There have been many theories about the identity of the Ripper. Most of them have been inconclusive; others, completely baseless. Yet they all managed to gain the attention of the media and subsequently of the people who suspected, creating quite a stir. Those stirs have changed to fascination and intrigue today, as people from around the world take the Jack the Ripper tour in London every year.
Of all the rumours out there, it’s safe to say that none has been more shocking than the one associating the Royal family with the Ripper Saga. The theory first surfaced in 1962 in a book by Phillippe Jullien, after most of the central figures in the Ripper investigation had passed. In it, he put the blame for the murders in Whitechapel on Prince Albert Victor, a Duke of Bedford. However, he never provided any solid proof. This theory was taken up by Dr. Thomas Stowell, who published an article accusing Prince Victor of being the likely culprit based on the findings of Sir William Gull, who was Prince Victors’ physician.
Prince Albert Victor’s mental condition, personality and manner of death were some of the reasons he was associated with Jack the Ripper. The manner of his death was particularly scrutinised. According to Dr. Stowell, the prince was suffering from syphilis, a disease he contracted in the West Indies. Dr. Stowell argues that the fatal disease led the prince to insanity and compelled him to commit the murders of prostitutes in the Whitechapel area. However, the author doesn’t stop here.
He goes on to state that the Royal family knew about the murders and who was behind them but did nothing. No attempt was made to restrain Prince Victor until after the double murders of Catherine Eddowes and Elizabeth Stride. In the end, the syphilis worsened, as well as his mental condition and the prince was confined to a mental hospital where he allegedly passed away due to “softening of the brain”
The truth is that there were few facts to support these claims. For one, the Prince was not even in London at the time most of these murders occurred. Investigators have concluded that he was miles away. Secondly, Dr. Stowell’s claim that he used Sir William Gull’s notes and papers cannot be confirmed. Dr. Stowell died within days of publishing that article. Sir William Gull died in 1890, two years before Prince Victor, and any hope to uncover the truth or the very fact that the Prince did, in fact, have syphilis died with him.
To this day, nothing has been proved about Royal family’s link or that Prince Victor was indeed the Ripper.
If you’d like to find out more about the suspects in the Ripper case, join us on one of our fantastic tours!