Prince of Wales on HMS Renown

1922 saw the Prince of Wales go on an eight month tour of the Empire and the wider world. The tour had a number of reasons the first of which was to advertise the residual power of Britain and the Royal Navy in particular in the aftermath of the Great War and at the time of the Washington Disarmament Conferences. Secondly, it was to project the power of the Royal Family and increase ties and allegiance to an institution in an era of increased media scrutiny and opportunities. It was also seen as an opportunity for the Prince of Wales to improve his own profile (marked with the red circle) and improve his own PR which he appeared to be able to do effortlessly. Few in the Royal Navy appreciated that the era of the battleship was coming to an end and that they were fast becoming obsolete. One of the reasons they held on to the concept so long as they did was partly because of the way it allowed the British to project power and awe around the ports and seas of the world.

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by Stephen Luscombe