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Prince Albert Victor Dull

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Prince Albert Victor Dull

Post by Karen on Sat 27 Feb 2010 - 18:45

A common misconception about Prince Albert Victor is that his intelligence quotient was normal or above normal. Nothing can be further from the truth and this fact was known by the Queen's servants and subjects, the Prince's tutors, the British public, the Pall Mall Gazette, and The New York Times.


LONDON, Jan. 15. - Out of the hundreds of thousands of words which have been written and printed about young Prince Albert Victor, or Edward, as you will, literally nothing has been said about the youngster himself - that is, of his qualities of mind, his views on things, his capacity for observation, judgement, and action. Many acres of paper have been covered by the press with speculation as to his ever coming to the throne, or more properly, as to there being any throne left for him to come to, with sharp controversies regarding his name, and with arguments pro and con concerning the propriety of his being supported out of the private royal funds. There have been, too, other wearisome acres of rhetoric spun out on the thin text that he happens to be the first eldest son of a Prince of Wales who has attained his majority during his father's lifetime since the hapless baby Edward II was invested with the title, and, of course, an incalculable amount of twaddle about the grandeur of the heritage to which he was born, and the natural love and devotion all properly constituted Britons, Britonesses, and Britonlets have for him. But out of it all, as has been said, there is nothing at all to tell any one what he is like. If he were the Crown Prince of Montenegro or the heir to the unstable throne of Annam, Englishmen could scarcely know less of the young man than they do.
Commenting upon this among some well-informed subjects of his grandmother, the explanation was given in this form: "It is true that nothing is known of him, but that is because there is absolutely nothing to know. Up to the present time he hasn't developed a single vice, and he is presumed to have virtues only upon the principle that nature abhors a vacuum." This interested me, and I have since made inquiries of others even better informed, of people who know his former tutors and whilom associates. Each has contributed his quota to the general verdict of utter stupidity. The Pall Mall Gazette tells a story to-day, the first of its kind to find place in an English newspaper, of the boy being shown over the buildings by the Master of Trinity when he first visited Cambridge. The Master, with pardonable pride, pointed out on the walls a portrait of himself, saying: "That is by Herkomer." "Very charming," replied the Prince; "is he one of the old masters?"
It is a pet theory of Professors of heredity that sexes are reversed in each generation, and that sons resemble their mothers. Prince Edward certainly looks like his mother, or rather like a caricature of her. In his face the sweet and stately Gothic lines of the Princess's are exaggerated into almost a monstrosity of vacuous narrowness. There is no speculation in the eyes, nor depth; the forehead is slim and short; the mouth is feeble, and below it droops a chin so long and purposeless as almost to amount to a deformity. There are numerous anecdotes afloat sub rosa to show that the youth comes honestly by his dullness, accepting the theory of maternal responsibility. A lady told me the other evening of this, which she herself heard. It was the opening day of an exhibition of old masters at the Royal Academy, and the President was escorting the Princess through the rooms. Stopping before a celebrated picture, he said: "Ah, this deserves special attention; this Cupid and Psyche is quite the most interesting thing So-and-so painted." "What is it about?" asked the Princess. "It represents Cupid and Psyche as -" Sir Frederick was replying, when her Royal Highness asked, "Who were they?"
This innocence has not prevented the Princess of Wales from being easily the most popular woman, taking the English people as a whole, who has lived inside a palace within man's memory. But it is one thing for a woman to be slow intellectually and quite another for a man. Nobody supposes the Prince of Wales to be a genius, but he is unquestionably a man of large perceptive faculties and a considerable amount of shrewd sense. He has his limitations everybody understands; he is not a bookish prig, like his late and generally unlamented father, and he is not a fiddler, like his next brother, the excessively unpopular Duke of Edinburgh. He never wrote a book, or tried to; his judgement of pictures is confessedly raw; and it is no secret that his speeches are quite generally learned from the manuscript of a secretary. Nobody thinks the less of him for all this; indeed, it appears to be an important element in the friendliness with which all Englishmen seem to have settled down into regarding him. He has the shortcomings which render it easy for all sorts and conditions of men to in a way patronize him in their minds and say, "Oh, he's a good fellow." Besides the long reign of a gloomy woman, who shuts herself up in out-of-the-way refuges, and has the people driven out of railway stations so that none may see her as she flits from one to the other, who moons around over a servant's grave, insists upon speaking and being spoken to in German in her family, and has foisted upon the country a swarm of disdainful German starvelings who have not even the grace to be civil for their bread and butter - this long reign has wearied and sickened everybody, and no one can guess how much this feeling contributes to the Prince's popularity. He wouldn't do these foolish things everybody feels. He hated John Brown; he dislikes these Germans as much as we do; English is good enough for him and his family to speak; he never shuts himself up nor hides himself; he wouldn't let everybody else pay the bills and he salt his money down - all this the people say to themselves, or think, and it is by force of contrast that the Prince grows yearly to be more popular, as much as by his innate qualities of cheeriness, fairness, and untiring labor at the queer duties which have come to devolve upon him.
But it is the nature of things that he will not be able to transmit this popularity, even if he himself preserves it, as a legacy to a stupid, characterless son. Democracy is more than knocking at the gates. As Mr. Chamberlain said last night at Ipswich, it is intrenched in the very seat of power. A sovereign of trained adaptability and with a personality which, if not strong, was at least well defined and pleasant in the popular eye, might get along fairly well with this democracy by the sheer necessity of some monarchical figurehead to keep the colonies in awe. But if it was true in Palmerston's time, as he said it was, that a man of genius on the English throne might work incalculable mischief to the country and destroy its institutions, it is true of the coming democratic days that a dull, slow sovereign will be an impossibility.

Source: The New York Times, January 30, 1885

From the London World.

As the custom of the Goldsmith's forbids the presence of reporters, very little appeared next day about their festivities on Tuesday last, when Prince Albert Victor became "one of them." The necessary formalities were gone through in camera, but the banquet which followed was worthy of the best traditions of the company. The Prince has undoubtedly a great deal to learn before he becomes an efficient under-study for his father. He seemed quite unable to get over the short speech which had been written out for him on a card with commendable neatness.

Source: The New York Times, April 20, 1886

It would appear that not only was he a dullard, he was clumsy as well. Read this:

From the London World.

It is a pity that Prince Albert Victor does not indulge in a few lessons in deportment and dancing. His partners complain terribly of torn gowns and trodden toes, and in Ireland his reputation for general clumsiness is supreme.

Source: The New York Times, July 19, 1886

From the London World.

I am afraid that Prof. Ihne, of Heidelberg, who was intrusted with the education of Prince Albert Victor, did not receive "the extra two-pence" which, according to the old story, has to be paid for teaching "manners." In this respect the young gentleman is reported to be somewhat deficient. He is said to give himself many airs, and the guttural cry of "Whe-r-r-e can I have my cigar-r-r-rette?" is heard as often from the filial as from the paternal lips. On a recent occasion, at a dejeuner given in connection with some function at the Infant Orphan Asylum at Wanstead, cigarettes were lighted by the young Prince and his companion, Lord Brooke, before the ladies had left the table, and while one of the oldest and most influential patrons was speaking the young gentleman talked so loudly that Lord Brooke had to give him a hint to be quiet. This is very bad form at any time, and particularly unwise form just at the present.

Source: The New York Times, July 19, 1886

From London Truth.

Prince Henry (of Battenberg) was in full Highland costume, in which he looked as comfortable as a salmon on a gravel walk. Prince Albert Victor reminds one of the typical sheep in wolf's clothing when attired in "the garb of old Gaul."

Source: The New York Times, September 18, 1887

From the London Truth.

That the country should be required to pay £548 for the Garter fees of Prince Albert Victor is quite monstrous, and I do not understand why it should cost £100 more to make His Royal Highness a Knight than was paid last year for the King of the Netherlands. This amount is, for the most part, a "perquisite" of the Dean of Windsor, who (a young man not yet 36) receives besides over £2000 a year (with an excellent house) from the revenues of "her Majesty's free chapel," and £600 a year as Domestic Chaplain to the Queen.

Source: The New York Times, April 6, 1884

Knowing these facts, it's a wonder why most Ripperologists still defend Prince Albert Victor's intelligence, behavior, actions and innocence. It's not as if they actually knew him personally. Did they ever spend time in his presence? Did they ever accompany him to a public or private engagement? I rather think not.

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