This film is held by the BFI (ID: 497716).


Scenes from the visit of Edward Prince of Wales (later Edward, Duke of Windsor) to Africa in 1925. The film charts the Prince's journey from Kumasi to Accra, before showing highlights from his stay in Accra.

The Prince travels by train from Kumasi, the Ashanti capital, to the coast. Crowds await him at the station, from where the Prince travels by car to Accra. The car travels past crowds and banners, before the Prince stops at Kibbi where a group of locals play their trumpets and trombones. Further music and dancing is shown amongst the crowds, and the Prince then arrives at Government House, Accra. The Prince walks to a tree planting ceremony and leaves the Holy Trinity Church, while crowds watch. This is followed by the 'Great Palaver of Head Chiefs' on the polo ground, at which the Prince is introduced to the Chiefs, whose costumes are shown in close-up. The film shows a medicine man and further dancing, as locals carry their Chief. The Prince then attends a race meeting at Accra, showing the local jockeys and "bookie", while the Prince watches. The film concludes with the Prince's departure from Accra, as the Royal party is taken out on surf boats back to the H.M.S. Repulse.



The Times reported in April 1925 that ‘the Admiralty have granted British Instructional Films the exclusive film rights of the Prince of Wales’s African tour, and elaborate arrangements have been made for pictures of the journey to be taken’ (The Times, 28 April 1925, 12). A full-page advertisement in Bioscope explained that the film ‘will be released in 12 single reels at fortnightly intervals’, distributed by New Era films (Bioscope, 30 April 1925). Footage from the tour would also feature within British Instructional’s Empire Series.

Bioscope advertised The Prince of Wales’ Tour as ‘The Complete Official Film Record of the Tour of H.R.H. The Prince of Wales’ and explained that British Instructional ‘have been granted exclusive facilities for the recording of the complete tour’. However, there were a number of other films that featured the Prince in Africa. Bioscope on 7 May reported that ‘the first pictures of the Prince of Wales’ African tour are to be seen in the Edition No. 1,473 of the Gaumont Graphic released to-day’, yet on the previous page, it claimed that ‘the Pathe Super Gazette on Monday contained the first film views of the Prince in East Africa’ (Bioscope, 7 May 1925, 50, 49). A further series entitled H.R.H. the Prince of Wales’ Tour of South Africa was taken ‘under the direction of the Union Government of South Africa’, and distributed by Jury - Metro - Goldwyn. The Queen watched the first episode of this series in the South African Pavilion at Wembley and expressed her ‘delight’ (KW, 28 May 1925, 51).

The first part of The Prince of Wales’ Tour was released on 11 May and played at picture houses throughout London, including the Capitol, the Marble Arch Pavilion and the Stoll Picture House (The Times, 12 May 1925, 14). The third part – of 14 ultimately – was scheduled for release on 8 June.

The Prince of Wales arrived in the Gold Coast on 9 April and left for Nigeria, after altering his intended visit to Lagos over fears of an outbreak of plague, on the 14th. The film opens with the Prince’s departure from Kumasi, and his arrival at Basuso on Easter Saturday, and includes his entry to Accra and Christiansborg Castle, the Governor’s residence. On Easter Sunday, the Prince attended the service at Holy Trinity Church, after which he planted a tree in the churchyard. He subsequently visited the Gold Coast Hospital, and undertook the inauguration of Achimota College, although neither of these events feature in the film. On Easter Monday, the Prince attended a meeting of the Gold Coast Legislative Council, before attending a palaver of the Head Chiefs of the Western and Central Provinces.

Andrew Roberts has suggested that the tour served as a way of ‘making Africans feel that they belonged to empires wider even than the shores of Africa’ (Roberts, 225). Hilary Sapire has argued – with particular reference to the 1947 tour – that the royal tours of Africa ‘encompassed a sentiment of loyalty to the British crown’ and promoted a ‘shared ideology … in which the British crown figured as a source of protection’ (Sapire, 2008, 2).



The 1928 British Instructional Film Catalogue of Films for Non-Theatrical Exhibition, in its description of The Prince of Wales’ Tour, claimed that ‘the personality of the Prince is an extraordinarily attractive one, and it is difficult to watch the picture without identifying oneself to a certain extent with him and seeing the Empire through his eyes’ (British Instructional Films, 11). Yet, while the film certainly does depict Africa from the perspective of the British ruling classes, the focus of the film is predominantly on the local population rather than the Prince.

The camera repeatedly shows the crowds waiting for the Prince, while the Prince himself is usually shot from a distance, positioning the film viewer alongside the waiting African crowds. These crowds perform to the camera, waving flags, dancing and playing musical instruments, and these sequences appear to be artificially incorporated into the narrative of the Prince’s tour. Shots of the crowds pushing at the camera are intercut with shots of the dignitaries meeting – highlighting the contrast between the bustling, ‘wild’ activity of the Africans and the tranquillity and ceremony of the English – yet the crowds clearly respond to the camera, rather than the Prince, as groups of boys run towards the screen, seemingly on the direction of the cameraman. The film, as Royal propaganda, constantly seeks to highlight the popular support greeting the Prince, and follows similar reports within the Press, which emphasised the ‘wild stampede’ for the Prince’s car, with ‘every inch of space along the route’ occupied (The Times, 13 April 1925, 10).

The film repeatedly illustrates the distinctive customs of the Africans, most notably at the Great Palaver of the Head Chiefs. The commentary emphasises the jewellery of the Chiefs, re-enforced by a close-up of rings and bracelets, while the film also features ‘medicine men’, dressed as crocodiles. The film displays the distinctive local customs, and highlights their complete departure from European civilisation. This is most apparent in a title, which refers to the ‘ever-changing panorama of barbaric splendours’.

The splendours are ‘barbaric’, dangerous and exciting, but, despite these contrasts, the film also seeks to incorporate Africa into the Empire, by emphasising the loyalty of the African public and their shared love of the Royal Family, of the Flag, and also of horse racing. In a later sequence, which in narrative terms appears a precursor to the British Instructional Film, An African Derby (1927), the Prince attends a local horse race at Accra and the commentary compares this event to a British race meeting. In stating that ‘the native “bookie” is just as eloquent as his brother of Epsom’, the film creates a familial relationship between, what it suggests, are the vastly different worlds of Britain and Africa.

Tom Rice (February 2008)


Works Cited

Bioscope, 30 April 1925.

‘The Prince in Africa’, Bioscope, 7 May 1925, 49.

‘Pictures of Prince’s Africa Tour’, Bioscope, 7 May 1925, 50.

British Instructional Films, Catalogue of Films for Non-Theatrical Exhibition (1928).

‘Prince of Wales’ Tour, Kinematograph Weekly, 14 May 1925, 65.

‘The Royal Tour’, Kinematograph Weekly, 28 May 1925, 51.

‘H.R.H. the Prince of Wales’ Tour of South Africa’, Kinematograph Weekly, 28 May 1925, 60.

Roberts, A. D. ed., The Cambridge History of Africa, Volume 7 1905-1940 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986).

Sapire, Hilary, ‘A “Sign Prophetic”: African Loyalism and the Royal Tour of Southern Africa in 1947’ (Provisional Draft, 2008).

‘The Prince at Accra’, The Times, 13 April 1925, 10.

‘The Prince in West Africa’, The Times, 14 April 1925, 10.

‘The Film World: The Prince of Wales’s Tour’, The Times, 28 April 1925, 12.

‘The Film World: The Prince of Wales’s Tour’, The Times, 12 May 1925, 14. 



  • PRINCE OF WALES' TOUR PART 3 (Alternative)
Series Title:

Technical Data

Film Gauge (Format):
35mm Film
965 ft

Production Credits

Production Countries:
Great Britain
WOOLFE, H. Bruce
BARKAS, Geoffrey
RODWELL, Stanley
Production Company
British Instructional Films







Production Organisations