The world's first celebrity stalker unmasked: The 14-year-old boy who broke into Buckingham Palace and stole Queen Victoria's knickers
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
Last updated at 8:06 AM on 2nd February 2011
Last updated at 8:06 AM on 2nd February 2011
He caused a right royal fuss by breaking into Buckingham Palace, sitting on the throne, sleeping in a servant’s bed and even stealing Queen Victoria’s knickers.
But brazen Edward Jones has earned a place in the history books – as the world’s first celebrity stalker.
Even by the standards of modern celebrity culture, the 14-year-old went to astonishing lengths to get close to the object of his admiration, breaking into the palace on three occasions.
Brazen: Edward Jones, left, went to astonishing lengths to get close to Queen Victoria, breaking into the palace on three occasions, once spending several hours hiding under her sofa
He was hauled in front of the authorities three times after sneaking into the monarch’s private apartments, and claimed to have slept in a servant’s bed, eaten in the kitchen, explored the drawing room and spent several hours hiding under the Queen’s sofa.
He proved such a nuisance that he was convicted in a secret trial - and eventually deported to Australia. But his story was uncovered by an academic who has spent five years researching the exploits of ‘the Boy Jones’.
Caught: This satirist's drawing shows the now famous Jones leading Lord Melbourne and his ministers back into Buckingham Palace after he broke in
Dr Jan Bondeson, from Cardiff University, used contemporary newspaper reports to piece together Jones’s life.
Between 1838 and 1841, Jones broke into the palace three times and managed to get within yards of the monarch. On one occasion, he read a letter taken from her private rooms and was caught in the palace with stolen women’s underwear spilling from his trousers.
The Queen, when told the boy had been found in her dressing room, wrote in her journal: ‘But supposing he had come into the Bedroom, how frightened I should have been.’ When Jones was hauled before the courts, he said he had simply ‘always wished to see the palace’.
Left: Auctioneers' assistant Sam Rhodes models a pair of Queen Victoria's giant 50-inch waist bloomers, which were auctioned in 2008. A young boy's repeated break-ins to Buckingham Palace where he stole Queen Victoria's underwear are finally revealed in a new book by Jan Bondeson, right
Dr Bondeson, a senior lecturer in rheumatology, said: ‘The Boy Jones had a remarkable ability to get into the palace. They just couldn’t keep him out.
‘He sat on the throne, he looked at books in the royal library and he went inside Queen Victoria’s private apartments – once he even stole her underwear.
‘The amazing thing is really how close he was able to get to the Queen, and the extraordinary lengths the authorities went to to get rid of him.
‘They were worried about what the Boy Jones might tell people, and what he might do. No one really knew what was going on in his head.’
Despite being found not guilty of theft in open court after his first break-in, in December 1838, the British authorities would not let Jones’s second and third offences go unpunished.
Modern-day Boy Jones: Michael Fagan broke into Buckingham Palace in 1982 and sat on a bed talking Queen Elizabeth
The government decided the boy was to appear in front of the Home Office and be sentenced by the Privy Council, in a process rarely used since Tudor times. They sentenced Jones to imprisonment twice, in December 1840 and again in March 1841, where he was forced to do hard labour with only stale bread and gruel for sustenance.
Each hearing was held in secret, and was intended to spare the royal family any further embarrassment.
But the authorities had not reckoned with the Boy Jones’s celebrity - and the attention of contemporary journalists who managed to interview him and record what happened.
According to Dr Bondeson’s research, Jones was transported to Western Australia to work as a pie seller, eventually moving to Melbourne to live with his brother.
He died an alcoholic on Boxing Day 1893, when he was in his 70s, after falling off a bridge drunk and landing on his head.
Dr Bondeson said: ‘The Boy Jones was the first known celebrity stalker in history.
‘But he was a strange kind of stalker. He didn’t follow the Queen everywhere, but had a fascination with Buckingham Palace itself.’
The extraordinary story of the world's first celebrity stalker, who persistently broke into Buckingham Palace and stole Queen Victoria's knickers, has been revealed.
The lad, a 14-year-old named Edward Jones, sat on the throne, read books in the library and even entered the monarch's private apartments right under the Queen's nose.
The incorrigible youngster proved so besotted with the notion of spending time in the palace that he broke in on three occasions - despite being hauled in front of the authorities each time.
- Queen Victoria's Stalker: The Strange Story of the Boy Jones' by Jan Bondeson is available from Amberley Publishing and costs £16.99
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