The People of Gibraltar
1900s - The Royal Visits - Master of the Seven Seas

Colonel Dewing and Mr T.Collins - Mr Robert and Montegriffo
Mr Hasluck and S.L. Bensusan - George Stuart White and General J.C. Dalton
Lady White and Paulo Larios - Benoliel and Mrs Joseph A Patron
Mrs H.J. King and Sir Herbert - Lady Miles and John Neish
Messrs Pohoomal and Mr Giuseppi Codali - Detective Inspector Gilbert 

Victoria would soon pass on - but Britain still retained her position during the beginning of the 20th century as the 'greatest power on earth', not just because of her industrial might but because of the sheer size of her Empire - of which Gibraltar was no small part. Those Royal visitors would continue to be carefully hand-guided on to Ragged Staff (see LINK) or the wharf at the Old Mole for many years to come - just as they had during the 19th century. ( see LINK

Duke and Duchess of York and Cornwall
March  20 1901 - The Duke and Duchess of York and Cornwall arrived on the Ophir escorted by the Diadem and Niobe . The future George V and his wife Princess Mary of Teck had only a few months previously added on the extra 'and Cornwall' to their many other titles. They were on their way to Australia and the trip was big news back home in the UK. 

Here is a quote from the Sketch, cringe-worthy even by the standards of the early 1900s
Everybody knows that she (the Ophir ) will carry Rear-Admiral the Duke of Cornwall and York and the Duchess upon the happily thought of Australian trip. The Australians will see more than a Royal Prince and Heir to the Empire on which the sun never sets and his bonnie wife. They will also see
It is no secret afloat that few of our admirals would care to be compared professionally with our gallant Sailor Prince. Prince George's passion for a life on the ocean wave is well known, and he is never happier than when 'rocked in the cradle of the deep'. No one objects to 'loafing about in harbour' more than he. To fight the raging gale is the Duke's special metier. 'Master of the Seven Seas' is one of the titles of the King of England; how doubly appropriate will it be in the case of our Sailor Prince as next heir to that glorious mastery!

Two Warships in a Swell . . . identified as HMS Diana and HMS Andromeda. They were escorts to HMS Ophir on the Dominion tour of the Duke and Duchess    ( 1901 - Eduardo de Martino )  (See LINK)

The Duke must have been in his element as the weather was dreadful which made  it impossible for  the Royal visitors to land. The Ophir anchored well away from the harbour and then wandered around the Bay the next morning to 'ringing cheers by all the crews'.  All the ships in port were dressed in bunting.  

Bad weather on the Ophir  ( The Graphic )

The Ophir being met on arrival  (The Graphic )

The caption reads:
A visit to the Governor of Gibraltar: The Admiralty Boat on her way
The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York went ashore in Gibraltar in the Admiralty boat manned by sixteen picked seamen and lead by a steam pinnace. Their course lay between two small quays, and over the passage was stretched a broad strip of coloured canvas bearing the word 'Welcome'. On landing at the Dockyard their Royal Highnesses were received by Sir George and Lady White   ( The Graphic - Supplement ) 

The Royal couple being brought ashore ( Illustrated London News )

The  Royal Couple finally make on to dry land

Same again

Once safely on dry land they were subjected to a rigorous program of entertainment: lunch with the Royal Fusiliers at their Line Wall Mess, dinner at the Convent and a procession through town so that the natives could have a good look. And it was the natives themselves who contributed to the occasion by distributing to the poor 1000 lbs of meat and 2000 lbs of bread. According to the Gibraltar Chronicle:
 . .  no one on these eventful days of their Royal Highnesses' visit should feel the pangs of hunger.

( With thanks to Andrew Schembri )

Reception at the Convent - or Government House according to the original caption  ( Sydney Prtior Hall )

The Chronicle also carried a detail account of the procession itself:
Passing along the street from Southport Gate we first noticed the Soldiers' Club . . . with its illuminated entrance . .  on the right the Engineer Barracks and Colonel Dewing's house had festoons and lamps. Mr Collins, the tobacconist, ever ready to display his loyalty and his cigars had his house covered with lights  . .  The street was brilliant from light from gas-lit arches. Mr. Robert's Chemist's shop was particularly well done  . . . 
Perhaps the most elaborate  . . of the decorations were those displayed by the Calpe Club ( el Casino Calpe ) the splendid design in gas work, the handsome arch, the festooned greenery  . .  making a great show. Montegriffo had words of welcome illuminating his shop. The Gas office was naturally a blaze of light.
. . . the residence of the Messrs Larios  made a specially brilliant spectacle.. Connaught House, as it is called in memory of when . . Mr. Pablo Larios lent it to His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught was a blaze of colour.
The Bristol and Royal Hotels were profusely lit . .  as were the Grand and the Cecil. The Universal Coffee House and the Victoria Coffee House were prettily decorated. The Post Office was marked out by lights . . . and numerous other places such as the Eastern Telegraph Office, the Rotal Fire Insurance and Mr. Hasluck's Establishment. 

At night the entire fleet was illuminated in the harbour. The next day it rained but bad weather or no bad weather the royal couple were taken across the harbour to the new Detached Mole where they added a huge concrete block to the ongoing construction.  

 Nevertheless, as the guests settled for a dinner party at the Ophir, the Royal Artillery put on a show for them. Holding coloured lamps away from the harbour the men had positioned themselves all along the Rock and at a given signal they turned and the entire form of the Rock was illuminated with coloured lights. A huge bonfire was also lit at Rock Gun and kept going all night. The poor of Gibraltar ate their bread and meat and shook their heads in disbelief.

The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall adding a concrete block to the detached Mole ( The Sphere )

Adding the last block of the New Mole ( Frederick de Haenen )

The newly built mole was under criticism at the time because it was thought to be vulnerable to attack and that not enough thought had been given to its defences. A week or so before the laying of the  block an article appeared on the Sketch outlining the political reasons why such shortsightedness might not be in Britain's interests. It was written by a Gibraltarian journalist - S.L. Bensusan.

Political article by S. L. Bensusan

The Royal couple left two days later to the cheers of the Garrison and sound of the thundering guns from the shore batteries and the ships of the Channel Fleet.

Edward VII
On April 8th 1903 Edward VII arrived in the in Royal Yacht Victoria and Albert. It was the first time a British Sovereign had ever visited the Rock. 

Arrival of the Victoria and Albert   ( The Graphic )

The Graphic

The King in 1903 ( French magazine )

The town was - as usual for such occasions - gaily en fete and as the Kings entourage passed Mr Collins Tobacconist, during their procession up Main Street, he noticed two veterans with Crimean Medals standing by the doorway. He stopped his carriage, spoke a few words and shook hands with both of them - a day to remember for Messrs T. Collins and John Neish. 

During the after dinner speeches at the Convent, it was the turn of the Governor of Gibraltar - Sir George Stuart White - to feel pleased. The King announced his appointment as Field Marshal.

The appointment of George White as Field Marshal by King Edward

The 'Great Searchlight' display

Field Marshal George Stuart White

Among other chores the King  also laid a coping stone at No 3 Dock which would also known as King Edward VII Dock    ( The Graphic )

King Edward stayed till the 13th April when he left for Malta ( The Graphic )

The procession 

A series of undated photographs, one of which shows Edward VII may or may not refer to this particular visit to Gibraltar by King Edward VII. 

Royal coach at the ready outside Mount Pleasant, once the official residence of the Admiral of the fleet in Gibraltar. The King may have preferred its superb location to that of the rather drabber Governor's residence in the Convent

The same carriage with the King. His companion looks suspiciously like the Kaiser, but there is no evidence that the two were ever in Gibraltar at the same time. The look-alike is almost certainly the Governor, Sir George Stuart White. 

Welcoming the King - probably somewhere in the Alameda Gardens

These two photographs were possibly taken outside the Mount during Edward's visit. Some of these people may have been local servants and other dogsbodies responsible for looking after the place during his visit

There is no doubt that the visit of King Edward VII was considered as a massive event in Gibraltar. As local Historian, Tommy Finlayson suggests in his Stories from the Rock, even before the King had actually set foot on the Rock it became an all absorbing topic. Everybody seemed determined that no expense should be spared as regards decorating the place in an appropriate manner. According to the Chronicle:
. . . blossoms of every hue beatified many of the arches, festoons of folage spanned the streets, and choice blooms were piled in balconies and on window-ledges to be flung down in scented showers as the King's carriage passed below.
In Convent Place, Mr Tudbury, the local architect responsible for the construction of the Sacred Heart Church, erected a fifty foot high Moorish arch. The Supreme Court had the word 'Justice' in lights, and the Casino Calpe had an arch surmounted by Britannia.

This arch was constructed on the occasion of the Prince of Wales' visit in 1876 - Difficult to believe the Casino Calpe would have dared to use a second-hand arch now that he was King

The Cathedral, the Chamber of Commerce, Connaught House, the Mediterranean Rowing Club were all conventionally decorated but Messrs Pohoomal, on behalf of the Indian community, demonstrated their loyalty with a display of beautiful Indian tapestries. 

On the last day of his visit the King planted three pine trees in the garden of the Convent. They had originally been sown and nursed as seedlings by Mr. Giuseppi Codali, Head Gardener of the Alameda Gardens. And that was the end of that.

A slight exageration?

The Victoria and Albert leaving town in style

Queen Alexandra with Princess Charles Denmark
In Mar 28 1905 Queen Alexandra and Princess Charles Denmark arrived on the Royal Yacht.

The arrival of Queen Alexandra   ( The Graphic )

According to the Graphic magazine;
When the Queen arrived at Gibraltar all the ships of the Atlantic Fleet and the 2nd Cruiser Squadron both of which happened to be at the Rock at the time. They all fired salutes and dressed and manned ships. As soon as the Royal Yacht was moored, all the Admirals went on board. Very soon afterwards her majesty went on shore in a barge, passing through a double line of cutters with oars raised. The scene thus presented was exceedingly pretty.
They left on March 31st.

On May 17th 1905 Queen Alexandra returned to Gibraltar with her daughter Princess Victoria and the Prince and Princess Charles Denmark. This time it was an unofficial visit. They had tea at the convent with Lady White who later took her to see the newly opened Military Hospital, aka Station Hospital, aka Wedgewood Castle - and later more commonly  known as the Royal Naval Hospital. They were accompanied by General J.C. Dalton, who was acting Governor at the time.  In his youth he had once been an editor of the Gibraltar Chronicle.

The new Military Hospital     ( Beanland Malin ) (see LINK

Queen Alexandra, her daughter Princess Victoria and two Royal dogs aboard the Royal Yacht

Queen Alexandra on a visit to the Almoraima

Prince and Princess of Wales
A year or so later on April 30th 1906 Prince and Princess of Wales - the future George V and his wife - arrived on HMS Renown. He was on his way back home after -among other things - hunting tigers in India. The left on May the 2nd.

Prince and Princess of Wales

Queen Alexandra and Princess Victoria
Less than a month later on May 14th 1906 their mother Queen Alexandra was back in Gibraltar together with her daughter Princess Victoria,. During their stay they drove through town and visited Algeciras and the waterfalls. They were also entertained in Guadacorte by both the Larios (see LINK) and Mr. Benoliel (see LINK) who owned impressive properties in the area.

Drawing of the Palacio de Guadacorte owned by the Larios family ( A. Alvarez )

Princess Royal and the Duke of Fife
On February 5 1907 the Princess Royal and her husband the Duke of Fife visited Gibraltar for the first time. They seemed to have loved the place as they stayed for a month. Less than a year later they were back. This time they stayed for over three months.

Duke of Connaught , the Duchess and Princess Patricia 
It was then the turn of the aging Duke of Connaught. He simply couldn't keep away. He had been accumulating titles over the years and was now not only a Field Marshal but also High Commissioner of the Mediterranean. He arrived on April 6 1908 and he did not come alone. His wife the Duchess of Connaught, his daughter the lovely Princess Patricia and a large retinue of military staff and hangers-on came along with him. While on the Rock he accompanied the Governor to the Upper Rock and took part in the annual mobilization exercises. They left on the 12th of April.

Princess Patricia

Kaiser Wilhelm II
On the 18th of March 1904, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany arrived in Gibraltar aboard the North German Lloyd steamship Koenig Albert escorted by the armoured cruiser Prinz Freiderich Karl. He was welcomed by the Governor of Gibraltar, Sir George Stuart White.

The Koenig Albert outside Gibraltar Harbour

The German Armoured Cruiser Prinz Frederich Karl

Ships of the Channel Squadron saluting the arrival of the Kaiser

The Kaiser  being greeted by a guard of honour with a bedecked Koenig Albert as a backdrop.

Waiting for the Kaiser?

Are they coming or going?

The long route to the convent from Waterport was through the Casemates, all the way to Europa Point, then to North Front and finally back to the Convent for Lunch.  The route was  lined with troops and bluejackets as well as cheering crowds. The locals probably didn't make much of an impression but the Kaiser was taken by the 'seamanlike appearance of the bluejackets - which might have had something to do with the fact that they were all wearing very nautical looking sennet hats. He also admired the fine physique of the soldiers.

The Kaiser and Sir George White on their way to Europa Point

The Emperor being escorted through the town by the Governor, Sir George White. Wilhelm is wearing the uniform of a 'British field Marshal

As part of the hospitality program, the Kaiser was taken on a tour of Gibraltar's fortifications. He was just as complimentary about them as he had been for the bluejackets. He was not surprised at Gibraltar's reputation for impregnability but they had certainly surpassed his expectations. His diplomatic and much quoted comment was that the Rock was a 'grand' place,  'like everything English '.

Later he entertained Vice-Admiral Lord Charles Beresford - who had recently been appointed commander of the Channel squadron - aboard the Koenig Albert. It was in many ways a curious meeting. Since 1902, Britain had considered Germany as its principle naval enemy. The Channel squadron that Beresford commanded had just been created from a reorganisation of the Home fleet in order to protect British home waters from Germany. It now had the biggest and the most powerful ships available and was - to paraphrase the Kaiser, as 'grand' as everything else in the Royal Navy.

The Kaiser and Lord Beresford

The Channel Squadron at Gibraltar - The ship in the middle of the harbour could be HMS  Majestic probably the biggest dreadnought in the Royal Navy at the time

The Channel Squadron. Most of these were sister ships to the Majestic. These were the last battleships to be built with side by side funnels

The Channel Squadron - photo probably taken from the Koenig Albert

Back to the Koenig Albert for the last time.

Farewell to Gibraltar

Yet for all the importance one would have expected the Gibraltar authorities to have attached to a visit by an immediate relative of the Royal family - as well as the head of an important European power - it is not even given a mention in the pre-war Gibraltar Directory of 1937.

Kaiser Wilhelm II - Second Visit
In 1905 the Kaiser visited Tangier on a political mission which was more or less forced upon him by his Reichstag ministers. They wanted him to bolster the position of the Sultan of Morocco in relation to the French. After much humming and hawing he reluctantly travelled to Tangier to do as he was asked. It was not a success. On his return home he stopped at Gibraltar and was met with a frosty reception. This is how Wilhelm himself put it in his Memoirs.
The first I learned about the consequences of my Tangier visit was when I got to Gibraltar and was formally and frigidly received by the English, in marked contrast to my cordial reception the year before.
The visit is again omitted from many of those local Gibraltar records where one would have expected it to have been mentioned The lack of the usual photographic evidence also suggests he stayed on board his yacht and never actually set foot on the Rock.

Approaching the Rock from Tangier

In 1909 The Kaiser's Yacht, the Hohenzollern, called at Gibraltar on her way to Venice to pick up Wilhelm and his wife. Although the text above the photos on the newspaper clipping below have little to do with Gibraltar a quick browse identifies the growing tensions building up as a prelude to the Great War - Austro-German successes over Serbia, the ongoing arguments about Crete, the threat of Russian intervention in Persia and so forth.

The explanatory text under the two photographs are quoted in full below:
The Hohenzollern at Gibraltar - Our German Visitors Making the Round of the Rock' Count Von Platen and Herr F. Schott (see LINK) at the German Consulate
A German sailor wandering about town. The Emperor William's yacht Hohenzollern put in at Gibraltar the other day on her way to Venice, where the Kaiser and Kaiserina joined her this week on their trip to Corfu. Naturally both officers and crew availed themselves of the opportunity thus afforded to inspect our Mediterranean strong-hold, and in their usual easy-going way, the authorities seem to have  allowed them to wander pretty well where they liked. Photographs by Mrs A.G. Smith.
It is quite obvious that there were quite a few important people on the Rock and back home in England who were not amused.

King Manoel II, Queen Amelia and the Infante Don Alfonso
In Oct 6th 1910 King Manoel II of Portugal, his wife Queen Amelia and his son the Infante Don Alfonso arrived  on his yacht the Amelia IV.  Unfortunately he hadn't come for a holiday. Shortly before he had left his country it had been taken over by Republicans. Manuel had decided to embark for Oporto but changed his mind on route and travelled to Gibraltar. When they disembarked they received notice that Oporto had fallen to the Republicans. The Royal Family then departed for the United Kingdom as exiles.

King Manoel II and retinue visit the Cathedral of Saint Mary the Crowned.

The Amelia - The ship that brought the Portuguese Royals to Gibraltar 

An object-lesson ( 1910 - The Auckland Star )

Kaiser Wilhelm II
There is photographic evidence that suggest that the Kaiser, aboard the Hohenzollern, visited the Rock yet again in 1911 - but it is hard to tell whether he stayed on board or not. He was almost certainly not formally entertained by the authorities.

The Hohenzollern  anchored outside Gibraltar harbour

King George V and Queen Mary 
On November the 14th 1911 King George V and Queen Mary arrived in the Medina for a very short visit. He had only recently been crowned king. The Atlantic Fleet formed up into two lines outside the harbour so that the Medina could travel through it. After landing at Waterport they drove in an open horse-drawn carriage to the Convent while troops lined the streets. At Casemates the crowd was only allowed to stand at the northern end as a large military band occupied the other side. They left the following day.

Pavilion in the Grand Parade built specially for the King and Queen's 1911 visit

The pavilion at night

The pavilion in colour 

King George and Queen Mary returned on the 30th of January 1912 after their excertions at the monumental Durbar in Delhi proclaiming them Emperor and Empress of India. They were again unable to stay for long. This time their official timetable had been curtailed by the death of the Duke of Fife, their daughter Victoria's husband. Nevertheless a Spanish fleet with the Infante Don Carlos of Spain on board arrived from Algeciras, the first time a fleet from this country had been seen in Gibraltar since 1873. Don Carlos was allowed to land without too much fuss and had the usual audience with the English monarch and his wife.

During a separate ceremony, a bouquet was presented to the Queen at the Exchange Building by Mrs Joseph A Patron and Mrs H. J. King, the wives of two influential local worthies. 

Commercial Square decorated for King George V and his wife

While he was in Gibraltar, the 1st Battalion of the Staffordshire Regiment received their new colours from the King in the Grand Parade.

The Staffordshire marching to and waiting to receive their colours in Grand Parade

King George V on his way to the Grand Parade

Possibly Queen Mary following in King George V's footsteps - in an open carriage

That Spanish Fleet is in there somewhere - but unmentioned by the newspaper correspondent 

The RMS Medina was intended - and eventually became - a P & O Royal Mail Ship. While it was being built it was decided that it would be used for the trip to the Delhi Durbar. The ship was therefore, commissioned as a Royal Yacht. It was provided with an extra mast, so as to maintain Royal flag etiquette, and it had a white hull with bands of royal blue and gold and buff funnels   ( William Burchill )

The Princess Royal 
Shortly afterwards on the 20th of February 1912 HMS Powerful with the Princess Royal and the remains of her husband the Duke of Fife on board arrived and then left almost immediately for England.

Prince Albert
Nov 19th 1913, Prince Albert - the future George VI arrived aboard HMS Collingwood serving as a sub-lieutenant. He lunched with the Governor Sir Herbert Miles and his wife and Lady Miles, visited the upper Rock and was soon away leaving the Rock to its own devices.

HMS Collingwood

The Great War and then World War II intervened and Royal visits were more or less reduced to serving members of the Royal family calling aboard their respective ships. There were of course one or two exceptions. in April 1921 Prince Hirohito the crown Prince of Japan came visiting. 

Prince Hirohito lands in Gibraltar

The Prince of Wales
In 1921 and 1922 the Prince of Wales - eventually the future Edward VIII - carried out an eight month tour of the Far East on the Battlecruiser HMS Renown most of which entailed visits to India and Japan.  A book of the tour was later written by the journalist Sir Percival Phillips. It was heavily illustrates with photographs and paintings. ( see LINK

Haile Selassie
In 1936, Haile Selassie I - King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conquering Lion of Judah, Elect of God, the Light of the World . .  and Emperor of Ethiopia - visited Gibraltar. He was on his way to exile in the UK after his country was annexed by Mussolini in 1936. From the photos it would seem that the authorities in Gibraltar did not know either what to do with him or what to make of him. 

Arriving at the Rock Hotel

With Detective Inspector Gilbert in Attendence 

After 1945, visits resumed as normal and Gibraltar's fascination with British Royalty has continued unabated to this day. But the pomp and ceremony - the sheer power and majesty of the old days of Empire have gone and today a visit by Royalty will tend to generate the kind of enthusiasm that might be more appropriate to a visit by a popular television or film celebrity.

Kate Middleton aka Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge