Incredible unpublished photograph dating to 6th May 1922 of the Prince of Wales later King Edward VIII, later the Duke of Windsor (1894 - 1972) whilst on his Royal Tour of the East. This photograph depicts the Prince participating with his Japanese staff in an exhibition of Kendo on the deck of SS Keifuku Manu en route to another part of Honshu Island, Inland Sea.
Kendo is a modern Japanese martial art, which descended from swordsmanship and uses bamboo swords and protective armour. Today, it is widely practiced within Japan and many other nations across the world. Kendo is an activity that combines martial arts practices and values with strenuous sport-like physical activity.
The photo came from the personal archive of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and was purchased at a sale of their belongings at Sothebys in Italy in 1997. The photographs were found in a bath. It is accompanied by a photocopy of the front of the auction catalogue and an original Sotheby's label on the reverse of the photo.
Throughout the 1920s, Edward, as Prince of Wales, represented his father, King George V, at home and abroad on many occasions.
He was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Empire, and Emperor of India, from 20 January 1936 until his abdication on 11 December the same year.
Edward was the eldest son of King George V and Queen Mary. He was created Prince of Wales on his sixteenth birthday, nine weeks after his father succeeded as king. As a young man, he served in the British Armed Forces during World War I and undertook several overseas tours on behalf of his father.
Edward became king on his father's death in early 1936. He showed impatience with court protocol, and caused concern among politicians by his apparent disregard for established constitutional conventions. Only months into his reign, he caused a constitutional crisis by proposing marriage to Wallis Simpson, an American who had divorced her first husband and was seeking a divorce from her second. The prime ministers of the United Kingdom and the Dominions opposed the marriage, arguing that the people would never accept a divorced woman with two living ex-husbands as queen consort. Additionally, such a marriage would have conflicted with Edward's status as the titular head of the Church of England, which at the time opposed the remarriage of divorced people if their former spouses were still alive. Edward knew that the British government, led by Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, would resign if the marriage went ahead, which could have forced a general election and would ruin his status as a politically neutral constitutional monarch. Choosing not to end his relationship with Simpson, Edward abdicated. He was succeeded by his younger brother Albert, who chose the regnal name George VI. With a reign of 326 days, Edward was one of the shortest-reigning monarchs in British history.
After his abdication, he was created Duke of Windsor. He married Simpson in France on 3 June 1937, after her second divorce became final. Later that year, the couple toured Germany. During World War II, he was at first stationed with the British Military Mission to France but, after private accusations that he held Nazi sympathies, he was assigned to the Bahamas as the islands' governor. After the war, he was never given another official appointment and spent the remainder of his life in retirement in France.
Size: 11.5 x 9.5 cm approx