by the Prince & Princess of Wales (King George V & Queen Mary)

About the Royal visit to india in 1905-1906


Starting in the 1870s, Queen Victoria started sending members of the Royal Family on Royal Visits to different parts of the Empire.  There were several purposes for these visits.  First, it allowed members of British Foreign Service, British subjects in far flung colonies, and foreign leaders in ruled lands exposure to actual members of the Sovereign's Family.  Second, it allowed members of the Royal Family exposure and experience throughout the British Empire.  Finally, and probably the greatest motivation on the part of the Queen, was to send forth the people she trusted the most to have experiences in Her vast Empire so that they might return home and tell Her about Her subjects and lands.


There were many different visits to all parts of the Empire by the Queen's children between 1870 and Her death in 1901. The grandest of these was without question the Visit of the Prince of Wales (King Edward VII) to India in 1875-76.  After the death of the Queen in 1901, the Duke & Duchess of Cornwall & York (King George V & Queen Mary) were sent on a World Tour that included Canada, Australia, South Africa, and many other colonies around the world, on their return they became Prince & Princess of Wales.  In 1905-06, the Prince & Princess of Wales (King George V & Queen Mary) were sent on what was arguably the most intense and ambitious Royal Visit ever conducted by the Royal Family.  


Starting on November 10th 1905, and continuing until March 19th 1906, the Prince & Princess conducted what amounts to a rolling State Visit in India and Burma.  During this period they crisscrossed the Indian Subcontinent by train twice, sailing to Burma in-between.  The first leg from Bombay to Calcutta, conducting Durbars and visiting the important Maharajahs to British interests along the way.  The Royal Couple then sailed to Burma where they went from Rangoon to Mandalay by train, and returned by Irrawaddy Flotilla River Boat, then returning to India at Madras.  Their Royal Highnesses then proceeded from Madras to Karachi by Royal Train, again conducting visits, giving speeches, unveilings, and being hosted by leaders, both British and Indian throughout their journey.  It was a daunting schedule, even a month of which would have been impressive, but this was more then four months with only a couple of brief rest breaks, usually only accomplished when things were cancelled.


Not only did this visit expose the future King and Queen to the Indian Empire, and its leaders, but it also created relationships between those leaders and their future Sovereign.  Many of the personalities involved in the Visit, and the governing of India at this time, would play key roles during the first decade of King George V's reign, and would be the leaders of the British Government and Military during World War I.  The future King would also make life long friendships with several Indian Maharajahs.  The grandest of all of the 'Victorian' Tours, all others after it would pale by comparison. 

Timeline of the Royal Visit to India and Burma in 1905-1906:

Based on the Official Program: Government of India, Tour of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales 1905-06, (Calcutta: Thacker, Spink, and Co., 1905), 187 pages, plus maps…

The Royal Visit to India and Burma by the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1905-1906:

THE PURPOSE AND PROTOCOL OF THIS MOST ELABORATE IMPERIAL DIPLOMATIC EVENT