Edward Jones, also known as The Boy Jones, is remembered for sneaking into the Buckingham Palace to stalk Queen Victoria.
He was caught on the palace grounds three times including one time he almost made away with the queen’s underwear. The British government got enough of him and even kidnapped him twice.
Once, they sent him to a ship in the middle of the sea. But he always returned.
The First Sneak-in
On December 14, 1838, a strange and rough-looking boy was found strolling across the grounds of the Buckingham Palace.
No one thought much about him since he was mistaken to be one of the chimney sweeps who swept the palace’s chimneys.
But Jones got scared and ran across the lawn where he was apprehended by a police officer.
During interrogations, he claimed his name was Edward Cotton and he had been born in the palace.
Later on, he claimed he came from Hertfordshire and had been living in the castle for a year.
The truth was that he was Edward Jones, the 14-year-old son of a tailor who lived a short distance from the palace.
His father had sent him away from home for bad behavior and he had taken employment as an errand boy.
He disappeared from his place of work and was arrested in the palace three days later.
Before his disappearance, he had told people of his intention of sneaking into the palace to sketch the staircase and meet Queen Victoria (1819–1901), who unknown to him, was at Windsor Palace.
A court sat over the incident on December 26, 1838 and declared Jones innocent since he had not stolen anything.
Boy Jones Steals Queen Victoria’s Underwear
This probably reinforced Edward Jones, who was later nicknamed The Boy Jones, to launch similar sneak-ins where he sat on the throne, went through several books in the library, ate food in the kitchen, entered the queen’s private quarters and hid under her sofa.
On one occasion, he stole her underwear and almost made away with it until it was found in his trousers.
Boy Jones was caught on the grounds of the palace three times between 1838 and 1841 and claimed he had been there a fourth time.
However, it is believed that he had been there on more than four occasions.
He entered the palace through unlocked doors and windows and claimed he repeatedly sneaked in because he wanted to see the palace and write a book about it.
His sneak-ins created so much embarrassment for the government that they censored the media regarding news about him.
The government also feared he might see the Queen naked or could even return with a gun to kill the Queen or her husband, Prince Albert, who he might have seen as a rival.
Despite the censorship, Boy Jones became so popular that he was called “the guy who stalked the Queen.” He is even cited as the world’s first celebrity stalker.
Boy Jones’s obsession with Queen Victoria is surprising since he was not a fan of women.
He is said to be a wide-mouthed and ugly fellow who rarely bathed and looked very rough.
The British Government Kidnaps Boy Jones
Searching for a lasting solution, the government sent Jones to prison for three months only for him to return to continue sneaking into the palace.
Fed up with his antics, the government kidnapped him and shipped him to Brazil, thinking they had gotten rid of him once and for all.
Boy Jones returned and was kidnapped the second time and imprisoned on a prison ship docked on the seas for six years.
Boy Jones took to alcoholism and burglary after his second release and was arrested and deported to Australia.
As usual, he returned but was convinced by his brother to return back to Australia. He died on December 26, 1893, after he got drunk and fell off a bridge, landing on his head.
Boy Jones never got to write his book but Jan Bondeson of Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, wrote a book about him titled: Queen Victoria and the Stalker: The Strange Story of the Boy Jones.
Because Information about Boy Jones was not readily available, Bondeson depended on news reports from newspapers of the day.
Boy Jones story also inspired a novel and movie, both titled The Murdarks.
The title is gotten from the term “Mudlark,” which refers to one of the several children and adults that scavenged the banks of the River Thames between the 18th and 19th century for anything they could sell.
The novel was written by Theodore Bonnet, who depicted Boy Jones as a seven years old homeless street urchin named Wheeler.
In the movie, Boy Jones is depicted as a ten year old boy who finds a cameo — a small oval jewelry — containing the portrait of a woman who he is told, is Queen Victoria, the mother of England.
He takes the statement to literal value and goes to Windsor palace to see his supposed mother and is caught by the palace guards who think he wants to assassinate the Queen.
Boy Jones was only saved by Benjamin Disraeli, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who discovered he was innocent.
Disraeli fights for Boy Jones freedom in the Parliament where he blamed the Queen for withdrawing from the public.
Disraeli’s statement got the Queen angry but she realizes he is telling the truth. So, she meets the boy and starts appearing in public once again.