When the Prince of Wales caught typhoid at a party in Scarborough


THE D&S Times devoted a long, dense-type column to the Prince of Wales’ health as North Yorkshire was accused of bringing the monarchy – and heir to the throne – to its knees.

Prince Albert Edward had been a guest at a house party in Scarborough hosted by Lord Londesborough, the former town MP and one of the founders of the local football club, at Londesborough Lodge in The Crescent – The lodge is in a fabulous location on the cliff with its gardens falling down to the beach.

But, it was alleged, during the house party, the prince had contracted typhoid which killed one of his fellow guests, Lord Chesterfield, 40. Albert, 30, was so badly affected that he was taken to Sandringham, Norfolk, where his mother, Queen Victoria, learned he was going to succumb imminently.

D&S sister newspaper The Northern Echo reported how in St George’s Church in Northgate, Darlington, the preacher prayed “that the young man, whom we do not hold in very high esteem, now lying on a bed of disease in Sandringham, can be brought up in thought, in character and in spiritual life, so that he may become, like his father before him, an example of virtue and piety to the nation ”.

This strongly worded prayer reflected the national mood. Albert spent his life gambling, hunting, spending and eating and more – he had just been embroiled in a high society divorce case where he denied committing adultery. He had grown so tall that he was nicknamed “Tum Tum”; he was booed at races and in the streets, and republicanism was on the rise.

The D&S Times report on the Prince of Wales’ health 150 years ago

And now he was on the brink of death, and he could take with him the reputation of Scarborough, which prided itself on being a healthy seaside resort, so the D&S reported on the town’s public relations offensive.

“Regarding the sanitary arrangements at Lord Londesborough’s residence,” the newspaper said, “an official report has been issued indicating that the drains inside and out are in perfect condition and that no gas foul-smelling could not be generated there “.

Indeed, Scarborough must have been swarming with sanitary inspectors because the Lancet, the medical journal, had sent its own experts who concluded that the sewers were so bad that “a weak and deadly influence could have swept through the whole house or burst.” out of the closet ”used by the Prince himself.

King Edward VII who caught typhoid in Scarborough 150 years ago and almost died

King Edward VII who caught typhoid in Scarborough 150 years ago and almost died

“Lord Londesborough’s doctor, Mr. George P Dale, FRCS, writes to say that in 20 years of practice in Scarborough he has not seen 20 cases of typhoid fever,” said the D&S, refuting the claims.

But God moves in mysterious ways.

As the D&S reported 150 years ago this week, the prince was showing timid signs of success. He overcame the deadly infection and Prime Minister WE Gladstone took the opportunity to orchestrate an advertising campaign on his behalf and organized a service of thanksgiving for surviving him at the Scarborough Lurgy on February 27, 1872 in St Paul’s Cathedral. As the prince drove through the streets of the cathedral, he was cheered by the grateful audience.

The monarchy had faltered, but it had succeeded, and almost 30 years later, such was the longevity of his mother, the Prince of Wales became Edward VII.

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