duke of Clarence, Albert Victor Christian Edward

(1864—1892) grandson of Queen Victoria

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Clarence was the first son of Edward, prince of Wales. He seems to have been congenitally handicapped: at the age of 5 he was described as ‘languid and listless’. At 13 he went to Dartmouth Naval College. He spent some time at Trinity College, Cambridge, though one tutor described his faculties as ‘abnormally dormant’. The university obliged with an honorary degree. He was next placed in the army where the commander‐in‐chief reported that even elementary drill movements were beyond him. Known in the family as ‘Eddie’, he remained wayward and what vigour he did possess was devoted to sexual encounters of various kinds. ‘His education and future’, wrote his father in 1890, ‘has been a matter of considerable anxiety to us.’ Matrimony was, of course, suggested. In 1891 Princess Mary of Teck, his cousin, accepted him, but he died of pneumonia on 14 January 1892, a month before the wedding. In due course his younger brother married his fiancée and succeeded as George V. The more lurid stories connected Clarence with the Ripper murders.

Subjects: British History.

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