This British Prince Was Rumored to Be Jack the Ripper

By: Ben Campbell | Published: Mar 02, 2024

The true identity of the mysterious 19th-century serial killer Jack the Ripper continues to garner attention to this day, over a century later. For five years, this dark figure terrorized people in London and was never brought to justice. 

One theory that’s become increasingly popular in recent years is that the serial killer was none other than Prince Albert Victor, the Duke of Clarence.

Who Was Jack the Ripper?

During the tail end of the 19th century, a serial killer, later known as Jack the Ripper, began murdering sex workers in the Whitechapel district of London.

A drawing of Jack the Ripper published by Punch Magazine in 1888

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Only five murders were ascribed to the London serial killer, occurring between August and November 1888. However, they share gruesome details.

Victims of Jack the Ripper

Police of the era were able to surmise the five killings were connected, as various similarities appeared throughout. 

An illustration of the death of one of Jack the Ripper’s Victims

Source: Wikimedia Commons

All were female sex workers who had their throats slit. More often than not, the victims were mutilated in a similar fashion by a figure who left taunting notes at the crime scene, referring to themselves as “Jack the Ripper.”

The Infamous Killer Was Never Caught

London police carried out extensive investigations during the era yet were unable to apprehend the serial killer.

A man in a long brown coat pictured lurking in the dark

Source: Freepik

To this day, Jack the Ripper’s identity remains uncertain. Yet, his dark persona lives on in the imaginations of people around the world, as the figure became the subject of various movies and novels.

Theories Surrounding the Identity of Jack the Ripper

As Jack the Ripper was never caught, plenty of theories centered on the killer’s true identity have been postulated over the years.

An older woman uses a magnifying glass to read an old newspaper article while seated at a wooden desk

Source: Freepik

While some have little to no evidence to support the claim, others play on politics of the era. One fascinating theory suggests that the grandson of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert Victor, was behind the gruesome killings.

The Life of Prince Albert

Historians agree Prince Albert was an intelligent prince who seemed destined to rule over Britain.

Prince Albert, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, dressed in his military uniform

Source: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Yet, he was no stranger to scandals. Albert was accused of being gay on numerous occasions, an accusation which came with severe consequences in 1889.


The Jack the Ripper Rumors

A much darker rumor that went beyond the prince’s sexuality began circulating long after his death: Albert was the elusive serial killer, Jack the Ripper. 

A man pictured sitting up on his bed as he reads a large blue book

Source: Freepik

In his 1976 book, “Jack The Ripper: The Final Solution,” Stephen Knight claims there is some evidence to suggest a connection between the prince and the serial killer (via All That’s Interesting).


Did Albert Have a Mental Illness?

Knight mentions two separate theories in his book. The first theory is that after Albert had contracted syphilis during an overseas trip, it spread to his brain, and this caused mental illness.

A man is pictured holding a large knife in an abandoned home

Source: Freepik

Now determined to take revenge on all sex workers, the Duke of Clarence went on a vicious killing spree, which ended with the death of five women (via The Guardian).


The Second Theory

Knight’s second theory suggests that Albert was less involved in the killings. Yet, they were a direct response to his actions. 

A man and a woman pictured holding hands on their wedding day

Source: Freepik

According to the theory, the prince had secretly married a Catholic woman, Annie Crook, and together they had a child.


Queen Victoria Steps In

After hearing of the news, Queen Victoria ordered her physician, Dr. Gull, to place Annie in a mental institution and use whatever means necessary to ensure she forgot everything that had ever happened.

Portrait of Queen Victoria, who ruled over Great Britain from 1837 to 1901

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The prince’s child was left with Mary Kelly, a sex worker and friend of Annie’s who later told friends of the relationship.


Sex Workers Killed by Secret Agents?

Fearing the news that Prince Albert, the future heir, had married a Catholic would begin to spread, the queen ordered her royal agents to dispose of Mary and anyone she had told about the secret marriage.

A secret agent with a pale face pictured in a dark black hat

Source: Freepik

During the era, members of the royal family were forbidden from marrying Catholics, let alone having children with them.


Could Prince Albert Have Been Jack the Ripper?

While the theory has sparked interest among many over the past six decades, there’s little factual evidence in support of the claim besides a testimony from a man who claims to be the grandson of Annie, Albert’s supposed wife.

Photograph of Prince Albert dressed in a sleek suit accompanied by a flower

Source: Wikimedia Commons

If true, the grandson would be a legitimate heir to the throne. Nonetheless, as it stands, the theory of Prince Albert as Jack the Ripper is nothing more than a fascinating rumor, and we may never get to the bottom of the mystery.