|Prince Albert Victor Christian Edward, Duke of Clarence and Avondale (1864-1892)|
|Prince Albert Victor (Eddy),
Duke of Clarence and Avondale
|Princess Helene of Orleans|
| Prince Albert Victor Christian Edward, eldest child of Bertie, the Prince of Wales (future Edward VII) and his wife Alexandra of Denmark, was born on January 8, 1864 at Frogmore House in Windsor and he was a seven months baby; he was called just Eddy by his family.
When he began to grow up, his tutor, John Neale Dalton, noticed an "abnormall dormant condition" in Eddy's mind, which might be caused during his premature birth. Eddy failed in all subjects and was unnable to keep his attention in something for more than a few minutes. He was constantly overshadowed by his younger brother, Prince George (future George V) in every aspect. Dalton said that Prince Eddy required of Prince George's company to induce him to work so the tutor considered the two boys should be educated together.
Eddy and George were both trained as cadets and afterwards joined the crew of HMS Bacchante on a cruise that would last three years. The Prince of Wales had hoped that life in the Navy would strengthen Eddy's character but after the three years, it had a null effect on the appatic Prince while his brother became a capable young man, enthusiastic about his naval carreer.
After returning from the cruise, Prince Eddy entered Trinity College in Cambridge in order to develope an interest on intellectual matters, but he failed again. Then he tried the Army; on June 1885, Prince Eddy was assigned in the Tenth Hussars Cavalry Regiment. But he did not care about military affairs either. He only liked Polo (although he didn't practice enough to play it well) and he only cared any form of dissipation and amusement.
There have been much speculation about Eddy misterious private life. It was said that he was homosexual because it is known that he visited a male brothel at Cleveland Street, where police discovered Lord Arthur Somerset, who was Eddy's friend, during a raid. Prince Eddy have been linked in different ways to the murders committed in the second half of the year 1888 in Whitechapel, in the East End of London. Between August and November, 1888, five prostitutes were savagely murdered and disemboweled in Whitechapel; these women were Polly Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Kelly. and the killer signed as Jack the Ripper. It was said that Prnce Eddy was Jack the Ripper; a witnness who saw Mary Kelly with her killer described the man as look alike Eddy. It is quite impossible the Prince had comitted the murders since he was in Scotland in the nights when two of the victims were killed.
Another incredible but not impossible theory was presented by Stephen Knight in his book "Jack the Ripper, the final solution". Knight tells the story of a man named Joseph Sickert who claimed to be Prince Eddy's grandson. Sickert says that inspite Eddy's weak character and lack on interests, his mother, Princess Alexandra, tried to interest him in arts by putting him under the protection of a famous painter named Walter Sickert, who would be Joseph's father. In 1888, the painter introduced Eddy to Annie Elizabeth Crook, a girl who worked in a tobacco shop at Cleveland Street. Eddy and Annie felt in love and got secretly married in St. Saviour's Chapel, having only one witness besides Sickert, a certain Mary Kelly, a friend of Annie who also worked in the tobaco shop. Annie soon became pregnant and gave birth to a girl, Alice Margaret, in April 1885. The certain Mary Kelly was paid by Sickert to be Alice Margaret's nanny.
The rumor of Eddy's affair arrived to the ears of the Prince's grandmother, Queen Victoria, and her Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury. They both want the affair brought to en end and uncover Eddy's participation. By those days the Royal Family's prestige was not on its best times because of the Prince of Wales' scandalous life and the Monarchy was quite unpopular. Salisbury feared that another scandal on the Royal family would caused the end of the Monarchy in England. So a raid was organized on Cleveland Street and Pirnce Eddy was taken away from Annie's room and put under severe vigilance and Annie was taken to an insane assylum, where she died in 1920. All these was watched by Sickert from his studio on that same street. The only one who escaped was Mary Kelly who took the girl with her. Later on Alice Margaret fall on Sickert hands. Mary Kelly became a prostitute and together with a group of friends to whom she had told the secret, tried to blackmail Salisbury about Eddy's affaire. Salisbury had to silence the prostitutes in someway. The man selected for the mission was Sir William Gull, a physician who had previously performed discreet abortions in the bedchambers of Windsor, and who was also a Francmasonic. Other two men were involved: Sir Robert Anderson, Assistant Comissioner of the Metropolitan Police and also a Francmasonic, and John Netley, Eddy's coachman who had many times conducted the Prince to see Annie. If Sickert's story was true, these men comitted the murders and created the myth of Jack the Ripper.
Eddy's supposed daughter, Alice Margaret, became Walter Sickert's mistress and she beared him a son, Joseph Sickert, and died in 1950. There is no evidence to confirm this exceptional story except Joseph Sickert's testimony.
In 1889, Queen Victoria suggested her grandaughter, Princess Alix of Hesse (future Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia) as a possible bride for Eddy, who felt in love with his cousin but Alix rejected him. Eddy was chrushed; he wrote to his mother: "I don't think she knows how much I love her or she could not be so cruel." By 1890, Eddy had recovered of Alix's rejection; he had met Princess Helene of Orleans, the daughter of the pretender to the French throne, Louis, Comte de Paris. At first, Queen Victoria disagreed with a possible marriage because Helene was a Roman Catholic and Eddy, being heir presuntive to the Throne of England, could not realized such a union. But when the Queen met Helene and saw her and Eddy together, she encourage the engagement. But if she wanted to marry Eddy, Helene had to change religion and neither her father nor the Pope Leo XIII left her. Even the Pope threatened to excomunicate her for trying to marry a "heretic". Eddy had to forget about Helene who is said to have been the love of his life.
Prince Eddy finally met someone who seemed to be the appropiate woman for him: Princess Mary of Teck the daughter of Queen Victoria's cousin, Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, and a great-granddaughter of King George III. They became engaged and set the wedding for the last week of January, 1892. On January 4, Prince Eddy, Princess Mary and her parents, and the Prince and Princess of Wales with their daughters went to Sandrigham House in Norfolk. After having spent some days hunting in the cold wind and snow, Eddy developed a persistent cough and he was soon cofined to bed after the doctor diagnosed pneumonia and influenza. On January 8, Eddy was unable to attend his birthday dinner. The next day he had developed inflamation of the lungs. On the morning of January 12 , Prince Eddy was rather worse and the next day he was delirious, shouting about his Regiment, his horses, his friends and his love for his grandmother, the Queen.; he frerquently cried out "Helene!, Helene!". In the early morning of January 14, Eddy's agony began and lasted for six hours The Princess of Wales sat at the head of her dying son's bed, holding his hand. There were also his father, the Prince of Wales, his sisters, the Duchess of Fife, Princess Victoria and Princess Maud and his fiance, Princess Mary, with her mother. Eddy died at 9:35 of the morning of January 14 1892, when he was 28 years old. He was buried at Albert Memorial Chapel in Windsor. Over his coffin there was a large band ribbon with only one word: "Helene".
Of the three women Prince Eddy had loved, Alix married Tzar Nicholas II of Russia; Helene married the Duke of Aosta, grandson of King Victor Manuel II of Italy; Princess Mary married Eddy's brother, Prince George, who later became King George V, and she herself became Queen Mary, grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II
|Prince Eddy, Princess Alix of Hesse, Princess Beatrice, Princess Irene of Hesse and Queen Victoria|
|Prince Eddy and Princess Mary of Teck|
Pope- Hennessy, Jame; Queen Mary
King, Greg; The Last Empress
Knight Stephen; Jack the Ripper, the Final Solution