Timeline to the Life of
Lord Alfred 'Bosie' Douglas




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BOSIE





1870
Lord Alfred Bruce Douglas "Bosie" is born on October 22nd.


1880
Sent to Lambrook, a preparatory school.


1881
Transferred to Wixenford.


1884
Enters public school at Winchester.


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1887
Historical records indicate that Bosie may have met Oscar as early as August of this year, at Rouen.


1889
Travels to France, the Cote d'Azur, and has his first love affair, with an older divorcee.


1889
Begins university with entrance at Magdalen College, Oxford.


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Bosie (center, top) at Magdelen with school mates


1891
Bosie is formally introduced to Oscar Wilde by Lionel Johnson. Oscar becomes so enamored of Bosie he writes a sonnet to him, The New Remorse.


1892
Bosie introduces Oscar to his father, the Marquess of Queensberry, at lunch in the Cafe Royal. Bosie edits and writes for The Spirit Lamp.


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1893
The infamous "prose poem" (reprinted below) is written by Oscar Wilde and sent to Lord Alfred. It is later translated to the French in sonnet form and published.


1894
Queensberry threatens to disown Bosie, his own son, unless he ceases his association with Wilde.


1895
Bosie's father, The Marquess of Queensberry sends a card to Wilde at the Albemarle Club, accusing Wilde of "posing as a somdomite" (sic). The subsequent legal actions result in a two-year prison sentence for Wilde, at hard labor.


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The Marquis of Queensberry


1897
Wilde writes De Profundis, a long letter to Bosie which is not received by Lord Alfred. Oscar is released from prison; Bosie meets him in Naples, Italy on September 4th.


1900
Wilde dies on November 30th. Bosie is chief mourner and pays funeral expenses.


1901
Bosie writes one of his most moving and finely written sonnets, The Dead Poet. Late in the year he travels to America.


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Olive Custance


1902
Bosie elopes with Olive Custance on March 4th and their only child, Raymond Wilfrid Sholto Douglas is born on November 17th.


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Raymond Douglas


1907
Becomes editor of the The Academy.


1910
Bosie ceases to edit The Academy.


1912
Bosie sues to protest the publishing of Oscar Wilde, A Critical Study, by Arthur Ransome. He loses the case, although disputed portions of the text were removed by the author in later editions.


1913
Declared bankrupt on the petition of a money-lender. Bosie and Olive are separated, but not divorced.


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Bosie in mid-life, with companion


1918
Bosie is called to testify in a scandalous libel suit brought against independent MP Pemberton Billing by dancer/actress Maude Allan (who was slated to appear in a London production of Oscar Wilde's Salome). Allan's suit maintained the MP's newpaper libeled her with a public accusation of lesbianism.


1920
Bosie founds Plain English and serves as Editor.


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1921
On February 4, 1921 the Evening News published an erroneous obituary of Lord Alfred Douglas, seriously denigrating Bosie's character. Bosie took the newspaper to court and in November 1921 he won his action.


1923
Takes legal action against Winston Churchill, loses, and is sentenced to six months in prison following Churchill's prosecution for criminal libel.


1924
During his incarceration at Wormwood Scrubs, Bosie writes one of his most important works, In Excelsis, a sonnet sequence. Released from prison in May, he travels to Belgium.


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1927
Bosie's son Raymond is diagnosed as a schizo-effective and enters St. Andrew's Hospital, a mental institution.


1932
Raymond is de-certified in April and released from the hospital, but suffers a breakdown and returns to St. Andrew's in June.


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1935
Bosie's beloved mother Sibyl, the Marchioness of Queensberry, dies at the age of 91. She is buried at the Franciscan Montastery at Crawley.


1943
Delivers a well-received lecture to the Royal Society of Literature, entitled The Principles of Poetry, which was subsequently published in a limited edition of 1000 copies.


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1944
Olive Custance Douglas dies of a cerebral hemorrage in February at the age of 67. Raymond is able to attend the funeral and in June is again de-certified and released from St. Andrew's Hospital. However, his conduct deteriorates culminating in a "brain-storm" and he is returned to St. Andrew's in November. (He is not released again and remains in the hospital until his death in October 1964).


1945
Bosie dies of congestive heart failure on Wedneday, March 20th at the age of 74. He was buried at the Franciscan Monastery, Crawley, West Sussex on 23 March where he is interred alongside his mother, Sibyl, Marchioness of Queensberry, who died October 31, 1935 at the age of 91. A single gravestone covers them both.






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The gravestone of Lord Alfred Douglas and
his mother, Sibyl Queensberry

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On the gravestone is written the following:


OF YOUR CHARITY
PRAY FOR REPOSE OF
THE SOUL OF
SIBYL QUEENSBERRY
WIDOW OF THE 8TH MARQUIS
OF QUEENSBERRY
DIED 31st OCTOBER 1935
ON WHOSE SOUL SWEET
JESUS HAVE MERCY
R . I . P

ALSO HER SON
ALFRED BRUCE DOUGLAS
BORN 22nd OCTOBER 1870
DIED 20th MARCH 1945

MAY THEY REST IN PEACE


(photos and text appear courtesy of Anthony Wynn)



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The Unofficial Website of Lord Alfred 'Bosie' Douglas is maintained
by author and playwright Anthony Wynn


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Letters, photographs and poems of Lord Alfred Douglas copyright the Lord Alfred Douglas Literary Estate and
have been reproduced and adapted by courtesy of John Rubinstein and John Stratford. All Rights Reserved.
No infringement of copyright is intended or implied, this site is provided for public informational purposes only.



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