Talk:Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale

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Second in Line of Succession "after Queen Victoria"[edit]

This is wrong, Prince Albert Victor was indeed 2nd in the line of succession but not "after Queen Victoria", since Victoria was the monarch at the time she can't have been in the line of succession to herself! He was second in succession after his father only.

Was Eddy of Low Intelligence[edit]

In the Education section, it seems to suggest that Prince Eddy was educationally deficient. I have attempted to show some balance by making it clear that this idea is contentious. My revision was undone because it was mentioned later on in the article. However, I would argue that it is more important to mention it during the actual subject than as a footnote as not to relegate the opposite view (that it was Dalton's character and abilities at fault rather than the Prince's) as being an insubstantial argument. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tynmar66 (talkcontribs) 20:11, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

Opinions on his intellect are called speculation in the lead; the opposing views are given in the first paragraph of the "Education" section itself and are reiterated in the "Legacy" section. Neither is relegated to a footnote. The opposing views on Albert Victor's abilities are again reiterated in the final paragraph of the Education section. We must give due weight to each of the views, but there are more sources (such as Nicolson, Pope-Hennessy, etc.) giving poor opinions of his intellect than there are giving good ones (basically Cook). And Nicolson and Pope-Hennessy are more widely known and used and more notable than Cook. The article is not imbalanced and both views are represented with due weight. DrKay (talk) 20:27, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
However, as far as I can see Nicholson and Hennesy only mention Eddy in passing as part of works about someone else? They cannot therefore have spent as much time on researching Eddy? Also, being an official biographer imposes restrictions as well as opportunities about included material. Sandpiper (talk) 00:43, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

I see. So are we saying until there are enough revisionists to add weight to the argument, people who only read the education section will be given the idea that he had low intellect because, for years it has perhaps been politically expedient to view King George as the better candidate for the monarchy? However, having said that, I think that the article would be less imbalanced if the medical reasons for his supposed problems of intellect were removed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tynmar66 (talkcontribs) 20:39, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

I suggest a middle path of adding a clause for Dalton's lack of inspiration and cutting a clause on mental vacuity: viz. the final sentence of the first paragraph to read: "Possible physical explanations for Albert Victor's inattention or indolence in class include absence seizures or his premature birth, which can be associated with learning difficulties,[Citation 1] Aronson, pp. 53–54; Harrison, p. 35. but Lady Geraldine Somerset blamed Albert Victor's poor education on Dalton, whom she considered uninspiring.[Citation 2] Aronson, p. 74." DrKay (talk) 20:58, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
I would argue that the term "intellect" is old-fashioned and not in current use, and should be replaced with a term such as "intellectual abilities". Totorotroll (talk) 21:59, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

Cleveland street brothel[edit]

Hmm. The article says " the rumours and cover-up has led some biographers to speculate that he did visit Cleveland Street,[35" which is referenced to aronson p.170. What Aronson actually says on that page is "reading this correspondence (some of which was destroyed), there can be little doubt Prince eddy did visit the Cleveland Street brothel, and that the prince of wales entourage were desperate to quash the rumours of his involvement, not because they were false but because they were true." Now, it could be argued that Aronson is speculating, but in fact suggesting that is speculation by whoever wrote the text on this page. Aronson stated be believes it to be true. By contrast, the article continues " The historian H. Montgomery Hyde wrote, "There is no evidence that he was homosexual, or even bisexual."[38]". ie, wiki implies hyde is correct, and Aronson wrong. this strikes as POV handling of the two different views.Sandpiper (talk) 23:01, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

Later the article cites a letter to Lord Esher from Somerset. I changed the article because it did not correctly paraphrase that text. The two source books being referred to, Aronson and Cook, cite the letter but do not quote it in full, so hard to say what it does say in its entirety. However, from the excerpts included a conclusion is drawn that since Somerset wonders " if it is really a fact or only an invention of that arch ruffian H[ammond]", that Somerset's source of information was in fact Hammond and not direct knowledge of events he had witnessed. He does claim to have specific knowledge from somewhere. It is not clear in context whether this might be directly from Hammond to Somerset, or indirectly via his lawyer Newton, who is being talked about in the letter re what he might reveal if he is cornered. Thus I inserted 'certain people', because while it is more than hearing a general rumour, and the information would seem to have come from Hammond, it is not certain he heard it directly from Hammond rather than Newton (or indeed someone else not mentioned). He does appear to have heard the general rumours in society, and I think mentions this in another letter excerpt, so I also left in that he mentions hearing rumours. However his specific source of information is clearly more than just a rumour doing the rounds of society, because he refers specifically to Hammond. He does not state directly his source is Hammond, and thus I changed 'denies' to 'implies not'. He does not deny knowing anything directly, this is merely a deduction drawn by the book's author. Of course, there is no guarantee he is telling the truth in what he wrote, but that issue does not seem to come up in the sources. One does mention that some letters have been destroyed, which might imply they had the most sensitive references and that these went further than whatever we have available. Cook states boldly that Somerset must have had the information from Newton rather than Hammond, but I did not see any explanation of why he believes Somerset could not have had the information directly from Hammond, the keeper of the brothel he admitted frequenting. Incidentally, there seems to have been some sort of record book which the police impounded but which mysteriously disappeared. Someone might have used this as a source of information. (sorry thats a bit complicated)Sandpiper (talk) 23:27, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

In your own words, it is "a deduction drawn by the book's author". Your own deductions are irrelevant. This isn't the place to publish your personal opinions. DrKay (talk) 06:59, 11 September 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, but I don't really understand what you are saying. All books report the deductions drawn by the author. Authors do research and report their findings. We at wikipedia report what they have concluded. Thats how it works. Aronson concluded Eddy was homosexual and went to Cleveland stret. So that is what we say. If you report this in a way as to imply Aronson is wrong, then it is you who are speculating and posting your own opinions, which is what is not allowed on wiki. The article ought to be written saying author 1 says this while author2 says that, but cannot be written as author 1 speculates this while author2 has proved the other.Sandpiper (talk) 08:01, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
It is. DrKay (talk) 09:52, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
No, unfortunately it is not, and I explained why above.Sandpiper (talk) 06:13, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

I am also a little bothered by the fact we mention one historian by name, H montgomery Hyde, for no obvious reason. Wikipedia is not an advertising board for authors and publishers. Sandpiper (talk) 08:13, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

Aronson, Harrison, Magnus, Cook, Pope-Hennessy, and Nicolson, are all mentioned by name. Hyde is one among many, and is given no more prominence than any of the others. DrKay (talk) 09:51, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
Not in the section I was editing, they are not. It is a very disturbing trend that wiki is increasingly becoming a highly selective board for staging a debate betweeen certain selected sources. I have no doubt the people named are not the only people to have written about this, just the ones which happened to be available at the time. Why name any of them in the text? I see someone likes to use selective disparagement to ridicule Aronson, too. tut. Sandpiper (talk) 23:36, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
I have read Aronson and am working through Cook. Its quite fascinating to note the total opposite positions they take on certain things. For example, Cook says, about Eddy's time in the army, "If his horsemanship had been elegant before, he must have cut a fine figure after this"...."He had no difficulty mastering the other military skills of an officer". " the army, Eddy learned without difficulty" (p.123.) Whereas Aronson says "Prince Eddy showed himself no more of a soldier than a scholar".... "neither at Aldershot, nor at York, nor at the Curragh near Dublin, did Prince Eddy show much interest in soldiering." (p.76-77). "Once his first six months of training were over, prince Eddy seems to have spent almost as much time away from his regiment as with it" (p.78). "His son's continuing backwardness annoyed the Prince of Wales considerably. Prince Eddy's remaining in the Army, he sighed on one occasion, was 'simply a waste of time-and he has not that knowledge even of military subjects which he ought to possess'". (p.78, reffed to pope-hennesy, who both cook and Aronson also quote as Eddy saying he disliked riding training)
Cook remarks that the Duke of Cambridge was shocked by Eddy's lack of knowledge about military matters before he joined the army.(p.123) Aronson remarks Cambridge was asked by the regimental colonel not to ask Eddy to carry out some 'elementary movement' while cambridge was visiting and Eddy was training at Aldershot, because Eddy would have 'not an idea how to do it'. (P.77) Cook mentions brawling and visitng brothels as typical soldierly behaviour, Aronson discusses the common practice of supplementing your meagre income as an ordinary soldier by acting as a male homosexual prostitute. Seems to me both authors have a marked agenda: Aronson's being to draw out the extraordinary degree to which he was involved with gay (in the modern sense) society, Cook's to rehabilitate him as an exceptionally able candidate to be king. Sandpiper (talk) 09:17, 13 September 2014 (UTC)
Cook really does have an agenda about proving Eddy being entirely heterosexual, and singularly fails to do so. I noticed the article seeks to ridicule Aronson by his arguments for homosexuality, but Cook had some right corkers of his own. He says Eddy was straight because he followed fashion. That he failed to find a pretty 16 year old woman attractive because his mother had told him not to. Such as Eddy's sudden interest in marriage while the Cleveland st scandal was at its height showed he had always been interested in women. That the singular lack of paperwork from the scandal actually mentioning Eddy shows it was not his name they were trying to prevent being discovered. Interestingly David Duff on Queen Mary seems to take it as read that half the aristocracy of europe knew him to be gay. Hunting about i noticed a review of another book by Cook, arguing he is very partisan there too about only acknowledging evidence for his thesis and not against.Sandpiper (talk) 23:18, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

A dissipated simpleton[edit]

I note in Cook's Afterforward to his book, where he covers previous biographers of Eddy, he acknowledges Pope Hennessy did "pretty extensive research in the royal archives for Queen Mary, but doesn't state that PM also spoke to people still living who knew Eddy. So when PM wrote that Eddy's "dissipations" were a cause of deep concern, he knew what he was writing about. And dissipations wasn't a word lightly inserted into an authorised royal biography then! But reading Cook's assessment of PM's biographical view of Eddy in Queen Mary, you wouldn't gain the impression – as I think most readers do – that PM thought Eddy a complete dropkick. In A Lonely Business, PM's collected diaries and essays he also calls Eddy "an unsatisfactory young man" (p214) which is probably worth inserting into the article. Because when an immensely discrete official royal biographer writes that, you know it's code for 'disastrous'. PM not only had open access, he was also upper-class and gay, so undoubtably had access to additional sources of relevant information. Ur-gossip James Lees-Milne was one of his closest friends. In the same book he quotes Grand Duchess Xenia telling him about a time at Fredensborg when Eddy threw a small dog into a lake just for the hell of it. In the description Eddy comes across as a complete simpleton. "She agreed with my delicate suggestion that it had been better for Queen Mary not to marry the Duke of Clarence..." (p259) Speaking of access: when the late Theo Aronson was writing his book on Eddy he was refused access to the Salisbury papers. In a letter to me he tellingly wrote "I was given permission - in theory....until they discovered what I wanted. Then they clammed up. One would think it all happened yesterday, instead of a century ago." Engleham (talk) 22:44, 28 January 2016 (UTC)


Perhaps some medal experts among us can check it up, but his 1891 photograph shows him wearing among others two decorations both instituted in 1887 - that can be identified as the Queen Victoria Golden Jubilee Medal and the British Order of St John of Jerusalem.Cloptonson (talk) 22:12, 13 February 2016 (UTC)

Venereal Disease[edit]

@DrKay (without citing any reason) has removed a section I added on recently discovered letters that have come up for auction revealing the Prince was being medicated for gonorrhea. The story has appeared in the Daily Mail and Mirror with the risible Jack The Ripper allegation woven in: no doubt all cobbled together from what one presumes was a media release designed to create as much attention as possible. That said, the letters are being auctioned a reputable specialist auction house in Nottingham, International Autograph Auctions, and so would have been subject to reasonable assessment of their validity. As citations I linked to the Daily Mail article merely to cite the backstory of their appearing on the market, and also to the auction lot listing which provided a partial transcript. I also linked to another letter from the Princes' equerry that substantiates Roche was the Princes' doctor at Aldershot and had been asked to stay on to manage him. The citation was the lot listing from Argyll Etkin, another reputable business that have been in operation since 1958. I placed it at the end of the Education section immediately after the sentence "Of his private life, a childhood friend of Albert Victor later recalled that it was uneventful: "his brother officers had said that they would like to make a man of the world of him. Into that world he refused to be initiated."

However, letters dated 1885 and 1886 from Albert Victor to his doctor Surgeon Roche at Aldershot, detail that he was taking medicine for 'glete' (gleet), then a term for gonorrhea discharge.[Citation 1] Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence: Two letters on the delicate matter of his sexual health, International Autograph Auctions; 5 March 2016, Nottingham, Lot 438;[Citation 2] McLelland, Euan Jack The Ripper suspect Prince Albert Victor is revealed to have been suffering from gonorrhoea – most likely caught from a prostitute, Daily Mail 26 February 2016; In another letter of 1896, from his equerry Arthur Greville, he requested that Roche stay on to look after him.[Citation 3]

The Mirror article may be slightly better than the Mail, give it closes with an expert who dismisses the Ripper allegation:

Aside from that, are there any issues with incorporating this into the article? Engleham (talk) 15:09, 4 March 2016 (UTC)

I haven't removed it. I moved it to where the gonorrhea is discussed, cutting out "1896" (because the letter is 1886, which is already given in the preceding sentence and he was dead by 1896) and the ebay source, which is not reliable. It's extraneous anyway as it doesn't mention glete and the important information is already given. I didn't provide an edit summary because I thought the move down to place related material together was obvious and didn't require explanation.
BTW, this isn't a new discovery. These or similar documents have been known about for a long time and are discussed in the books listed at the end of the article. DrKay (talk) 15:21, 4 March 2016 (UTC)

@DrKay Apologies, I didn't notice the reinsertion. Yes, the earlier allegations regarding VD refer to his friend/doctor Alfred Fripp who was supposedly treating him for it. It comes from Aronsson, who as Andrew Cook notes, didn't provide a source. Michaela Reid's book on Queen Victoria's doctor Sir James Reid, 'Ask Sir James', also has nothing. The appearance of the Roche letters therefore provides substantive evidence and supersedes some of the earlier text in the article e.g."Although there is no known source directly confirming this"(Cook), so I shall rewrite that paragraph as it's now too self-contradictory and wordy. The point should be made succinctly. I also think it's better placed at the first incidence of it at Aldershot in the 1880s as per the Roche letters. Placed there it also serves as balance to the preceding sentence which is" Of his private life, a childhood friend of Albert Victor later recalled that it was uneventful: "his brother officers had said that they would like to make a man of the world of him. Into that world he refused to be initiated." That's from the Rev. William Rogers, and clearly nonsense, so needs the counterbalance showing he was living a fast life even then. The order of the two mistress paragraphs could also be swapped to read better, so will do that too. Have also sourced a telling quote from a journo who attended most of his public appearances which I will place in the Death section. Engleham (talk) 05:58, 5 March 2016 (UTC)

I've restored it because the nature of the 1890 illness is still not known. DrKay (talk) 08:14, 5 March 2016 (UTC)
Again, apparently, @DrKay is using sleazy tabloidesque and unreliably, if at all, sourced allegations that do not fit in this encyclopaedia (see [1]). I am not going to edit war but I will seek dispute resolution if we can't settle it here, as this is an ongoing thing, apparently, based on the above colloquies with @Engleham. Quis separabit? 06:56, 13 April 2016 (UTC)