EDWARD VII. A highly unusual letter to H.H. the Begum of Bhopal signed by H.M. King Edward VII, 1903


The letter, in a neat secretarial hand, is written on the first side of a bifolium watermarked J. WHATMAN 1902 measuring 13 x 8 ins and embossed in red BUCKINGHAM PALACE  with an imperial crown and signed Edward R. & I. There is a note on the final blank written in a local language and there are the usual three horizontal folds where the letter has been folded for posting.  Addressed Your Highness and dated 30th March 1903 the letter is a very simple note of thanks for an Address which the ruler has sent to the King Emperor on the occasion of his Coronation the previous year.  We have had a considerable number of letters written and signed by Viceroys to senior Ruling Princes, such as the Begum of Bhopal but this is the only example we have come across of one signed and sent directly from a King Emperor. The usual means of communication was by way of the Viceroy himself, or more commonly [and almost always in the case of lesser rulers] for a letter to be sent by the Viceroy’s secretary to the local Agent or Resident for transmission to the the Ruler. Protocol was possibly stricter in India that it was in Britain.    jun26/4

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