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Sir Paul Chater - And Royalty

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Throughout his life, Sir Paul's status and position allowed him to integrate into the higher levels of society.  Having arrived in Hong Kong in 1864 as a young and impressionable seventeen year old, it would take him only five short years to experience his first of many encounters with members of the royal family.

1869  - Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh

Hong Kong arrival of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh

A rare photograph of the arrival of HRH Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh

1869  - Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh

Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh

The same view was reproduced in newspapers back in the UK

1869  - Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh

Prince Alfred in Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Club illuminated for the Prince's visit

His Royal Highness, Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh was on a visit to Hong Kong. He arrived in the early hours of Sunday 31 October 1869 commanding the ship Galatea. She anchored off Peddar’s Wharf. On this particular day he received on board his ship the Hong Kong clergy. Later, a cricket match was played between the United Services composed of Naval and Military officers, including representatives from the Galatea, and the Hongkong Cricket Club in which Paul Chater was a member. Chater participated with vigor and enthusiasm and although the individual scores are not known, the United Services won by 89 runs something which no doubt pleased everybody. The match lasted two days and all thoughts of business and other commitments were put to the back of the minds of everyone.

Paul Chater was quietly making his way up in colonial society in a charming and self effacing manner that was to become his own unique style.

See also a small blog by Princeton University

1869 - Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh

Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh

His Royal Highness, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh

1869 - Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh

HMS Galatea

HMS Galatea in Hong Kong harbour

1881 - King Kalakaua of Hawaii

King Kalahaua of Hawaii in Hong Kong 1881

King Kalakaua of Hawaii visited Hong Kong in 1881 and attended a lunch at Paul Chater's bungalow in Kowloon. Afterwards photographs were taken in the garden, Paul Chater seen here with the King and other guests

His Majesty [King Kalakaua of Hawaii] was accompanied by H.E. the Governor, Commissioner Armstrong, and Colonel Judd. Steam launches were engaged to take the large party invited to meet the distinguished guests across the harbour; while His Majesty the King and suite, accompanied by Sir John Hennessy, were conveyed in the Government steam launch. The party, numbering about 130, were sumptuously entertained by Mr. Chater, the arrangements and decorations being both neat and tasteful. In the centre of the room, the racing trophies of the popular host were set out upon a table; and it must be admitted that, taken together with several centre-pieces placed upon the Tiffin tables, they formed one of the most richest and valuable collections of racing cups ever seen in this Colony. On the arrival of His Majesty he was received at the steps by Mr. C.P. Chater, and was greeted with hearty cheers as he entered the bungalow. To the right of the host sat H.M. the King, Mr F.B. Johnson, Colonel Judd, Mr. F.D. Sassoon, and Captain Deane; and on the left of the host were H.E. the Governor, Commissioner Armstrong, Hon. P. Ryrie, Mr. T. Jackson, Colonel Mosby, Hon. M.S. Tonnachy, Mr. A.P. McEwen, and Rev. Dr. Eitel.
1882 - Prince Albert Victor of Wales + Prince George of Wales

The Sailor Princes in Hong Kong

The visit of Prince Albert Victor and Prince George

1882 - Prince Albert Victor of Wales + Prince George of Wales

The Sailor Princes in Hong Kong

The celebrations for the visit were again reported in the UK papers

1882 - Prince Albert Victor of Wales + Prince George of Wales

The Sailor Princes in Hong Kong

It must have been quite a spectacle for the young princes

1890 - The Duke and Duchess of Connaught

duke and Duchess of Connaught en route from India to Hong Kong

Few, if any images still survive of this particular historic royal visit to Hong Kong by the Duke and Duchess of Connaught. This rare informal image of the Duke and Duchess on board the Kaisar I. Hind en route from Bombay

1890  - The Duke and Duchess of Connaught

Landing of the Duke and Duchess of Connaught

Landing of TRH's The Duke and Duchess of Connaught March 31st 1890 Hong Kong.

1890  - The Duke and Duchess of Connaught

Duke and Duchess of Connaught in Hong Kong

The Duke of Connaught laying the foundation stone of the Praya reclamation with Paul Chater looking on


1902 - King Edward VII

Paul Chater attended the coronation in Westminster Abbey of King Edward VII as a colonial representative of Hong Kong.

1902 - Duke of Connaught

Unveiling of the statue of the Duke of Connaught in Hong Kong

Whilst Paul Chater was in London for the coronation, the ceremony to unveil the statue of the Duke of Connaught took place in Hong Kong. 

1906 - Prince Arthur of Connaught

Prince Arthur of Connaught in Hong Kong

Prince Arthur of Connaught stopped off in Hong Kong en route to Japan where he was to present the Emperor of Japan with the Insignia of the Garter. As with any royal visit to the island, Sir Paul Chater was part of the welcoming committee. The Prince's visit coincided with the annual Hong Kong races, and Chater as chairman ensured the Prince had an enjoyable stay.

Originally the Coronation was due to take place on 26 June 1902 but due to the King's ill health it was postponed until 9 August. As part of the celebrations the 'Fleet Review' took place at Spithead and Paul Chater was an honoured guest of the Rothschilds.

Meanwhile, the statue of the Duke of Connaught which had been fully commissioned and paid for by Chater as a gift to Hong Kong, was unveiled and presented to the colony on Chater's behalf by his trusted friend and business partner HN Mody. By this time news of the Knighthood to be conferred on Paul Chater in London has filtered back to Hong Kong. Fifty of his close friends sent Chater the following telegram:"Hearty congratulations. Health drank royally." In reply they received from Chater:"Express to all good friends hearty thanks for congratulations. Chater."

1907  - The Duke and Duchess of Connaught

duke and Duchess of Connaught in Hong Kong

Officials gather for the imminent arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Connaught

1907  - The Duke and Duchess of Connaught

Duke and Duchess of Connaught in Hong Kong 1907

The Royals step onto the island

1907  - The Duke and Duchess of Connaught

Duke and Duchess of Connaught in Hong Kong 1907

A flotilla of small boats create a guard of honour on the water

In this unique photograph (above left) taken moments before the duke and Duchess of Connaught landed, last minute instructions on protocol and procedures were being given. Listening attentively all eyes can be clearly seen focusing on one man. Sir Paul Chater.

1907  - The Duke and Duchess of Connaught

Duke and Duchess of Connaught in Canton 1907

The Duke and Duchess made a private visit to Canton. Seen here just arriving.

1907  - The Duke and Duchess of Connaught

Duke and Duchess of Connaught in Canton 1907

Their day in Canton was spent sight-seeing and shopping

1907 - The Duke and Duchess of Connaught

Duke and Duchess of Connaught in Canton 1907

The obligatory group photo after tiffin with the British Consul

TRH the Duke and Duchess of Connaught, Princess Patricia and party arrived at 8am [9th February 1907] on the specially chartered steamer Honam. The party landed at Shameen and proceeded to the British Consulate where they were received by the Consul General. H.E. the Viceroy seni Mr. Li Chi, Wei-yuen of Foreign Affairs and a boydguard to accompany the royal party on their sight-seeing. Capt Lunn was in charge of another body of soldiers which accompanied the royal visitors. The British Consul General also accompanied the party. The first place visited was the Wah Lum monastery, where they inspected the temple of the five hundred genii and other sights in the western suburb.

The party then proceeded to the Eight Districts' Association Hall. The royal visitors entered the city by the Tai Ping gate and they did some shopping at Tai Sun Street, where they purchased a large quantity of ivory ware, jade, stone ware and curios. Then the party proceeded to the British Consul's Yamen, inside the city, attached to the Tanar General's yamen, where they were entertained at tiffin by the Consul. Afterwards a photograph [see above right] was taken of the party, in the courtyard of the yamen.

After tiffin the party travelled to the Northern Gate and ascended the City wall. HRH saw several ancient cannon which were placed there for defence purposes long ago. The party then went on to visit the five storied Pagoda on the Kuan Yin hill. The party left the city by the Western gate and paid a visit to the private garden of Chung Sik Wong a Chinese Hanlin. Later the party arrived at Sai Hing Street where TRH did some more shopping, and bought sundry silk embroideries and piece goods. They finished the day and returned to the British Consulate on Shameen. In the even dinner was served in honour of the royal visitors on flower boats moored near the Shameen bund.

Sir Paul Chater was waiting at Blake Pier upon their return to Hong Kong on the Honam where, as Chairman of the Reception Committee and other dignitaries ensured their swift transfer to the launch Victoria for their onward travels on the P&O ship Delta to Singapore.


1922 - The Prince of Wales

Prince of Wales in Hong Kong 1922

As part of his world tour, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward) stepped onto Hong Kong soil on the 6th April 1922. The welcome and decorations were warm and colourful

1922 - The Prince of Wales

Prince of Wales in Hong Kong 1922

Sir Paul Chater was chairman of the Reception Committee and on the Prince's arrival read this speech 

1922 - The Prince of Wales

Prince of Wales in Hong Kong 1922

The Prince of Wales attended the annual Hong Kong races, and as Chairman of the Board of Stewards Sir Paul was ever the attentive host 


1922 - The Prince of Wales

Prince of Wales in Hong Kong 1922

The Prince was able to take part in a specially arranged polo match at Happy Valley

1922 - The Prince of Wales

Prince George in Hong Kong 1926

Another view of the Prince playing polo at Happy Valley

1926 - Prince George

Prince George in Hong Kong 1926

Sir Paul and Lady Chater took royal visits in their stride, and Prince George (later Duke of Kent) was taking some time out from his naval duties at the China Station to enjoy the annual races at Happy Valley