Indian Princes at the Coronation Stereoscope Card

It has been a while since I looked at a stereoscope card on the blog, but tonight we have a delightful example entitled ‘Coronation Procession of H.M. the King: Indian Princes’:SKM_C284e18070313140 - Copy (2)As a stereoscope card, the same image is repeated, each being slightly different to allow a 3-D effect when viewed through a suitable viewer:SKM_C284e18070313140 - Copy (2) - CopyIn the centre of the image are the princes themselves, riding on horseback:SKM_C284e18070313140 - Copy (2) - Copy - CopyI believe that this image was taken at the Coronation of King Edward VII and the arrival of Indian royalty aroused much interest in the press, as reported by the Daily Mail on November 12th 1901 where one of the princes in attendance, and most especially his wealth, were described in great detail:

One of the most impressive features of the Coronation will be the attendance of Princes and chiefs from various States in India.

Few European courts surpass the splendour with which on great occasions the native Indian ruler surrounds himself. Usually of striking personal appearance, he adds to his impressiveness by wearing a costume as rich as it is picturesque and tasteful.

Among those who have accepted the King-Emperor’s invitation is the Nawab of Bahawalpur, whose portrait appears on this page. The crown which his highness is wearing weighs nine pounds, and is one glittering mass of diamonds, with a row of very large pear-shaped pearls around the base.CaptureThe great stones about his neck are rubies and uncut emeralds of extraordinary size, depending from chains of smaller gems. Fifteen of the rubies have the names of the Mogul Emperors engraved upon them, each gem measuring one and a half inches in diameter. The Nawab occasionally wears a sword the jewelled scabbard and hilt of which are valued at £100,000. As a rule his Highness carries three gem encrusted watches. Indeed, one of his hobbies is the collecting of dainty and novel timekeepers and he possess no fewer than eighteen hundred.

The pomp and colour of Indian princes was clearly of interest to the general public, but the British military were not to be left out and the soldiers lining the route are dressed in scarlet home dress tunics, with blue spike helmets:SKM_C284e18070313140 - Copy (4) - Copy - CopyFrom the rear we can see that they are wearing minimal equipment, presumably to make it a little more bearable for them to be stood there for many hours:SKM_C284e18070313140 - Copy (3) - Copy - CopySadly the emulsion on this stereoscope card has faded a little over the last 116 years so the image is more washed out than it would have looked when new, but the sight of Indian princes marching in all their finery is as impressive today as it was when the card was first produced over a century ago.

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