The Prince of Mirrors

Written by Alan Robert Clark
Review by Sally Zigmond

The Prince in question is Prince Albert Victor, eldest son of Edward, the Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra of Denmark. He was the heir presumptive to the British throne, and grandson of Queen Victoria.

Alas, though, when he was engaged to be married to Princess Mary (May) of Teck, he died of pneumonia, aged 28, before Queen Victoria and his father. May later married his younger brother, George, and they became King George V and Queen Mary, the grandparents of Queen Elizabeth II.

Known to his family as Eddy, there is still to this day much speculation surrounding Albert Victor as to his intelligence, character and lifestyle. He was thought to be lazy or what is now referred to as having educational special needs. He was well-liked, gentle and kind. However, this has not curbed lurid tales that he was Jack the Ripper or was involved in homosexual scandals. The latter looms large in this novel, which divides the narrative of Eddy’s life and that of his tutor at Cambridge, handsome, Eton Wall Game champion, Jem Stephen. This novel shows him to be a homosexual but surmises Eddy is bisexual. Whether there is any truth in this, I do not know, but the author has written a fascinating novel which held me from start to finish. How the Royal Family would view this novel, I daren’t think, but because none of their archives on Eddy are available to the public, we can only guess. At least, Clark makes no mention of any Jack the Ripper nonsense. What is good about this book is that it has further stirred me to research more about Queen Victoria’s many royal descendants.