The Court and Social pages of The Times listed many announcements of the arrival and departure of visiting maharajas. The most glittering events of the late nineteenth century was the Thakur Sahib Bhagvatsinh, a Rajput who ruled Gondal state from 1884 until his death and assumed the title of Maharaja in 1888. Bhagvatsinh left Gondal on 16 April 1883 and in Bombay embarked upon the SS Cathay, 'a floating hamlet' with 'all the comforts and conveniences of a land life'. Bhagvatsinh also attended Admiralty House to view Trooping the Colour, a state ball at Buckingham Palace and a 'wonderfully done' performance of Much Ado about Nothing at the Lyceum Theatre featuring Henry Irving and Ellen Terry. Leaving Britain, the European stage of Bhagvatsinh's tour began in Paris, where the people appeared to be less energetic than the British and 'idling about their work' due to 'epicurean habits'.
Royal tours of the 1800s and early 1900s, and since, have created much documentation, perhaps the most obvious record contained in newspapers and magazines, newsreels and then radio and television broadcasts. Tours expressed and promoted royal and imperial authority, though in some instances they revealed resistance against expansionist designs. The royal visitor was the central actor in a tour, but was surrounded by an entourage of other people and a store of paraphernalia that played essential roles. This book examines how presentation is managed when ambassadors are sent in place of the royal personage. Sultan Alauddin of Aceh mounted a royal tour by proxy in which he was embodied - and concealed - in his gifts and in the humbler persons of his placeholders. Prince Alfred Ernest Albert, Duke of Edinburgh, provided a template for later royal tours in three ways. First, he pioneered a new relationship with the Royal Navy as a training institution for British princes. Second, his lengthy visits paved the way for similarly ambitious global tours. Alfred's tours cultivated a range of trusted support staff. Imperial citizenship and even Britishness were embraced by non- English and non- British subjects of the queen. One young prince who was present in Britain at some of the most glittering events was Thakur Sahib Bhagvatsinh, a Rajput who ruled Gondal. The book also discusses Kaiser Wilhelm II's tour, King Sisowath and Emperor Khai Dinh's tour to France, the Portuguese crown prince's tour of Africa, and tours during Smuts's Raj.