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Detail from a map of India and the Middle East, showing the route of the Prince of Wales' tour
The Prince of Wales's Tour of India in 1875-6

Albert Edward's tour aimed to strengthen ties between the two countries

En route to India

The Prince of Wales departed for his tour on 11 October 1875. From London, he travelled by rail and ferry to the port of Brindisi in southern Italy, where he boarded HMS Serapis, the ship that was to take the Prince and his entourage to India.

Prince's Indian Staff and Suite, Government House, Bombay : Prince of Wales Tour of India 1875-6.©

The Prince’s tour party included members of his household as well as advisors with experience of India. William Howard Russell, journalist for The Times newspaper, and the artist Sydney Prior Hall, joined the Prince. Russell kept a diary of the tour, which was later published with illustrations based on Hall’s sketches and watercolours. Other journalists and artists also travelled to India to report on the tour for their respective newspapers.

The Prince made brief stops at Athens, Cairo and Aden on the way to India. In Athens the Prince met George I, King of Greece, Ismail Pasha, Khedive of Egypt in Cairo and al-Fadl III ibn `Ali al-`Abdali, Sultan of Lahej in Aden. The Prince’s route to India made use of the Suez Canal, which had opened in 1869. The canal had reduced the journey from Britain to India by 4,500 miles, meaning that the Prince’s journey from Brindisi to Bombay took just over three weeks. On 8 November as Bombay drew closer, Russell observed in his diary that ‘a glorious sunrise promised one of those fine days which are somewhat too common in this part of the world’.

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