This text is from the E-book Jack the Ripper: A Suspect Guide by Christopher J. Morley (2005). Click here to return to the table of contents. The text is unedited, and any errors or omissions rest with the author. Our thanks go out to Christopher J. Morley for his permission to publish his E-book.
Albert Victor Edward Duke of Clarence
Bertie's son, Albert Victor Christian Edward, known as Eddy, was born 8th January 1864 at Frogmore House Windsor. Queen Victoria decided that the boy should be named Albert, after her beloved late husband, much to the dismay of his parents. At the christening the Queen, once again dressed in deepest mourning. Eddy was no stranger to scandal and gossip throughout his life, and was reputed, while at Cambridge, to have conducted relationships with both sexes. Author Michael Harrison wonders if there might have been a homosexual relationship between Eddy and James Kenneth Stephen. While there is no direct evidence to support this claim, it does remain a possibility. A poem written by Stephen under the euphemism 'Sucking Peppermints', does hint at such a relationship, though is rather vague.
See where the K in sturdy self reliance, thoughtful and placid as a brooding dove, stands firmly sucking in the cause of science, just such a peppermint as schoolboys love. Suck placid K the world will they debtor, though they eyes water and thine heart grow faint. Suck and the less thou likest it the better. Suck for our sake and utter no complaint.
Eddy, by all accounts was a slow child, considered educationally subnormal, it was reported that he could not concentrate for more than a few minutes at a time. Without any proper education he grew up to be described as a rather dull adult. In 1877, at the age of thirteen, he sailed with his younger brother George on the naval training ship Britannia, it was hoped travel might stimulate his desire for education. While George developed a natural passion for the sea and decided on a naval career, Eddy displayed no such aptitude and continued his education on land. He was tutored at Cambridge between 1883/85 by James Kenneth Stephen, who was himself also a Ripper suspect. Eddy's dandyism earned him the nickname 'collars and cuffs' on account of the high starched collars he wore to cover an unusually long thin neck. He was also, due to an hereditary condition from his mothers side of the family, partially deaf.
In an attempt to mask these insecurities and to portray his public image as being more masculine, he took up hunting and joined the Tenth Hussars Cavalry Regiment, where he gained the rank of major. Pictures from this period often depicted him in the uniform of the Tenth Hussars. It has been claimed that he was known at several homosexual establishments, and was also a regular visitor at 19 Cleveland street, which was a homosexual brothel. The release in 1975, of Public Record Office police papers, and more importantly the publication of the letters of Lord Arthur Somerset, one of the principle players in the Cleveland Street affair, clearly show a cover up had taken place, and that the prince was involved beyond a reasonable doubt in the 1889 Scandal.
Eddy was made the Duke Of Clarence and Avondale and Earl of Athlone in 1891, and in December of that year became engaged to Princess Mary Of Teck, later to become Queen Mary after marrying his younger brother George.
He died of pneumonia at Sandringham House on 14 January 1892, during the flu epidemic which swept the country, he was 28 years old.
The suggestion that Eddy was Jack the Ripper was first made in 1962 by Phillipe Jullien, in the book Edouard V II (Edward And The Edwardians). Jullien made a reference to rumours that Eddy and the Duke of Bedford were responsible for the murders, though did not say which Duke of Bedford was actually involved. It was an article by Dr Thomas Stowell, writing in the Criminologist in November 1970 which caused a sensation. Stowell apparently used the private papers of Sir William Gull as his source material, and pointed the finger of suspicion at Eddy without actually naming him, instead using the letter 'S' when referring to his suspect. Stowell claims 'S' was nicknamed 'collar and cuffs' and was heir to power and wealth, the article went on to say.
'The killer was a gentleman who had contracted syphilis in his youth, and now in the final stages of the illness suffered delusions. He became sadistically aroused when watching deer being dressed, and when his warped sexual passion exploded committed the murders. He was assisted by the authorities who helped to conceal it from the public'.
Stowell goes on to claim that the royal family knew that Eddy was Jack the Ripper, for definite, after the second murder, but made no attempt to restrain him until after the double event. He was then taken to a private mental hospital in Sandringham where he died, not from the flu as claimed, but of softening of the brain due to syphilis.
A variation of this story appeared in the book Prince Jack by Frank Spiering. Spiering suggests that Lord Salisbury, along with Albert Edward, had Eddy killed by a morphine overdose. The extreme agony which Eddy exhibited at death, Spiering speculates, was due to him having been poisoned, and cites his overall unsuitability for the throne as the reasoning behind this suspicion. According to a tale told by Joseph Gorman, an obscure London artist who took the name Joseph Sickert, and claimed to be the illegitimate son of Walter Sickert, suggests Eddy, on one of his visits to a homosexual brothel in Cleveland Street, met and fell in love with a young woman named Elizabeth Crook, who worked in a florists shop at 6 Cleveland Street.
A secret marriage took place, despite the fact that she was a Roman Catholic. The marriage bore a daughter Alice Margaret, one of the witnesses to the marriage was Mary Kelly. Eddy had his wife and daughter settled in an apartment in Cleveland Street, though when news of an illegitimate great-grandchild came to Queen Victoria's attention, she informed the Prime Minister Lord Salisbury, who afraid that knowledge of the existence of Alice as a Catholic heir to the throne would result in a revolution, ordered a raid on the apartment. Annie was placed in Guy's hospital under the custody of Sir William Gull, who supposedly conducted experiments on her, which drove her insane. She died on 23 February 1920 at the age of 55 after spending more then thirty years in various hospitals and workhouses. Alice survived, and was cared for by Mary Kelly, and was later said to have become Walter Sickert's mistress, they allegedly had a son Joseph. Mary Kelly then began to blackmail the government and was murdered, along with all the friends that she had confided her secret to, by a group of high ranking Freemasons, led by the Prime Minister, Robert Cecil, Sir William Gull, Lord Randolph Churchill, Sir Robert Anderson, and whichever variation of the story is told, Montague John Druitt and James Kenneth Stephens. This theory is however completely without foundation, Annie Crooks death certificate clearly shows that she belonged to the Church of England. There is also no record to prove such a marriage ever took place. There is no firm evidence that the Ripper victims knew each other, it is merely speculation. Lastly, Robert Cecil was not a Freemason.
Other theories have the Prince, not dying in 1892 but living on until 1930, locked away in Osborne House, hopelessly insane.
Court circulars show that when Mary Ann Nichols was murdered, Eddy was at Dandy Lodge Grossmont in Yorkshire 29 August - 7 September. When Annie Chapman was murdered he was in York, at the Cavalry Barracks 7 - 10 September. On the night Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes were murdered he was with his Grandmother the Queen at Abergeldie Scotland 2 - 30 September. And finally, when Mary Kelly was killed he was at Sandringham 2-12 November. Unless all the official records were forged, and a great many people lied, including Queen Victoria, Albert Victor (Eddy) was not Jack the Ripper.