Get Today in Masonic History into your Inbox. Sign up today for one of our email lists!

TODAY in Masonic History:

Facebook Twitter Google

Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale Passes Away

Today in Masonic History Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale passes away in 1892.

Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale was a member of the British Royal family the grandson of Queen Victoria and the son of King Edward VII.

Albert Victor was born January 8th, 1864 at Frogmore House, Windsor, Berkshire, England. He was two months premature, on which some blamed on his educational difficulties. His education did not begin until his younger brother Prince George of Wales (later King George V) was born a year and six months later. Initially Albert Victor and his brother had a tutor. The tutor felt that Albert Victor's mind was "abnormally dormant" although there were various theories by family members when it came to this. It ranged from the believe that Albert Victor had inherited his grandmothers deafness to his tutor was not very good at his job.

In 1877, Albert Victor and his brother were sent to the Royal Navy's training ship to continue their education. Their tutor accompanied them as the ships chaplain. In 1879, Albert Victor departed on a three year tour of the British Empire. Along the way they stopped in the United States and in Japan, where the two brothers got tattoos.

By 1883, Albert Victor had left his brother and the Royal Navy behind to attend Trinity College, Cambridge. Albert Victor continued to be a poor student and would technically never graduate, although he would receive an honorary degree from the College.

In 1885, Albert Victor left Cambridge and joined the 10th Royal Hussars. A calvary unit in the British Army stationed in York, England.

In 1889, scandal struck Albert Victor with Cleveland Street Scandal. One of Albert Victor's top aides implicated as a client of a local brothel. Male prostitutes and pimps identified one Lord Arthur Somerset as one of their clients. At the time in London homosexual acts were illegal and could result in two years at hard labor. It also lead to social ostracism. Albert Victor was swept up in the accusations and rumors that swirled around the scandal. Mostly based on the rumor and innuendo, many biographers of the prince feel that he probably was a client of the brothel and may have been either bi-sexual or homosexual.

Later in 1889, Albert Victor went to India. It was rumored at the time that he went to India to escape the scandal, although this is not true since the trip had been planned before the scandal broke. During the trip, Albert Victor met a married woman named Margery Haddon. After Albert Victor's passing she claimed that her son was actually Albert Victor's and should be recognized as a member of the Royal family. Even Haddon passed away her son continued with the claim. He would right a book that was published in the United States about his connection with the Royal family. Haddon would be arrested after trying to extort money from the King George V, it would then be proven that Haddon was born two years before his mother met Albert Victor, although attorney's for Albert Victor's estate said that there were several physical encounters between Mrs. Haddon and Albert Victor.

Albert Victor passed away on January 14th, 1892 from an influenza pandemic.

Albert Victor, despite his short life, has been portrayed, in fiction and non-fiction, repeatedly in association with the Jack the Ripper murders. Most scholars find solid evidence to prove that, despite some claims, there is no way that Albert Victor could be the responsible for the Whitechapel murders. Although no evidence exists to tie Albert Victor to the murder, various fictional books and stories have tied him to it. Most of these pop culture references have come toward the end of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st century. They include a Sherlock Holmes story, where a Albert Victor is named the murderer and the movie From Hell where Albert Victor is not the murderer, the murders occur to cover up Albert Victor's relationship with a local prostitute. The film From Hell also includes the theory that it was a masonic conspiracy that covered up the Whitechapel murders because a member of the fraternity, a personal physician of the Albert Victor character, was the murderer.

Albert Victor's lodge affiliation is not clear at the writing of this article. A news paper article from The South Australian Register on March 19th, 1885 states that on the previous evening, Albert Victor received his initiatory degree. This would have coincided with his time in Cambridge. Additional evidence comes from the history of Albert Victor Lodge No. 2328 in York which is named for Albert Victor. The lodge was named in 1889 and records indicate that he was asked permission for the lodge named after him. He would later become an honorary member of the lodge. This request would coincide with his time with the 10th Hussars in York.