Alfred Cooper

Colonel Sir Alfred Cooper KT FRCS was a was a fashionable English surgeon and clubman of the late 19th century whose patients included Albert Edward, Prince of Wales. He was born on 28 January 1838 to William and Anna Cooper.

He was one of the Founders of the Lodge but did not hold office. He was, like the Founding WM Robert Grey, a member of the Prince of Wales’s No 259. He was appointed a Grand Steward in 1882. He was also a member of United Stuholme Lodge No 1591, now United Studholme Alliance Lodge.

Cooper was born in Bracondale, Norfolk, the son of William Cooper, barrister, by his wife Anna, née Marsh. He was educated at Merchant Taylors’ School. As a doctor and surgeon, his speciality was in venereal disease, which gave him an unusual degree of access to, and perspective on, late Victorian aristocrats and their notions of morality.

He was appointed a Surgeon-Lieutenant-Colonel to the Loyal Suffolk Hussars on 17 May 1899 serving as the senior medical officer to the regiment until he resigned his commission on 8 November 1902. He was considered a fine shot.

Cooper became the third husband of Lady Agnes Duff, and was devoted to her all his life. Lady Agnes Duff’s first husband, Viscount Dupplin, was the eldest son of the 12th Earl of Kinnoull, and her second husband had been a certain Herbert Flower. Lady Duff was the youngest daughter of James Duff, 5th Earl Fife by his wife, Lady Agnes Hay, herself the daughter of William Hay, 18th Earl of Erroll and granddaughter of King William IV by his mistress, the actress Dorothy Jordan. Lady Agnes Duff’s brother, Alexander Duff, 1st Duke of Fife, was the husband of Louise, Princess Royal, the eldest daughter of King Edward VII.

Cooper and his wife had four children together, the youngest being Duff Cooper, 1st Viscount Norwich, the prominent British statesman of the 1930s and 1940s. Sir Alfred’s descendants include the publisher Rupert Hart-Davis; his son, the television presenter Adam Hart-Davis; the writer John Julius Norwich; and the Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, a great-great-grandson.

He was knighted for services to medicine in the 1902 Coronation Honours. He was made a pAst Grand Ward and a Past Grand Assistant Sojourner by Grand Lodge and Grand Chapter respectively.

Cooper died in Menton, France in 1908.