Prince of Wales' visit to Hong Kong 6 to 8 April 1922 | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Prince of Wales' visit to Hong Kong 6 to 8 April 1922

From: The Prince of Wales' Eastern Book

A PICTORIAL RECORD OF THE VOYAGES OF H.M.S. "RENOWN", 1921— 1922

Fog lay thick over Hong-Kong when the Renown arrived off the harbour on the morning of April 6, and for the first time during the tour the Prince's arrival was delayed. The mist lifted within an hour, and the battle cruiser passed to her anchorage amid the hooting of syrens, the explosion of thousands of firecrackers, and the salutes of British and foreign warships, including a Japanese squadron of light cruisers sent to act as escort on the voyage to Yokohama.

Royal Prince Visit Hong Kong.jpg
Royal Prince Visit Hong Kong.jpg, by danielwettling
Blake’s Pier, Hong Kong, 1922 – arrival of the Prince of Wales.
Blake’s Pier, Hong Kong, 1922 – arrival of the Prince of Wales. , by Mayor McCheese

 

British bluejackets lined the route from Blake's pier to a reception hall erected especially for the visit, and the Prince accomplished this short journey in a palanquin carried by eight Chinese bearers in white and scarlet costumes, his staff following on foot.

1922 Prince of Wales Visit
1922 Prince of Wales Visit, by moddsey
Prince of Wales arrives at Pavilion, Hong Kong
Prince of Wales arrives at Pavilion, Hong Kong, by UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL

 

At the hall he heard an address in flowery Chinese, which was read in the presence of British and Chinese officials, foreign consuls and representatives of the commercial community, and he then continued his journey in the palanquin up the steep hillside to Government House.

The Prince carried through the streets in a chair borne by chinese coolies, Hong Kong
The Prince carried through the streets in a chair borne by chinese coolies, Hong Kong, by The Prince of Wales' Eastern Book

 

[In the afternoon, the prince played polo at Causeway Bay. This was not part of his official visit program, therefore not mentioned in the book].

1922 Prince of Wales Visit
1922 Prince of Wales Visit, by moddsey

 

In the evening he came "down town" again to see the illuminations which were very beautiful. All the principal buildings were lit uniformly by red Chinese lanterns, and the warships in harbour were outlined in lights. It was a matter of general regret that the whole of Hong-Kong's night display could not be seen. Mist enveloped the upper half of the "Peak,"—the high hill behind the city—and the very elaborate illuminations prepared on the upper slope and crest were hidden during the Royal visit.

 

On the second day of his stay his Royal Highness [at the Hong Kong Cricket Club Pavilion] met the children from 42 schools; boy scouts and girl guides ; inspected the 102nd Grenadiers (Indian Army); received an honorary degree from the University, and an address from the Masons.

The Prince of Wales inspecting St. Stephen college girls, Hong Kong
The Prince of Wales inspecting St. Stephen college girls, Hong Kong, by Klaus
The Prince inspects the 102nd Grenadiers., Hong Kong
The Prince inspects the 102nd Grenadiers., Hong Kong, by The Prince of Wales' Eastern Book

 

[had tea, and laid the foundation stone for the St. Stephen's Girl's College].

The Prince of Wales having tea at the Pavilion, Hong Kong Cricket Club
The Prince of Wales having tea at the Pavilion, Hong Kong Cricket Club, by UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL
The Prince of Wales when laying the foundation stone of St Stephen's Girls' College, Hong Kong
The Prince of Wales when laying the foundation stone of St Stephen's Girls' College, Hong Kong, by UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL

 

He made a happy impression when asked to permit the erection of a statue of himself in Statue Square, by replying that he preferred instead “that some very good thing be done for the community of Hong-Kong in his name." In the afternoon he attended the races at Happy Valley, a famous resort for all classes of the community, and saw the Prince of Wales' stakes run in the presence of an enormous crowd. The Chinese gave him a banquet of weird and costly dishes, in the auditorium of their principal theatre [Taiping Theatre]. The menu included such curious delicacies as shark's fin, "gold and silver eggs," and bird's nest soup. During the courses a company of actors from Canton performed an amusing little drama.

Section of a Chinese procession, Hong Kong
Section of a Chinese procession, Hong Kong, by The Prince of Wales' Eastern Book

 

The Prince liked Hong-Kong, and before the Renown sailed next morning he was ashore early at Kowloon, visiting the markets and buying souvenirs in the shops. At 9 o'clock the Japanese cruiser escort led the way into the China Sea, and the people on the water front had a last glimpse of his Royal Highness saluting from his platform above the bridge.

Further reading:

Liz Chater's blog about the visit in 1922

Prince of Wales visit 1922

Date(s) of events described: 
Thursday, April 6, 1922 to Saturday, April 8, 1922
Tags: 
Royal
Prince of Wales

Photos that show this event

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Renown was laid down by Fairfield at Govan, Glasgow, Scotland on 25 January 1915. The ship was launched on 4 March 1916 and completed on 20 September 1916.

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From January to March 1920 Renown was refitted more extensively as a "royal yacht". Her aft 4-inch mounting and both 3-inch AA guns were removed so that extra accommodation and a promenade deck could be built. A large deck house was built on the shelter deck between the funnels. The port side housed a squash court while the starboard side was a cinema. The ship sailed in March for Australia and New Zealand with the Prince of Wales and his entourage aboard and made many stops en route. She returned to Portsmouth in October and was placed in reserve in November.

Renown was recommissioned in September 1921 for a tour of India, the Philippines and Japan by the Prince of Wales and sailed from Portsmouth in October. The ship arrived back in Portsmouth in June 1922 and she was placed in reserve the following month.

HMS Renown 1922
HMS Renown 1922, by Penguinchan1

Source: HMS Renown (1916) - Wikipedia

Posting a letter from Eric Rice who give's you an insider's look at the visit.  Rice appears to have been the HK government minder for the trip.

Eric Rice Letter - page 1
Eric Rice Letter - page 1, by Eric Rice

 

Eric Rice Letter - page 2
Eric Rice Letter - page 2, by Eric Rice

 

Eric Rice Letter - page 3
Eric Rice Letter - page 3, by Eric Rice

The outing described in Mr Rice's letter above was also reported in the newspapers. Here's the version from page 3 of Hong Kong Daily Press, 1922-04-10:

It was good to learn that the Prince saw a little more of the Colony before he left. The arrangement was made overnight, at the Ball, that H.E. the Governor should call for the Prince—on the Renown —at 6.15 a.m. Mr. A. G. M. Fletcher arranged to have his car on Kowloon side and a Kowloon Railway motor car was also requisitioned.

In spite of the strenuous evening he had spent at the Ball, the Prince was ready betimes, and a start was made from the Police Pier about seven o’clock. The party consisted of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, H.E. the Governor, Admiral Sir Lionel Halsey, Sir Godfrey Thomas, Mr. Eric Rice and Mr. A. G. M. Fletcher. The Prince travelled in the Kowloon Railway motor car. Old Kowloon City, the old city wall and ruins of the fortifications, and the temple were visited. The trip was quite informal and the Prince went quite unrecognised. At that hour, of course, there were not many Europeans about.

His Royal Highness called at a number of native shops and was much interested in all that he saw. He examined Chinese comestibles on sale, and, in piece-goods stores, had a number of rolls of cloth brought down from the shelves for his inspection. By way of souvenirs of China, the Prince bought a number of large bamboo coolie hats, and some pairs of Chinese wooden clogs. The Chinese shopkeepers evidently had no idea of the high importance of their visitor. They felt pretty sure he was a taipan but, they little thought he was Ying Wong Tai Chi!

The two cars returned to the Kowloon Wharf at a quarter to nine o'clock and the Prince was then recognised by a good many people who were on their way to business. His Royal Highness had an enthusiastic send-off as he embarked to go on board the Renown.