The Ukulele and the Prince of Wales

Of the musical members of the British royal family, Edward — Prince of Wales from 23 June 1910 – 20 January 1936 — played the bagpipes, the banjo and the ukulele, but not all at once. On 9 march 1935, page 8, The Argus (*the* Australian source of historical information for most things ukulele) reported that the Prince of Wales had mastered the ukulele under the instruction of Kal Keech, “an acknowledged expert”.  The Argus also shared the rumour that this Prince of Wales (while an Oxford undergraduate) had once played “The Red Flag” on the banjo at meeting of young communists. Who knows how the history of world might have been changed if he’d played that tune on ukulele.

By the way, the Hobart Mercury (19 April 1920, page 5) gives an extended account of the Prince of Wales’ visit to Honolulu. At a special entertainment, he heard Ukalele, “the principal singing girl”, perform with “a voice of much sweetness and charm”.

Published in: on January 7, 2010 at 6:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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