C. G. (editor) (1994). The Gladstone Diaries, 14 January 1892, Volume XIII, p. 3. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-820464-7.
  95. ^ Quoted in Pope-Hennessy, p. 194.
  96. ^ Aronson, p. 119.
  97. ^ Aronson, p. 116.
  98. ^ Cook, p. 8; Meikle, p. 177.
  99. ^ Time (9 November 1970). "Who Was Jack the Ripper?". Time Magazine. Accessed 1 May 2010.
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  101. ^ Marriott, pp. 267–269.
  102. ^ Aronson, pp. 213–217; Cook, p. 10; McDonald pp. 193–199.
  103. ^ Magnus, Philip (1964). King Edward the Seventh, p. 239, quoted in Van der Kiste.
  104. ^ Harrison, book cover.
  105. ^ Cook, Andrew (2005). "The King Who Never Was". History Today. Vol. 55 Issue 11, pp. 40–48.
  106. ^ Meikle, pp. 224–234.
  107. ^ Dickinson, Peter (1976). King and Joker. London: Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 978-0-340-20700-0.
    *Dickinson, Peter (1990). Skeleton-in-Waiting. New York: Pantheon Books. ISBN 978-0-394-58002-9.
  108. ^ In: Kurland, Michael (ed.) (2004). Sherlock Holmes: The Hidden Years. pp. 302–335. St. Martin's Minotaur. ISBN 978-0-312-31513-9.
  109. ^ Dickinson, David (2002). Goodnight Sweet Prince. New York: Carroll & Graf. ISBN 978-0-7867-0945-8.
  110. ^ The London Gazette: no. 26254. p. 603. 4 February 1892.
  111. ^ a b c d e f g Cokayne, G.E.; Gibbs, Vicary; Doubleday, H. A. (1913). The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, London: St. Catherine's Press, Vol. III, p. 262.
  112. ^ The London Gazette: no. 26064. p. 3517. 24 June 1890.
  113. ^ The London Gazette: no. 26090. p. 5091. 23 September 1890.
  114. ^ The London Gazette: no. 26134. p. 815. 13 February 1891.
  115. ^ C. Digby Planck. The Shiny Seventh: History of the 7th (City of London) Battalion London Regiment. London: Old Comrades' Association, 1946/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2002. ISBN 1-84342-366-9.
  116. ^ Neubecker, p. 96.



With his dukedom, Albert Victor was granted a coat of arms, being the royal arms of the United Kingdom, differenced by an inescutcheon of the arms of Saxony and a label of three points argent, the centre point bearing a cross gules.[116]


  • Honorary Colonel, 4th Regiment, Bengal Infantry[112]
  • Honorary Colonel, 4th Bombay Cavalry[113]
  • Honorary Colonel, 1st Punjab Cavalry[114]
  • Honorary Colonel, Third City of London Rifle Volunteer Corps (7th (City of London) Battalion, London Regiment) 1890–92[115]


Honorary military appointments

Prince Albert Victor's coat of arms


Foreign Honours[111]

British Honours[111]


The Duke of Clarence's full style, as proclaimed at his funeral by Garter King of Arms was: "[the] Most High, Mighty, and Illustrious Prince Albert Victor Christian Edward, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, Earl of Athlone, Duke of Saxony, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight of the Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick".[110]

  • 8 January 1864 – 24 May 1890: His Royal Highness Prince Albert Victor of Wales
  • 24 May 1890 – 14 January 1892: His Royal Highness The Duke of Clarence and Avondale

Titles and styles

Titles, styles, honours and arms

A pair of alternative history novels King and Joker (1976) and Skeleton in Waiting (1990), written by Peter Dickinson, are the adventures of a fictitious royal family descended from an Albert Victor who survived and reigned as King Victor I.[107] In Gary Lovisi's parallel universe Sherlock Holmes pastiche, "The Adventure of the Missing Detective", Albert Victor is portrayed as a tyrannical king, who rules after the deaths (in suspicious circumstances) of both his grandmother and father.[108] The Prince also appears as the murder victim in the first of the Lord Francis Powerscourt crime novels Goodnight Sweet Prince,[109] and as a murder suspect in the novel Death at Glamis Castle by Robin Paige. In both The Bloody Red Baron (volume 2 of Anno Dracula series) by Kim Newman and the novel I, Vampire by Michael Romkey, he has become a vampire. In the former, he is the British monarch during World War I. The DC Comics production Wonder Woman: Amazonia from the Elseworlds subseries, has "Eddy" as a minor character in a steampunk alternate history of the Jack the Ripper legend, with Wonder Woman inserted into the mix.

The conspiracy theories surrounding Albert Victor have led to his portrayal in film as somehow responsible for or involved in the Jack the Ripper murders. Bob Clark's Sherlock Holmes mystery Murder by Decree was released in 1979 with "Duke of Clarence (Eddy)" played by Robin Marshall. Jack the Ripper was released in 1988 with Marc Culwick as Prince Albert Victor. Samuel West played "Prince Eddy" in The Ripper (1997) and Albert Victor as a child (with Jerome Watts and Charles Dance playing the character at older ages) in the TV miniseries Edward the Seventh, which starred West's father Timothy West as the title character. The Hughes brothers' From Hell was based on the graphic novel of the same name by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell, and was released in 2001. Mark Dexter portrayed both "Prince Edward" and "Albert Sickert". The story, based largely on the same sources as Murder by Decree, is also the basis for the play Force and Hypocrisy by Doug Lucie.[106]

Fictional portrayals

[105] Albert Victor's posthumous reputation became so bad that in 1964

Rumours that Prince Albert Victor may have committed, or been responsible for, the Jack the Ripper murders were first mentioned in print in 1962.[98][99] It was later alleged, amongst others by Stephen Knight in Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution, that Albert Victor fathered a child with a woman in the Whitechapel district of London, and either he or several high-ranking men committed the murders in an effort to cover up his indiscretion. Though such claims have been repeated frequently, scholars have dismissed them as fantasies, and refer to indisputable proof of the Prince's innocence.[100] For example, on 30 September 1888, when Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes were murdered in London, Albert Victor was over 500 miles (over 800 km) away at Balmoral, the royal retreat in Scotland, in the presence of Queen Victoria, other family members, visiting German royalty and a large number of staff. According to the official Court Circular, family journals and letters, newspaper reports and other sources, he could not have been near any of the murders.[101] Other fanciful conspiracy theories are that he died of syphilis or poison, that he was pushed off a cliff on the instructions of Lord Randolph Churchill or that his death was faked to remove him from the line of succession.[102]

During his life, the bulk of the British press treated Albert Victor with nothing but respect and the eulogies that immediately followed his death were full of praise. The radical politician, James Pope-Hennessy and Harold Nicolson respectively, promoted hostile assessments of Albert Victor's life, portraying him as lazy, ill-educated and physically feeble. The exact nature of his "dissipations" is not clear, but in 1994 Theo Aronson favoured the theory on "admittedly circumstantial" evidence that the "unspecified 'dissipations' were predominantly homosexual".[38] Aronson's judgement was based on Albert Victor's "adoration of his elegant and possessive mother; his 'want of manliness'; his 'shrinking from horseplay'; [and] his 'sweet, gentle, quiet and charming' nature",[38] as well as the Cleveland Street rumours and his opinion that there is "a certain amount of homosexuality in all men".[96] He admitted, however, that "the allegations of Prince Eddy's homosexuality must be treated cautiously."[97]

Caricature of Albert Victor published in Vanity Fair, 1888


Albert Victor's mother, Alexandra, never fully recovered from her son's death and kept the room in which he died as a shrine.[88] At the funeral, Mary laid her bridal wreath of orange blossom upon the coffin.[89] Alfred Gilbert, is "the finest single example of late 19th-century sculpture in the British Isles".[91] A recumbent effigy of the Prince in a Hussar uniform (almost impossible to see properly in situ) lies above the tomb. Kneeling over him is an angel, holding a heavenly crown. The tomb is surrounded by an elaborate railing, with figures of saints.[92] The perfectionist Gilbert spent too much on the commission, went bankrupt, and left the country. Five of the smaller figures were only completed with "a greater roughness and pittedness of texture" after his return to Britain in the 1920s.[91]

[87] George took Albert Victor's place in the [86] His younger brother Prince George wrote, "how deeply I did love him; & I remember with pain nearly every hard word & little quarrel I ever had with him & I long to ask his forgiveness, but, alas, it is too late now!"[85] Princess Mary wrote to Queen Victoria of the Princess of Wales, "the despairing look on her face was the most heart-rending thing I have ever seen."[84] The nation was shocked. Shops put up their shutters. The Prince of Wales wrote to Queen Victoria, "Gladly would I have given my life for his".

Just as plans for both his marriage to Mary and his appointment as Francis Laking and William Broadbent) and three nurses were present.[82] The Prince of Wales's chaplain, Canon Frederick Hervey, stood over Albert Victor reading prayers for the dying.[83]

Royal family group
Albert Victor's family illustrated in 1891 (based on a photograph from 1889): (left to right) Prince Albert Victor, Princess Victoria


In 1891, Albert Victor wrote to Lady Sybil St Clair Erskine that he was in love once again, though he does not say with whom,[78] but by this time another potential bride, Princess Mary of Teck, was under consideration. Mary was the daughter of Queen Victoria's first cousin Princess Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck. Queen Victoria was very supportive, considering Mary ideal—charming, sensible and pretty.[79] On 3 December 1891 Albert Victor, to Mary's "great surprise", proposed to her at Luton Hoo, the country residence of the Danish ambassador to Britain.[80] The wedding was set for 27 February 1892.[81]


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