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    Ambiguities of loyalism: the Prince of Wales in India and Africa, 1921-2 and 25

    Sapire, Hilary (2012) Ambiguities of loyalism: the Prince of Wales in India and Africa, 1921-2 and 25. History Workshop Journal 73 (1), pp. 37-65. ISSN 1363-3554.

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    Derided by British intellectuals as ‘propaganda of inanity unparalleled in the world’s history’ and as an ‘impertinence’ toward educated Indians, the ‘smiling tours’ of the Prince of Wales to India and then West and South Africa in the early 1920s offer a unique lens through which to explore the largely unwritten history of African and Indian empire loyalism in a comparative frame. Whereas the loyalism of the ‘Black Englishmen’ and their faith in the civilizing mission is generally assumed to have become obsolete after the First World War, the vigorous engagement of western educated African and Indian elites with the symbolism and politics of these royal tours reveals that, however compromised and contested, loyalism retained saliency for many nationalist leaders and intellectuals well into the 1920s and that the idea of imperial monarchy continued to serve as a moral reference point and the embodiment of the freedoms and rights implicit in a liberal empire. Loyalism, expressed as fidelity to the monarch, moreover, is explored in its many guises and aspects, ranging from an expression of deep affective ties to scorching criticisms of administrations that had betrayed the imperial faith and notions of equality of all subjects of the crown. Laying claim to ‘true’ loyalty’, many Indian and African writers compared theirs with what they claimed was the self-serving, narrow loyalty of white settlers and colonial bureaucracies.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 22 May 2013 09:59
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:04


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