Who's Who in India Supplement 1 (1912)/The Royal Visit to India




On December 2nd, 1911. their Majesties the King-Emperor and the Queen-Empress arrived in Bombay by the Royal Yacht "Medina" and received a most enthusiastic reception.

Their Majesties were presented with an address of welcome by the Bombay Corporation, to which His Majesty made the following reply, which will live long in the memories of the Indian people :

"You have rightly said that I am no stranger among you, and I can heartily respond that I feel myself no stranger in your beautiful city. Six years ago I arrived, indeed, as a new-comer, but the recollection of your cordial and sympathetic greeting is still fresh in my memory. The wondrous aspect disclosed by the approach to your shores, the first glimpse of the palms rising as it were from the bosom of the sea, have not been forgotten, and have lost none of their fascination for me. From Bombay I set forth in 1905, encouraged by your affectionate welcome, to traverse at any rate a part of this vast country, and to strive to gain some knowledge of its people. Such knowledge as I acquired could not but deepen my sympathy with all races and creeds, and when through the lamented death of my beloved father I was called to the Throne of my ancestors, one of my first and most earnest desires was to revisit my good subjects in India.

"It is with feelings of no common emotion that I find myself here again to-day with the Queen-Empress at my side and that desire fulfilled. And I come with a heart full of gratitude that the anxiety due to a threatened scarcity in certain areas of the Presidency has, thanks to favourable and opportune rains, been happily dispelled, and that there is every prospect of your land being blessed with a good spring harvest.

"Your eloquent Address has recalled to me that Bombay was once the dowry of a British Queen. As such Humphrey Cook took it over 250 years ago, a mere fishing village. You, gentlemen, and your forerunners, have made it a jewel of the British Crown. I see again with joy the rich setting of its beautiful and stately buildings. I note also the less conspicuous, but also more profitable, improvements lately effected; but above all, I recognise with pride your efforts to heighten what must always be the supreme lustre of such a jewel as this, the peace, happiness, and prosperity of all classes of the citizens.

"From my heart I thank you for the generous reception accorded to the Queen-Empress and myself to-day. We earnestly pray that God's blessing may rest upon our Indian Empire and that peace and prosperity may be ever vouchsafed to its people."

His Majesty having read his speech, Lady Mehta presented a beautiful bouquet to Her Majesty. The members of the Bombay Corporation were then presented to the King-Emperor.