Queen Victoria And Jack The Ripper

As somebody who has been conducting Jack the Ripper tours now for over 40 years, I have lost count of the number of times that a member of one of my tour groups has approached me, and informed me that the murderer was a member of the Royal family.

The theory that the world’s most infamous serial killer was part of the Monarchy has been around since the 1960s.


The Royal in question is, or was, Prince Albert Edward Victor, the Duke of Clarence and the heir presumptive to the throne of England.

Now, I should say – with a thousand apologies to those who are convinced that the Whitechapel murderer was a deranged member of the Monarchy – there is no proof whatsoever, other than wishful thinking and wild speculation, to link Jack the Ripper with the Royal family.

A portrait of Prince Albert Edward Victor.
Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale (1864 – 1892). From The Illustrated London News, 23rd January 1892. Copyright, The British Library Board.


Indeed, we know exactly where Prince Albert Edward Victor was on the nights of the murders, and none of those places included the East End of London or anywhere near it!

But, conspiracy theories are hugely popular and so it is going to be some time before this particular theory goes away, so let’s just say, one last time, Jack the Ripper emphatically was NOT a member of the Royal family.


However, that’s not to say that Queen Victoria didn’t take an interest in the crimes.

As you will see from the following video, she read about the murders in the newspapers, and she was more than willing to contact various Government officials to proffer her opinions on various ways in which the police investigation into the crimes could be improved.


One of the ways in which Victoria was involved in the Whitechapel murders was that she was petitioned by several of her subjects seeking her assistance.

The first of these was Mr. George Lusk, the Chairman of the Mile End Vigilance Committee.

Lusk wanted her to intervene with the Home Secretary, Henry Matthews, to encourage him to offer an official reward for information that might lead to the apprehension of the perpetrator of the crimes.

The probability is that Queen Victoria never saw Lusk’s petition, and one of the Home Secretary’s underlings, Edward Leigh Pemberton, responded to say that no reward would be offered.


Another “subject” who petitioned Her Majesty was Mrs. Henrietta Barnett, the wife of Samuel Barnett, the vicar of St Jude’s church on Commercial Street.

Henrietta Barnett’s petition was signed by between four and five thousand of the “labouring women of Whitechapel”, and it implored the Queen to intervene with her officials to ask them to rid the streets of the East End of the vice and wickedness that had been highlighted at the inquests into the deaths of the victims of the Whitechapel murderer.

Again, it is unlikely that the queen ever actually saw the petition, and Henrietta Barnett received a reply from Home Office Mandarin Mr. Godfrey Lushington, telling her that the Home Secretary was impressed by the fact that the women who had signed the petition were such a force for good in the area, but basically saying that he was going to do nothing to change things!


In November 1888, in the aftermath of the murder of MaryKelly, Victoria sent several communications to members of her Government informing them that this latest ghastly murder showed the deficiencies in the detective force of the Metropolitan Police. “They are not what they should be”, was her terse judgment.

She also urged that all the courts in the East End of London should be lit by night.

Of course, it is unlikely that the government ministers ever passed the Queen’s opinions on to the detectives at Scotland Yard, but it is intriguing to know that, along with millions of her subjects, Queen Victoria did take an interest in the Jack the Ripper murders.