Before he was King Edward VII, Queen Victoria’s son “Dirty Bertie” lived a few different lives. There was his endless womanizing and brothel-patronizing, which prompted that nickname, as well as “Edward the Caresser.” But after a particular romantic scandal that Queen Victoria blamed for his father’s death, Bertie married and fulfilled his duties to the empire to produce heirs (if not to produce a monogamous marriage).
Prince Albert Victor was the eldest son of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (the future Edward VII) and Alexandra of Denmark. As such, he was second in line to the English throne. A poor student, even his own siblings developed disdain for him, but for a time he seemed to come into his own in the Navy. This was cut short by his obligation to attend Cambridge, where his lackluster intellect again asserted itself.
All of this was awkward enough for Queen Victoria and The Prince of Wales, but things would only get more awkward for Prince Albert Victor. In 1889, after Metropolitan Police raided a male brothel, rumors swirled that the young man was a patron. While no charges were ever brought and no concrete evidence was provided, the blow to his reputation made finding a suitable bride difficult for his match-making grandmother. Even worse, as the reign of terror known as the Jack the Ripper Murders gripped London in 1888, Prince Albert Victor was floated as a suspect.
Whatever the truth, his story would come to an end in an influenza pandemic when he was just 28 years old, changing the course of the British Monarchy, and leaving his brother to ascend as George V.
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