Prince Albert Victor|
Duke of Clarence and Avondale, Earl of Athlone
(January 8, 1864 - January 14, 1892) U.K.
Eldest son of Edward VII
He was "slow" - his tutors said he seemed to barely know the meaning of the word read - and he was involved in several homosexual scandals that were immediately hushed up. For instance, in the Cleveland Street scandal of 1889 in which a brothel supplied post office messanger boys to the aristrocracy, Prince Albert Victor ("Eddie"), was linked to the brothel.
Prince Albert Victor 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 - perhaps even somewhat retarded, 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.
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, with whom he was in love and had a long and happy marriage. Prince George succeeded to the throne as George V.
The official biography of Queen Mary by James Pope-Hennessy euphemistically stated that Prince Eddy's private life was "dissipated". The official biographer of George V, Harold Nicholson, stated in his diaries that it appeared that Prince Eddy had been involved in a major scandal and there had been a cover-up at the highest levels.
What is now clear is that this concerned Prince Eddy's involvement in the Cleveland Street Scandal of 1889 - the exposure of a "rentboy" brothel in central London's Cleveland Street patronised by gentlemen and aristocrats. The release of Public Record Office police papers in 1975 concerning the case, and more importantly, the publication of the letters of one of the other participants in the scandal, Lord Arthur Somerset, have confirmed the Prince's involvement beyond reasonable doubt.
Prince Eddy officially died of pneumonia on January 14, 1892. However many rumours and conspiracy theories suggest alternatives. One theory believes that he actually died of syphilis. Another claims that he died of a morphine overdose, deliberately administered to him. Yet another claims that he survived until the 1920s in an asylum on the Isle of Wight and that his death was faked to remove him from the line of succession.