Prince Eddy and the Homosexual Underworld

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9780719554155: Prince Eddy and the Homosexual Underworld
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In November 1970 an article in an obscure British journal made the startling claim that the notorious mass-murderer, Jack the Ripper, had been none other than Queen Victoria's grandson, Prince Albert Victor, Heir Presumptive to the British throne. Although this bizarre theory was subsequently dismissed, rumours about the long-forgotten figure of Prince Albert Victor - always known as Eddy - began to gather force. With each telling, they became wilder. Out of this welter of conjecture, claim and counter-claim, there emerged one accusation that cannot be dismissed. This is the story of Prince Eddy's alleged involvement in another Victorian cause celebre - the Cleveland Street brothel case. For the uncovering of this homosexual brothel in 1889 led to an extraordinary cover-up by the British government; a cover-up which is explicable only in the light of Prince Eddy's involvement. Working from original sources (including the files of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Esher Papers), Theo Aronson has written the first full account of the strange life of Prince Eddy, setting it in perspective against a vivid backcloth of the astonishingly active homosexual underworld during the last decades of Queen Victoria's reign. He explores Prince Eddy's upbringing, his university and military careers, his curious personality, his alleged "secret marriage", his links with the Jack the Ripper murders, his early death and, above all, the central mystery of his life - his sexual orientation. For it was this that linked the young Prince's name to the Cleveland Street Scandal.

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About the Author:

Working from original sources (including the files of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Esher Papers), Theo Aronson has written the first full account of the strange life of Prince Eddy, setting it in perspective against a vivid backcloth of the astonishingly active homosexual underworld during the last decades of Queen Victoria's reign. He explores Prince Eddy's upbringing, his university and military careers, his curious personality, his alleged "secret marriage", his links with the Jack the Ripper murders, his early death and, above all, the central mystery of his life - his sexual orientation. For it was this that linked the young Prince's name to the Cleveland Street Scandal.

From Booklist:

Prince Albert Victor--known within the British royal family as "Eddy"--was Queen Victoria's grandson and second heir after her son. Eddy's death at age 28 in 1892 eliminated him--perhaps fortunately, given his character--from the line of succession. The legend sprang up, and has been debated and reasserted and challenged ever since, that Prince Eddy was the famous serial killer who was never apprehended and whose name lives on in infamy, Jack the Ripper. Veteran biographer of royal lives, Aronson dismisses the notion as "absurd." However, he sets his balanced look at the reckless, self-indulgent, even dissipated life of Eddy within the context of the homosexual world of Victorian England, with which, avers Aronson, the prince was probably familiar. The author creates a decidedly unsensational picture of life for male homosexuals at the time; simultaneously, he draws a cradle-to-grave portrait of Prince Eddy as a lazy, unclever, and unfocused fellow who, though not a murderer of prostitutes in London's East End, "almost certainly" was a denizen of the surprisingly energetic homosexual underworld. As fascinating as Aronson finds Prince Eddy, this book is equally so. Brad Hooper

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