Exhibition recalls King Edward's visit to Jerusalem

By Jennifer Lipman, March 8, 2013
A photograph taken at the Garden of Gethsemane, Jerusalem

A photograph taken at the Garden of Gethsemane, Jerusalem

Photographs of the future king of England taken when he explored the Middle East in 1862 have gone on show in Edinburgh.

King Edward VII, then known simply as the Prince of Wales, spent four months in the Holy Land and the surrounding areas on an educational visit.

The young monarch, who was just 21 at the time, was still years away from inheriting the throne from his mother, Queen Victoria, in 1901.

He was joined on the tour by the influential British photographer, Francis Bedford, who was one of a number of intrepid photographers who set out to document the near East on camera during the 19th century.

The royal tour saw the future monarch meet politicians and local dignitaries as he travelled around the Holy Land, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt – areas that at the time were mostly under the control of the Ottoman Empire.

Among the sites the prince took in were the Mount of Olives and Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the pyramids at Giza and Rachel’s tomb on the outskirts of Bethlehem. In a diary entry of April 3 1962, King Edward wrote: “Our tents were struck at 8.30am and we started at that time (on horseback of course) for Bethlehem, which we reached in about a couple of hours time, stopping on the way at Rachel's tomb, and it was ascertained for certain that the tomb is on the site of the real one.”

The photographs will be on display at The Queen's Gallery in Edinburgh until July, then at Buckingham Palace from October.

Last updated: 4:20pm, March 8 2013