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Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence

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Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, Earl of Athlone (January 8, 1864 - January 14, 1892) was born Albert Victor Christian Edward in Windsor, England, the eldest son of the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII) and Alexandra of Denmark, and was therefore the second in line to the throne of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Born two months premature, he was of limited intellect, and when he reached young adulthood his dandyism earned him the nickname Prince Collar and Cuffs. He was known to his family as Eddy.

Prince Eddy and his brother George served as Naval cadets on the HMS Bacchante until 1883, after which Eddy was sent to Trinity College, Cambridge. However, the Prince showed no ability as a student, and in 1885 he was sent to join the Army, in the Tenth Hussars Cavalry Regiment.

It is known that Eddy had a dissipated private life, and that he was once caught in a police raid on the male brothel in Cleveland Street in 1889, but the more scandalous alleged details are known only from Knight's (see below) report of the testimony of Joseph Sickert, son of the painter Walter Sickert. Eddy's mother, Princess Alexandra, knew Walter, as both were from Denmark, and introduced the two men in the hope that Walter would teach Eddy about London social life.

Joseph claimed that the Prince was bisexual, and that Walter and a local girl Mary Kelly witnessed the Prince's marriage in 1885 to a shop girl named Annie Crook, with whom he had a daughter, Alice Margaret Crook. Claims that a desire to hide this purported marriage might motivate a series of killings often fail to consider the fact that such a marriage would have been invalid under British law, and any child of such a marriage would not be in line for the throne. Alice later became Walter Sickert's mistress and therefore Joseph's mother. None of Joseph's claims, which also implicate the Royal Family in the Jack the Ripper murders, have been substantiated.

Three women were lined up as possible brides for the Prince. The first, in 1889, was Princess Alix of Hesse (future Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia), who did not return Eddy's affection. The second, in 1890, was Princess Helene of Orleans, whom Eddy also loved, but the engagement had to be cancelled when Helene (the great-granddaughter of the last King of the French) declined to give up her Roman Catholic faith.

Finally, Eddy became engaged to Princess Mary of Teck (also known as Princess May), but before the marriage could take place he died of pneumonia at Sandringham House in Norfolk. He was 28 years old and unmarried, and his death left his younger brother, Prince George, heir to the throne. George married Eddy's fiancée and succeeded to the throne as George V.

References

  • Aronson, Theo: Prince Eddy and the Homosexual Underworld
  • Knight, Stephen: Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution
  • Sams, Ed: Victoria's Dark Secrets



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