The Trial That Proved Queen Victoria's Stalker's Guilt

A man by the name of Jonathan Childe, an army officer, had fallen into the delusion that the young Queen Victoria was madly in love with him. At the time, she was only 18 years old and had just met her future husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a year before.

Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.

In the course of five years, Childe had sent Queen Victoria several love letters which grew in intensity and offense. These were rebuffed by the young queen, and Childe was then requested to stop sending the letters. When he didn’t stop, his father determined to have him checked by doctors.

At the time, nobody understood Childe’s psychological condition, and doctors merely marked it as some form of partial insanity. Nevertheless, he was sent to a private asylum. Childe maintained that such treatment was uncalled for, and appealed to various people who defended him on his behalf.

Twelve years after his admission into the asylum, he was given a day in court in 1854. Overall, Childe appeared rational and normal in everyone’s eyes and he had the public on his side.

Childe had written a lot of letters to his friends and supporters. But some of these letters had strange codes written on them. So, his father sent some of his letters to Charles Babbage, the polymath, to decode the enigmatic ciphers.

Apparently, the ciphers, an example of which can be read on History Today, revealed the true nature of Jonathan Childe and his obsession over Queen Victoria, which bordered on insanity. Due to this revelation, Childe was sent to Ticehurst asylum, where he spent his days until his death at the age of 49 due to necrosis.

Although the case proved that the doctors had been justified in their assessments of Childe’s psychological condition, many believed that the way they dealt with it, particularly Childe’s confinement in a lunatic asylum, was unjust.

(Image credit: Prints, Drawings and Watercolors from the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library. Public Domain)

Source: neatorama

No votes yet.
Please wait...