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Lord Arthur Pelham Clinton
(June 23, 1840 - June 18, 1870) U.K.

Pelham Clinton

Member of Parliament


The two drag queens Ernest Boulton and Frederick Park, known as Franny and Stella, were arrested outside the Strand Theatre in 1870. However, in a trial it was revealed that Stella's lover was the Member of Parliament, Lord Arthur Pelham Clinton, and the case collapsed.

Boulton and Park were initially arrested for appearing in public in women's clothes, a misdemeanour, but after a police surgeon examined them they were charged with "conspiracy to commit a felony" (i.e. sodomy).

Pelham Clinton
Arthur Pelham-Clinton (seated), with Thomas Boulton and Fredrick Park

Lord Arthur Pelham Clinton was the third son of the Duke of Newcastle. Boulton told others "I am Lady Clinton, Lord Arthur's wife," and showed the wedding ring on his finger. Lord Arthur lodged near him, paid for Stella's hairdresser who came every morning, and had ordered from the stationers a seal engraved "Stella" and even visiting cards printed "Lady Arthur Clinton."

There are theatre posters of Lord Arthur and Boulton performing together in the play A Morning Call in which Lord Arthur played Sir Edward Arnold and Boulton played Mrs Chillington, and in Love and Rain, in which Lord Arthur played Captain Charles Lumley and Boulton played Lady Jane Desmond, a Young Widow.

Lord Arthur's name was on the original indictment, but he died, age thirty, before the case came to court, reportedly from scarlet fever exacerbated by anxiety (but in fact suicide).


Source: excerpts from: My Dear Boy: Love Letters through the Centuries (1998), Edited by Rictor Norton

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