by Theo Aronson
Review by Cathleen Myers
Was Jack the Ripper really Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence ("Eddy"), son and heir of the Prince of Wales and grandson of Queen Victoria? Certainly not. Nor was the prince’s tutor James Stephen ever a credible suspect in the case. But for years conspiracy theorists have wondered why the police so suddenly and secretively dropped the Ripper investigation in 1889, and closed the Jack the Ripper file altogether in 1892. Many have also wondered whether there was any connection between the apparent cover-up of the Ripper case and the massive government cover-up of the 1889 Cleveland Street Scandal - a conspiracy of silence engineered by Lord Salisbury’s government, the police, and representatives of the Royal Family, including Colonel Hon. Oliver Montague (platonic lover of "Eddy’s" mother, the Princess of Wales). The controversy has inspired several sensational books and three very melodramatic films. In Prince Eddy and the Homosexual Underworld Aronson offers a far more plausible reconstruction of the complex story.
Yes, the police did have a suspect in the Ripper murders - a suspect so convincing that Chief Commissioner James Munro felt justified in quietly closing the case shortly after the discovery on December 31, 1888, of the suspect’s apparent suicide (a month after the last of the murders was committed). But why was the case closed without fanfare, without even a word to the press? Apparently, because the suspect did have a connection with the Duke of Clarence that could have led to dangerous revelations about "Eddy’s" indiscreet private life (And you thought the present Royal Family had problems!). No, we’re not going to spoil the book for you by revealing the suspect’s identity or his connection to the prince. That would be telling.
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