John Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry

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The Marquess of Queensberry in 1896
John Sholto Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry (1844–1900) was a Scottish nobleman and boxing enthusiast, and the cause of Oscar Wilde's downfall.

Sporting interests

Queensberry was an enthusiast supporter of sports, particularly hunting, horse racing, and boxing. He was one of the founders of the Amateur Athletic Club, which in 1867 published the set of rules for boxing which bear his name.


Queensberry sat in the House of Lords from 1872 to 1880 as a representative of the Scottish Peers, but was excluded in 1880 when as an atheist he refused to take the oath of allegiance.


Queensberry was twice married and twice divorced, which was thought of as scandalous at the time.

His eldest son Francis Douglas, Viscount Drumlanrig, was made an English peer and thus took a seat in the House of Lords. There were rumours of a homosexual relationship between him and the prime minister, Lord Rosebery. His death in 1894 at the age of 27 has been suspected to have been murder.

Queensberry's third son was Lord Alfred Douglas, known as "Bosie", the friend and lover of Oscar Wilde. In 1895, Queensberry publicly accused Oscar Wilde of being a "posing somdomite" (sic). Wilde unsuccessfully sued him for libel, and as a result was prosecuted and imprisoned for homosexual offences.