Kaiser’s kissing habit put to the test

A little fuzzy perhaps but here we see Portsdown Hill Road where it meets London Road. The George pub would be on the right behind the soldiers. 'Picture: Barry Cox Collection

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On this day in 1907 Kaiser Wilhelm arrived in Portsmouth Harbour aboard the Royal Yacht Hohenzollern accompanied by a squadron of German battleships. He was met by the mayor Ferdinand Foster.

The Evening News, striving to maintain a diplomatic balance, revealed that: ‘The Kaiser has the kissing habit but he is not promiscuous in indulging it.

‘As a matter of fact, although Emperor William is the greatest kisser of men among sovereigns of the world, he is also a hearty hand-shaker with a grip that is famous... [he had] a big strong hand with muscles like iron. [This] he reserves for strong men.

‘For the opposite sex he had a hand that is as soft as velvet and a courtesy that is elegant.’

Mayor Foster survived this ordeal and announced that his majesty’s visit was an indication of ‘the friendly relationships existing between the royal houses of Germany and England, which we trust may be long continued to the advantage of the whole world’.

A few years later, during the First World War, the Evening News suggested that the Kaiser had, after all, been rude during the visit – from John Sadden’s The Portsmouth Book of Days.