The Prince of Wales, later the Duke of Windsor after his abdication of the British Crown in the late 1930s, arrives in New York City on November 18, 1919.

This was the scene one hundred years ago today when the Prince of Wales, Edward Albert, stopped of a U.S. destroyer at Pier A on the Battery in Lower Manhattan to begin a five day goodwill tour of the city. The Prince of Wales by this times had been in North America for many months, crisscrossing British Canada before going to Washington D.C. for an audience with numerous political dignitaries in the U.S. capital. I mentioned in yesterday’s post about Alan Flusser’s new book about Ralph Lauren how Edward Albert, the future king who would quickly abdicate and become the Duke of Windsor, was one of the most photographed men of the twentieth century. This tour, coming as it did that first year after the Great War’s end, was very much a start of that process. The twenty-five year old prince was being groomed for the throne. The dapper, smiling young prince already represented the British Crown in a way his stiff, dour father, King George V, never could.

Developments in later decades showed aspects of Edward VIII’s judgment that were at best problematic, most obviously his sympathies for Nazi Germany. Those ties have never been fully explained nor likely ever will be by this point. Right now, twenty years prior to the outbreak of the Second World War in Europe, all of that was ahead. For five days in November 1919, just after the world had marked the first anniversary of the Armistice, the Prince of Wales came to New York City for five whirlwind days. About an hour after this photograph was taken he laid a wreath at Grant’s Tomb in Upper Manhattan.

(image/Library of Congress)