[bibliographical information: The Prince, His Tutor and the Ripper by Deborah McDonald. Published by McFarland Press. ISBN 978-0-7864-3018-5.'
Despite its title this book is a serious work exposing the life of James Kenneth Stephen and his relationship with Prince Albert Victor Edward known as Prince Eddy. Stephen’s life is set against a background of ‘Socratic love’, homosexuality, and paedophilia prevalent in English public schools, and the author has gone back to original sources, most of which have apparently never before been used in association with him, and most importantly among this information was his mother’s diary that charts the course of his fatal illness.
This volume takes an in-depth look at the life and experiences of Stephen, examining the relevant evidence and attempting to determine whether or not he could actually have been involved in the Ripper murders.
Delving into what little is known of Stephen’s early years, the work discusses his relationship with his mother and his family’s struggle with a hereditary mental illness. It follows him through his formative years at Eton and King’s College, Cambridge (image). It examines the period when he became Prince Eddy’s tutor and concludes with first hand accounts of both his death at a Victorian mental hospital and that of the Prince at Sandringham just two weeks earlier.
It includes the revelation that Stephen had a relationship with Eleanor Tennyson, the Poet’s daughter-in-law and the devastating effect this had on his mental state during 1888.
Appendices contain some of Stephen’s poetry and details regarding his family ancestry including the genetic mental illness that can be traced through the family down the generations and which was later to claim the life of his cousin Virginia Woolf.
For further information on James Kenneth Stephen visit the author’s website at www.deborahmcdonald.co.uk
Last modified 12 March 2009