Visit of Maharaja Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla to the United States a century ago, in 1922

Once things had settled down after the First World War, Maharaja Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla decided to tour Britain, Europe and the United States in the summer of 1922. His visits to Britain were strategic and diplomatic in nature, for he could interact with various echelons of power in London, and reduce the influence and oppression of their governors and political agents in India. There was a keen desire too to observe and learn from the more advanced countries of the western world, and to implement measures in his principality that would benefit his subjects. He was also an eminent racehorse owner, and wanted to make his mark on the turfs of Britain and Europe.

Maharaja Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla (left), during his visit to the White House, Washington, to meet President Warren Harding

It took three weeks in those days to travel by ship from India to Britain, and inland transportation too was not as swift as it is now. That entailed tours of several months. That year Maharaja Vijaysinhji decided to buy a sprawling estate known as The Manor, a 27-room Victorian mansion, on the banks of The Thames at Old Windsor, near London. He spent every summer there, except during the Second World War, and won the Irish Derby in 1926 and the Epsom Derby in 1934.    

The New York Times published two reports on the Maharaja’s visit to the United States, which make interesting reading and provide an insight into the way of life in that era between the World Wars. The reports are reproduced below.

The New York Times

Published July 9, 1922


Rajpipla’s Ruler Will Devote 15 days

to the United States.

Maharaja Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla on the ship Cunarder Berengaria on his way to the United States.

The Maharajah of Rajpipla arrived yesterday on the Cunarder Berengaria to tour the United States in 15 days. He has already devoted the same amount of time in sizing up Europe. He is 32 years old and speaks English. The Indian Prince is accompanied by his uncle Kumar S. Digvijaysinh, who is Field Marshall of the army and Prime Minister of the State.

Rajpipla is one of the Rewakantha States of Gujarat. It has an area of 1,600 square miles, and a population of 100,000.

The New York Times

Published August 9, 1922


Ruler of Rajpipla Prolonged His Visit in United States to a Month.


Much Impressed by His Visit to the White House and by the Stock Exchange.

The Maharajah of Rajpipla, one of the Rewakantha States of Gujarat, India, sailed yesterday for India via England on the Cunarder Berengaria. He expressed his gratitude for the kindness shown to him during his thirty days in the United States, which he spent chiefly in New York, Washington and the Long Island summer resorts. He had intended to stop only fifteen days, but he said everyone was so good to him that he couldn’t leave before. The Maharajah went to Washington expressly to see President Harding, with whom he conversed for twenty minutes. He said the President spoke about India and said he had a relative in Burma. He was much impressed with the New York Stock Exchange. He went to baseball games which he thought resembled the English game of “rounders”, but were more scientific. He expressed admiration for American women and said he regarded them as the most smartly dressed women in the world.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.