Cruising through life unassisted by the velvety trappings of normalcy can be a double-edged silver spoon. This is Prince Albert Victor Christian Edward, Duke of Clarence and Avondale (1864-1892). As my crazy old friend Robert used to say â€śWhadda Dandy!!!â€? The man obviously could not tolerate a bad photograph of himself. Of course this was back in the day when people had to stand real still and googly-eyed like in photos, so the lengthy exposure could capture them - and no doubt Prince Eddy relished the opportunity. In the 19th century, Prince Albert Victor was the oldest son of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) and was second in line to be king, but the crown instead went to his younger brother, Prince George (King George V), who is the grandfather of the Queen we know today.
The bigger story is that Prince Eddy was like a giant, decorated ferry ship, floating in full view down the bluest of blue blood rivers andâ€¦ on the occasion when he started to sink, lets just say that most of those in The Family didnâ€™t exactly rush to save him. He was considered a weak link, and was systematically passed over for the crown, obviously. As a youth, Prince Eddy apparently developed a reputation in his studies (under royal tutelage) as being slow-witted, even retarded. However, deeply researched books written about his life recently claim he was anything but - reportedly he expressed the kind of imaginative and intuitive smarts that didnâ€™t run along the grooves of the family treeâ€™s roadmap, and that his critics were interested in drawing the contrast to fertilize the future throneage of his brother.
Several attempts to meld Prince Eddy with a royal bride went (surprise!) nowhere.
In 1889, he was involved in the (then Uber-shocking) Cleveland Street scandal, the raid of a gay male brothel in London, which caught several prominent aristocrats in itâ€™s sweep, and greenlighted a progression of sinister cover-ups. The infamous event brought the homosexual underworld into the horizon of the publicâ€™s attention. The extent of Prince Eddyâ€™s involvement is still unclear, but itâ€™s certain he was fingered to steal attention away from other public figures who were involved, and had everything to loose.
All the while Prince Eddy continued to parade around the regal zone in a waxed mustache, canes, gloves, fur head wraps, jackets dripping with baubles, shoes that looked like Faberge eggs with chandeliers attached to them, and a face that 1970â€™s gay porn star Al Parker would have died for. Visually, he was a genius.
Todayâ€™s common male genital piercing, the â€śprince albert,â€? is (according to most records) named after him.
Eventually, his harshest critics went from trying to portray him as a moronic lush, to claiming he was simply insane.
Even after his death, he possessed the power to draw pointing fingers like a magnet. During the 1960â€™s it was theorized that he had been none other than the real Jack The Ripper. Serious Ripper-studies dismiss the idea of his involvement as rediculous, though to this day he remains on â€śthe list.â€?
He died in 1892 of pneumonia while traveling. Though those that didnâ€™t like him will tell you he expired in a mental hospital, howling stark raving mad. His tomb, located at Windsor Castle (and designed by Alfred Gilbert) is considered one of the best examples of Art Nouveau sculpture in Britain.
Go here for some galleries of pictures of Prince Eddy.