During the Victorian era, on the one hand, were the dignity and family values of the monarchy and on the other hand existed the sordid realities behind the curtain of respectability, especially the vices of prostitution, pornography, homosexuality etc. which were regarded as crimes in the Victorian era.
Many of the icons and idols of the Victorian era led a double-faced life. They had dual standards. On the face of the society, they led a normal and respectable life simultaneously living a scandalous life. They were equally indulged in malpractices. There were very notable members of the society who were indulged into such types of practices.
There is a big list of such people who were very famous because of their good works and contributions to the society during the Victorian era but were also equally famous for their acts which were looks down upon as crimes in those times.
Some of the very famous people amongst them are Oscar Wilde, Charles Dikens and Charles Parnell who were publicly ruined because of the sensational sex scandals. People from politics also led such dual life. The most famous of them was the great statesman, William Ewart Gladstone, who was elected four times as the Prime Minister, was in the habit of accosting prostitutes and indulging in self-flagellation.
Another incident was the Cleveland Street scandal of 1889 which publicized not only a homosexual brothel which was frequently visited by a number of high-society gentlemen but also gave a new meaning to the term gay.
Not only this, son of Queen Victoria himself, Edward the Prince of Wales, led a notorious luxurious life and was famous for a number of public affairs, most notably with the celebrated beauty and actress Lillie Langtry and also with Mrs. Alice Keppel.
Such was the double standards which existed during the Victorian era. People led a double-faced life. The Victorian era is famous for all such incidents which showed that not only high-profile people but also common man indulged in those practices which were given the status of crime and thus led a life of duality.