A Secret Between Gentlemen: Lord Battersea's Hidden Scandal And The Lives It Changed Forever (Hardcover)
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Note: This First Edition has been superceded by the updated Second Edition.
A Secret Between Gentlemen: Lord Battersea's hidden scandal and the lives it changed forever is a true story stranger than fiction. Stretching from England to Australia and Algeria, it details a British Government coverup of a scandal involving great names. Suppressed for 120 years, this astonishing history of shattered and re-invented lives has never been told, and until recently could not be told.
A SECRET DEEPLY HIDDEN
The scandal occurred in the summer of 1902, as Britain was preparing for the coronation of King Edward VII. Behind the scenes, officials were scrambling to hush up a major criminal case. It involved the procurement of youths for thirty prominent and aristocratic gentlemen, including members of parliament.
The ringleader of the group was the M.P., connoisseur and plutocrat, Cyril Flower, Lord Battersea, who helped develop the London suburb of that name. Considered the most handsome man in Parliament, he was married to heiress Constance de Rothschild. The couple were renowned for their philanthropy.
The criminal investigation led detectives to country houses, private yachts, and other quarters of the rich and powerful. The police became alarmed at what they were uncovering, and it became a serious question of public policy as to how far they should proceed in their inquiries. The investigation would climax in a dramatic midnight arrest aboard a ship bound for France.
So grave was the scandal, it was smothered by officials, including King Edward VII, to avoid "a great national disgrace, and pollution of the public mind." All those involved were secretly granted immunity from prosecution, with the exception of two procurers from the gentry who were quietly imprisoned in a stage-managed trial. Following their release, they reinvented themselves, with extraordinary consequences. One became a renowned headmaster in Australia, and the other the patron of a composer who became famous. A third procurer, who absconded, converted to Catholicism and became a Vatican chamberlain to Pope Pius XI.
Meticulously researched in archives across the world, and with the help of living descendants, the 822 page book details the investigation, arrests and trial; and behind-the-scenes machinations. The first ever biography of the fascinating Lord Battersea, it also sheds light on Victorian and Edwardian society as a whole, from its highest reaches to its lowest depths. Included are 44 pages of photographs; some from private albums, never before published.