When she died in 2019, Lady Beth Douglas was named as the latest victim of the 'Queensberry Curse,' an affliction that has permeated one of Britain's oldest families. But what exactly is the 'Queensbury Curse' and what's its relationship with Oscar Wilde?
The dead of Lady Beth Douglas is the latest to strike in Britain's most colorful aristocratic dynasty, one which has endured centuries of misfortune resulting in the term 'Queensberry Curse.'
The 'Queensberry Curse' dates back several generations. Literature fans will recall that the 9th Marquess of Queensberry, John Sholto Douglas, was instrumental in the downfall of Irish playwright Oscar Wilde.
His son Lord Alfred Douglas, known as Bosie, was Wilde’s lover and this was a great bone of contention in the noble family. Said to be "vile-tempered," the Marquess was determined to bring Wilde down. He blatantly accused Wilde of homosexuality, which was illegal at the time.
Bosie convinced Wilde to sue his powerful father for libel in 1895. However, Wilde lost and was prosecuted for the 'crime'. He thus spent two years in prison and lost all of his money in court costs.
That year, Bosie fled abroad to escape the wrath of the trial, his brother died in a shooting accident, and his other brother was arrested in California for insanity. Similar incidents of suicides, arrests, death by shotgun, and family feuds seem to follow every generation of the storied family.
Lady Beth's father David, the 88-year-old 12th Marquess of Queensberry, has been married three times and has eight children by four women. He is a former professor of ceramics at the Royal College of Art where he befriended legendary artists like David Hockney and the photographer David Hockney.
Lady Beth's half-brother Lord Milo committed suicide in 2009 after battling manic depression for many years. One of her half-sisters, Lady Caroline, was previously married to Salem Bin Laden (older brother of Osama) and is now married to their younger brother Khaled Bin Laden after Salem was killed in a plane crash. Another half-sister, Lady Alice, married a convict whom she met while he was in jail and she was conducting a prison workshop.
In the current day, it is reported that Lady Beth died after injecting heroin - possibly for the first time. Tests also revealed cocaine and morphine in her blood.
According to the Daily Mail, She was a student and talented violinist but struggled with drug and alcohol addiction and was being treated for mental illness.
Westminster Coroner’s Court heard she died after going to a house party at a posh home in Notting Hill, London in March.
Her boyfriend Jenan Karagoli (21) said the pair had spent at least two days drinking and taking drugs while staying in hotels. At the house party he went out to buy wine and he returned to find her apparently asleep on a sofa where he joined her.
Karagoli admitted she had asked him to find heroin for her.
"I really didn’t want to do it. She used to snort heroin back before I even knew her," he told the court." She was reportedly "known" to local mental health outreach services since she was 13-years-old.
While he told her he didn't know anyone who could supply it, she made a phone call and was told about the house party. Karagoli, who had also been taking anti-anxiety medication and cocaine, said he did not know who supplied the lethal drug.
As per the Daily Mirror, Karagoli also told the court that Lady Beth (known as Ling Ling to friends and family) was working as a prostitute and performed dominatrix shows via the internet for money.
* This article was originally published on our sister publication IrishCentral in 2019.