Douglas was born at Ham Hill in Worcestershire, and educated at Winchester School and Magdalen College, Oxford. He met Oscar Wilde in 1891 and soon began an affair with him. When his father, John Sholto Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry, discovered his son's liaison, he publicly insulted Wilde with a misspelled note left at Wilde's club. The note was addressed to "Mr. Wilde posing as a Somdomite."
Wilde charged Queensberry with libel. The confrontation escalated, and some believe Lord Alfred egged Wilde on, to fight his father. Wilde was eventually formally accused of 'gross indecency', this being little more than a euphemism for any homosexual act, public or private, and he went to trial for that crime. Wilde was convicted and imprisoned for two years. Afterward, he and Douglas lived together in Naples for three months and then lived apart in Paris for a time.
In 1902 Douglas married Olive Eleanor Custance, an heiress and poet. They had one son, Raymond. Douglas published several volumes of poetry, some of which is well regarded, and two books about his relationship with Wilde, whom he had deserted in his hour of need.\n