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Lord Roberts' Arrival in London

A conquering Boer War hero enjoys a rapturous homecoming parade

Non-Fiction 1901 1 mins


At the turn of the 20th century, any procession featuring royals or military heroes could be relied upon to draw a crowd (and, of course, a film camera) and this one has both. Though we can't be sure we see him, this procession is thought to be the one on marking the return from South Africa of Lord Roberts, commander of the British Forces during the Second Boer War. Playing second fiddle - just this once - are the Duke and Duchess of York (that is, the future King George V and Queen Mary).

With the war all-but won, Roberts had handed command to Lord Kitchener, and was now enjoying the universal praise. He was made a Knight of the Order of the Garter around the same time, with many other awards to follow. The camera's view from what is probably a first-floor window overlooking the parade captures the dignitaries as they pass, though which, if any, of the several military bigwigs in the carriages is Lord Roberts. A surge in the crowd signalling the arrival of the Duke and Duchess. They appear to be in mourning for Queen Victoria (who died on 22 January).