Albert Victor Christian Edward (DNB01)

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ALBERT VICTOR CHRISTIAN EDWARD, Duke of Clarence and Avondale and Earl of Athlone (1864–1892), born at Frogmore, Buckinghamshire, on 8 Jan. 1864, was the eldest son of Albert Edward, prince of Wales (now Edward VII), and (Queen) Alexandra, eldest daughter of Christian IX, king of Denmark, Queen Victoria [q. v. Suppl.] was his grandmother, and Prince Albert Victor stood next to his father in the direct line of succession to the throne. He was baptised in Buckingham Palace chapel on 10 March following his birth, and was privately educated until 1877, when he was sent to join the training ship Britannia at Dartmouth. In 1879 he went with his brother Prince George (now Duke of Cornwall and York) on a three years' cruise in H.M.S. Bacchante, which sailed round the world and visited most of the British colonies. An account of the cruise, ‘compiled from the private journals, letters, and note-books’ of the young princes, was published in 1886 in two stout volumes by their tutor, the Rev. John N. (now Canon) Dalton. After some tuition in 1882-3 from James Kenneth Stephen [see under Stephen, Sir James Fitzjames], Prince Albert Victor was in October 1883 entered at Trinity College, Cambridge ; during the long vacations he studied at Heidelberg, and in 1888 he was created hon. LL.D. of Cambridge. He was then sent to Aldershot, became lieutenant in the 10th hussars in 1886, major in 1889, and in 1889 captain in the 9th lancers, captain in the 3rd king's royal rifles, and aide-de-camp to the queen. In 1887 he visited Ireland, and in 1889-90 India (see J. D. Rees, The Duke of Clarence in Southern India, London, 1891). On 24 May 1890 he was created Earl of Athlone and Duke of Clarence and Avondale. On 7 Dec. 1891 his betrothal was announced with his cousin, the Princess Mary of Teck (now the Duchess of Cornwall and York). The wedding was fixed for 27 Feb. 1892, but on 14 Jan. 1892 the duke died of pneumonia following influenza at Sandringham. He was buried in St. George's Chapel, Windsor, on 20 Jan. His place in the direct line of succession to the throne was taken by his brother George, then Duke of York. A portrait painted by J. Sant, R.A., in 1872, and another of him and Prince George as midshipmen, painted by C. Sohn, were exhibited in the Victorian Exhibition; other portraits are reproduced in Vincent's ‘Memoir.’ His death was the occasion of many laments in prose and verse, of which Tennyson's elegy, published in the ‘Nineteenth Century,’ February 1892, is the most notable. Lord Selborne wrote at the time, ‘I do not think there has been a more tragic event in our time, or one which is more likely to touch the hearts of the people generally’ (Memorials, ii. 373), On 18 Dec. 1892 King Edward VII, then Prince of Wales, laid the foundation-stone of the ‘Clarence Memorial Wing’ of St. Mary's Hospital, Paddington, which was designed to commemorate the duke's name.

[Memoir by J. G. Vincent, 1893; G. E. C[okayne]'s Complete Peerage, viii. 237–8; Dalton's Cruise of the Bacchante, 1886; Men of the Time, ed. 1891; Times, 15–21 Jan. 1892; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

A. F. P.