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‘Kind words from distant friends’

In 1875–6, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, toured India for four months. Queen Victoria was formally declared ‘Empress of India’ the following year. She wrote that ‘kind words from distant friends are the most precious of all gifts’ and received many autobiographies, histories and other books written about or dedicated to her in several South Asian languages including Hindi/Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi and Tamil. These books reflect the transition from scribal to print culture and the development of a commercial book trade in South Asia in the nineteenth century.

Calcutta, Bombay & Simla : Bourne & Shepherd (active 1864-1900s)

Indian Chiefs, 1887