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Friday, March 11, 2011

Two Sides to Every Story: Jack the Ripper v. Prince Albert Victor

Jack the Ripper v. Prince Albert Victor

As the second post in this Two Sides series I bring you the tantalizing story of Jack the Ripper v. Prince Albert Victor. I had originally heard a theory about this several months ago on a television show about Jack but it has been brought the forefront after reading Leslie Carroll’s newest book Royal Pains. There is a chapter on Prince Albert Victor and Leslie touches on the subject but I wanted to explore it more.

Jack the Ripper
By Tom Merry (Cover page of Puck magazine) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Jack the Ripper is the name that is given to the killer of about five women in Whitechapel London (I say about because there is some discussion as to the number of murders associated with the Ripper). The murders occurred between August and November of 1888. All of the women were believed to have been prostitutes. These women were all killed by strangulation and then had their throats slit. He also took a trophy from the bodies – one time a kidney was taken. He is believed to have had some form of surgical skill from the way these organs were removed. No one person was ever officially found to be the murderer although many, many suspects were brought through.

Prince Albert Victor
By W. & D. Downey (http://www.paulfrecker.com/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Prince Albert Victor was the son of Bertie, Prince of Wales and his wife, Alexandra (he was thus the grandson of Queen Victoria). There were many scandals and rumors that abounded during his lifetime about him being slow, possibly homosexual, and involved in other situations that had to be hushed up – so why couldn’t he be Jack the Ripper of the Whitechapel murder fame? It is interesting to note that the rumor about Albert being connected to the murders became public in 1962 (also interesting to note, Albert died in 1981 to the flu epidemic, so the rumor was WAY after he died).

One story, by Dr. Thomas Stowell, paints Albert as a person in the late stages of a syphilis infection that caused him to go crazy and commit the gruesome murders, while the royal family tried to hide him away and commit him to a mental hospital. A second theory, by Frank Spiering, claims that Albert could have carried out these surgical techniques because he was good at “dressing deer” and acted out the murders during a hypnotism session with his doctor. The third and most thought out theory was that Albert had gotten a common girl pregnant and it needed to be hushed up. According to this theory, one of the victims was the child’s nanny, another was a case of mistaken identity and that they were all carried out to symbolize a Masonic cause.

All of these rumors have mostly been debunked. Not only was Albert not in London at the time of these murders (and has airtight alibis) but there is no solid evidence showing he had a child with Annie Crook. Spiering asked Queen Elizabeth II to make a statement indicating the whereabouts of Albert during the days of the murders or to open up the Royal Archives – the response was that the Queen was not going to make a statement but he was more than welcome to the Archives – which he turned down.

If you were that adamant about a theory, wouldn’t you have wanted to take a look at the files? Is it possible that it was a cover up and Prince Albert Victor did have some culpability in this crime? Or is it likely that people were just looking for attention – seeing as it was so many years later that Prince Albert Victor’s name was brought up?

Using modern technology new analysis is constantly being done regarding this crime and periodically new evidence appears (because people took trophy’s, just like the Ripper). Someday we may find who the killer was (especially if you believe some rumors that the killer was known and the name was covered up). Will Prince Albert Victor be officially off the hook?

What do you think?

You can read a much more in-depth analysis of Prince Albert Victor as a suspect or view other areas about this crime at Casebook: Jack the Ripper where some of the information used in this post was acquired.

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. I would love to know who committed those murders. I knew that Price Albert Victor was fingered as a suspect, but I didn't know why!

  2. After all these years it still remains a mystery.

  3. Interesting topic! With today's forensics and technology, perhaps we will find out who Jack the Ripper really was. It's such a creepy story -- maybe that's why I enjoyed The Tea Rose so much.

  4. Joanne - there is definitely hope - DNA evidence reveals new things everyday (they can even make revelations about Egyptian mummies!). I haven't read the Tea Rose - does it connect in some way?

  5. Dolleygurl - Oh, yes, The Tea Rose does have a storyline of murders thought to be attributed to Jack the Ripper.

  6. Very intriguing! I didn't know anything about Prince Albert and I haven't read much on Jack the Ripper.

  7. Joanne - thanks for that information. I have had the book on my wishlist but haven't had a chance to acquire and read it yet.

    Arleigh - It feels weird saying this - but in the last year I think I have read WAY too much on Jack the Ripper - and I don't know why, haha.


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