ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

King Edward VII Mordaunt Divorce Scandal

Updated on February 16, 2011

Prince Albert Edward was a grave disappointment to both of his parents. Queen Victoria and her consort, Prince Albert were determined to redeem the monarchy in the eyes of the British public. Before Victoria gained the throne, there were a succession of 4 dissolute monarchs, all named George, one of which was mad and all were incompetent.

Queen Victoria vowed to be a better monarch and to raise her son to be a good and honorable king. But Albert, nicknamed Bertie, did not like to study and regularly threw tantrums. This was bad enough but it got worse when he grew up.

Albert and Victoria had kept their son away from the English aristocracy because they felt that the nobility was only concerned with pleasure and vice and not suitable companions to a future king. But Bertie disagreed, he took to the nobility and their ways very quickly. As Prince of Wales, he was the toast of society, with or without his wife, Princess Alexandra. Bertie felt no compunction about being faithful to his loving wife. He had several mistresses, flirted with everybody and regularly visited Parisian brothels.

It wasn’t only the men of the nobility who indulged in affairs. At this time it wasn’t shocking for a married aristocratic lady to be unfaithful. As long as she was discreet and had provided her husband with a couple of male children before being unfaithful, it wasn’t a problem. The husband usually had a mistress anyway. Most members of the nobility accepted this, one reason why Victoria thought they were unsuitable companions.

However, not all husbands accepted adultery calmly.  One flirtation that Bertie conducted was with young Lady Harriet Mordaunt. She was 21, married and a flirt. Bertie met with her on several occasions without her husband, or anyone else, being presents.  One day she confessed to her husband, Sir Charles Mordaunt, that she had been unfaithful with numerous men. And indeed she was unfaithful, as love letters her husband found confirmed.

Sir Charles would not accept the situation and he sued for divorce. Lady Harriet’s lawyer claimed that his client was insane.  The letters were introduced in court and Bertie was summoned to give evidence, since he was the author of some of them. This was the first time in history that a Prince of Wales had been in the witness box of a public trial.

The letters were not explicit and Bertie argued that they were just friendly letters. He said there was no “improper familiarity or criminal act.” Ultimately he did not appear in court for the husband, he had been petitioned by Lady Harriet’s counsel to prove the letters were innocent and that she was not unfaithful. Her family, who by this time had locked Harriet up in an insane asylum, argued that the her confessed affairs were delusions of a troubled mind.

Bertie was nervous about giving evidence “ I shall be subject to a most rigid cross examination by (Mordaunt’s attorney) who will naturally try to turn and twist everything I say in order to compromise me. On the other hand, if I do not appear, the public may suppose that I shrink from answering these imputations which have been cast upon me. Under either circumstances I am in a very awkward position.” But he did give evidence in February of 1870. Bertie declared convincingly that he was only a friend to Harriet. Later the letters were published and proved to be harmless chit chat.

Ultimately the case was dismissed and no divorce granted, not because no adultery was proven but because Harriet was insane. She spent the next 3 decades in an insane asylum. Princess Alexandra stood by her husband, as she always would. Queen Victoria took the scandal as another sign that her son was not living up to the standards set by her late consort, Prince Albert. This would not be the last scandal involving Bertie.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)