Royals on tour

Politics, Pageantry and Colonialism

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.

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