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The Indian Army at the Palace

The forgotten story of the Indian Army camps at Hampton Court Palace

The forgotten story of the Indian Army camps at Hampton Court Palace

Explore the forgotten story of Indian Army soldiers who camped at Hampton Court Palace in the early 20th century, through a new exhibition of previously unseen objects, photographs, film and personal stories.

Indian Soldiers at Hampton Court Palace

Soldiers from the Indian Army camped at Hampton Court Palace on a number of occasions in the early 20th century. They were invited to join the coronation celebrations of Edward VII (1902), George V (1911) and George VI (1937) as well as the First World War peace parades in 1919. For some, this would have been their first visit to England.

This remarkable new collection brings to life the experiences of those within the camps as well as the press and public reactions to their presence.

Header image: Officers of the Indian Contingent at the Coronation of King George V (1910-36) in the camp at Home Park, Hampton Court, June 1911. © Historic Royal Palaces

When

Until 29 September 2024

In line with palace opening hours

Ticketing information

Please check palace opening hours for the day of your visit.


Included in palace admission (members go free)

Buy Hampton Court Palace tickets

Discover Life Within the Camps

Learn about the daily experiences of the soldiers camped in the palace grounds, from food and rationing to entertainment, travel and religious accommodation.

This unique project brings together items on loan from the descendants of those within the camps, our community partners and the Historic Royal Palaces collection for the first time.

Image: Postcard depicting Indian troops with camp 'followers' eating in a mess at the Indian Army’s camp for King George V’s coronation, Hampton Court, 1911. © Historic Royal Palaces

Postcard depicting Indian troops with camp ‘followers’ eating in a mess at the Indian Army’s camp for King George V’s (1910-36) coronation, Hampton Court, 1911

Until now, many of the family stories shared in the exhibition existed only as oral histories passed down through generations. Here, overlooking the grounds where the events took place, these personal stories are recorded and shared, allowing for reflection on themes of memory, identity and belonging.

Press and public reactions to the events surrounding the coronation celebrations and First World War parades explore wider themes of the South Asian presence in Britain and its impact on modern life today.

Image: Postcard depicting Indian troops marching towards the East Front of Hampton Court Palace in 1919. © Historic Royal Palaces

Indian soldiers marching in front of the east front of Hampton Court Palace

RARE CHARITY PIN BADGE LIKE THOSE SOLD BY SOPHIA DULEEP SINGH

A rare charity pin badge like those sold by Indian princess and suffragette Sophia Duleep Singh to raise funds for the Indian Army will go on show as part of the new exhibition.

The ‘India Day’ badge is the same as those sold by Princess Sophia, former resident of the Palace and daughter of Maharaja Duleep Singh, in 1918 in order to raise funds for the Indian Army in World War I. During the war Sophia was particularly keen to emulate and help the hundreds of thousands of Indians who were fighting, becoming the Honourable Secretary of the YMCA War Emergency Committee, with one event raising funds for 50,000 huts for the comfort of Indian soldiers. She also visited and even nursed troops at Brighton Pavilion and other hospitals for Indian soldiers.

The rare pin badge, which is only 2.5cm high, depicts an Indian elephant and is part of a new acquisition of Indian Army material for Historic Royal Palaces – the charity that cares for Hampton Court Palace – going on display for the first time.

Image: © Historic Royal Palaces

This ‘India Day’ pin badge, which is only 2.5cm high, depicts an Indian elephant

Tap to explore

Photograph taken of Indian troops walking through Clock Court towards William III’ s Apartments entrance, probably 1902

Troops in Clock Court, Hampton Court Palace

Online Exclusive

This exceptional photograph shows Indian troops (Jats Regiment) walking through Clock Court towards the entrance to William III's Apartments.

The undated photograph was likely taken during the Coronation camp in 1902.

© Historic Royal Palaces

Bringing Hidden Sikh Histories to Life

Rav Singh, founder of 'A little History of the Sikhs' and Historic Royal Palaces’ community partner for both Standing with Giants and The Indian Army at the Palace, explains more about the project's significance.

EXPLORE WHAT'S ON

  • Things to see

Hampton Court Gardens

Take time to explore and relax in these world-renowned gardens and find our free entry Garden Open Days dates.

  • Open in line with palace opening hours.
  • Hampton Court Palace
  • Included in palace admission (members go free)
Learn more
  • Things to see

Wolsey Closet

Explore this hidden Tudor space that is thought to be the only surviving room of Cardinal Wolsey's apartments.

  • Open
  • In line with palace opening hours
  • Hampton Court Palace
  • Included in palace admission (members go free)
Learn more

BROWSE MORE HISTORY AND STORIES

Sophia Duleep Singh

The Indian Princess who fought for women’s rights

Coronations Past and Present

An ancient ceremony, largely unchanged for a thousand years