Royal baccarat scandal
The Tranby Croft affair was a British gambling scandal of the late 19th century. Sir William Gordon-Cumming, a lieutenant colonel in the Scots Guards, was accused of cheating at baccarat. The Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII, was called as a witness for the first time since 1411. The case was heard in June 1891, and the judge’s summing up was described as biased by some.
About Royal baccarat scandal in brief
The Tranby Croft affair was a British gambling scandal of the late 19th century. Sir William Gordon-Cumming, a lieutenant colonel in the Scots Guards, was accused of cheating at baccarat. The Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII, was called as a witness for the first time since 1411. The prince was ostracised from society for the rest of his life. The affair has been of subsequent interest to writers; two books have examined the matter, and there have been two fictionalised accounts of the events. The case was heard in June 1891, and the judge’s summing up was described as biased by some. The jury found against the lieutenant colonel, and he was dismissed from the army the following day. Edward did not want to appear in court, and wrote to the Lord Chancellor to see if this could be avoided. Although Edward was subpoenaed to appear, he did not carry out his threat of divorce citing the prince as co-respondent in the subsequent divorce case. In April 1869 Sir Charles Mordaunt had learnt that his wife Harriet had three separate affairs, and that her lovers included the heir to the throne. In 1866 he had incurred the censure of his mother, when he became involved with \”the fast racing set\”, and his betting had harmed his reputation and his reputation. He was unmarried at the time of the event and was a 49-year-old married father of five.
He had a history of association with scandals, and had been involved with scandals in 1866 and 1869. The scandal started during a house party in September 1890, when the prince was invited to stay at the home of Arthur Wilson and his family. Among Edward’s party were his advisers, Lord Coventry and Lieutenant-General Owen Williams. On the first night the guests played baccaret, and Wilson’s son Stanley thought he saw Gordon- Cumming illegally adding to his stake. The family members asked the advice of the royal courtiers who, with the agreement of the prince, pressured him into signing a document that declared he would never play cards again, in exchange for the silence of the guests. The secret was not kept for long, and Gordon- cumming demanded a retraction from the Wilson family, whom he considered to blame for divulging the news. He filed a writ for slander in February 1891. In addition to considerable land holdings in Scotland, Gordon-cumming owned a house in Belgravia, London, and would lend it to the prince for assignations with royal mistresses. His liaisons included Lillie Langtry, Sarah Bernhardt and Lady Randolph Churchill. He was a womaniser, and stated that his aim was to ‘perforate’ members of ‘the sex’ He was married in 1891 and had a son, Edward, who was born in 1894. He died in 1896 at the age of 49.