There is nothing society loves more than titillating gossip, and in the
Victorian era scandals of all sorts proliferated the newspapers for society to
relish. The haute monde, the gentry, and even the lower class had an insatiable
appetite for the forbidden. The slightest mishap by a young lady was enough to
ignite the scorn and condemnation of society. Shocking scandals were a delicious
treat, and the most notable and scandalous included those surrounding money,
sex, politics, and the royal family!
Scandal sheets were avidly read by society, and its members relished reading
about the sins of others. In the latest book in my Scandalous House of
Calydon series, SINS OF A DUKE, Lady Constance was seen kissing a man with a
dastardly reputation at his gambling club Decadence. The morning after her visit
with the Duke of Mondvale at his den of sin, she found a very naughty tattle on
her in the scandal sheets for all of London to devour.
Not so shocking I believe, but such a scandal was enough to ruin a ladyâ€™s good
name in the Victorian era. In my research of past scandals, I found some really
delicious tattles. Some made me laughed, and a few made me winced. Below is a
peek at some sinful escapades from the era!
The Cleveland Street Scandal
A fifteen year old boy, Charles Thomas Swinscow, was discovered to be in
possession of fourteen shillings, equivalent to several weeks of his wages.
Investigation uncovered that he was a male prostitute working in a brothel at 19
Cleveland Street! The scandal fuelled the belief that homosexuality was an
aristocratic vice that corrupted lower-class youths. What was even more shocking
about this scandal was that it was rumored that one client of the brothel was
Prince Albert Victor, who was the eldest son of The Prince of Wales and Second
in line to the British Throne. It must be noted that this rumor has never been
substantiated, though the government was accused of covering up the scandal to
protect the names of any aristocratic patrons.
The Mordaunt Divorce Case
Lady Harriet Mordauntâ€™s daughter was thought to be blind at birth. In her fear
that she may had contracted syphilis, Lady Mordaunt confessed to her husband,
Sir Charles, that she had been unfaithful to him. Among her named lovers was the
Prince of Wales (Queen Victoriaâ€™s eldest son, heir to the throne, and later King
Edward VII). Shocking! This lead to divorce proceedings, and a buzz in London
with the scandalous tale.
Mistress, Not a Wife
Major The Rt. Hon. William Charles Yelverton, 4th Viscount Avonmore most
ardently fell in love with Theresa Longworth. Yet he ruined her, for he claimed
her as his lover without the benefit of a marriage. Their scandalous romance
shocked Victorian society, as Therese boldly accepted such a role, openly
admitting their relationship. They eventually got married in a secret ceremony
which was witnessed by neither family nor friends, or even a priest! (The
scoundrel!) A year later Yelverton made a bigamous marriage to Emily Marianne
Ashworth Forbes. The distraught Theresa took him to court seeking alimony.
Yelverton then insisted there was no marriage because of their religious
differences (he was Catholic and she was Protestant). In March, 1861, the Four
Courts in Dublin found in her favor, but a year later the Scottish Court of
Session in Edinburgh decided against her, although she later won on appeal. In
England, the case went as far as the House of Lords, where she lost and her
second appeal was dismissed. It was decided in his favor by the courts!
These scandals were far more ruinous than the supposed kiss between the Lord of
Sins and Lady Constance in SINS OF A DUKE, but the implications were certainly
disastrous for a well-bred lady. A thought from The Duke of Mondvale himself
when he saw the tattle sheet:
â€śShe is ruined. He already knew how the scandal would be received by society.
Because of his wealth and title he would be forgiven. Instead of calling him out
for his reprehensible actions of having her in his club and kissing her, the
mammas of the haute monde would applaud his good sense in escaping the trap the
bastard girl had set for him.â€ť
What are some of the most memorable scandals you have heard?
Thank you for having me!
About SINS OF A DUKE
She would be his perfect revenge...
All of the young ladies whispered about the Duke of Mondvale in hushed tones,
their eyes following his tall, dark figure with barely disguised lust. For the
newly-ostracized Lady Constance Thornton, he is magnetic and altogether
desirable. Irresistibly so. Since her reputation is already ruined in London
society, why shouldn't she be impudent and dance with the scandalous "Lord of Sin"?
Little does she know of his plans.
The beautiful and innocent Lady Constance is no mere plaything for Lucan
Wynwood. She will be his revenge. By ruining her, he will have his vengeance
against her brother. Except that the Lady Constance is full of surprises... and
now she could well be the ruin of him.
About Stacy Reid
Stacy is an avid reader of novels with a deep passion for writing. She
especially loves romance and adores writing about people falling in love. Stacy
lives a lot in the worlds she creates and actively speaks to her characters (out
loud). She has a warrior way, never give up on her dreams. When Stacy is not
writing, she spends a copious amount of time drooling over Rick Grimes from
Walking Dead, watching Japanese anime and playing video games with her
love, Dusean Nelson.
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