OUR MEMORIES
Royalization

Royal Inducement; Regal Endorsement

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

There are venues or institutions with designated royal status, listed by the king or queen who granted the designation.
As a matter of honor and prestige, the British monarch may bestow on an organization the right to use the prefix royal before its name.
Among one of them, HKJC became RHKJC, which was defined as Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club once in history.

 

 

BACKGROUND

 

1914
In October, a step of far-reaching effect was taken under the leadership of Chairman Chater.
The constitution was revised by the board of Stewards, giving HKJC power to engage in business and to support Charity.

 

1930
A Betting Tax had been imposed, though standards of British morality insisted that minimal revenue be raised from it.
HKJC was charged at 2 per cent of its profits.

 

1945
Racing returned to Hong Kong at the end of that year under British Army auspices.
With the re-establishment of civil government the following year, HKJC resumed its activities, with Australian horses.
From that moment began the phenomenal success impact of modern racing in Hongkong.

 

1952-02-06, the accession of Queen Elizabeth II was a milestone in history of the world as well as HKJC.

 

1953-06-02, the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II as monarch took place, exactly 8 years before HKJC was royalized through an unsmoothing procedure.

 

RECORDS

 

1948
It had achieved such accomplishments, and was of such social contributions, that Chairman Sir Arthur Morse resolved that HKJC must make application to become Royal.
It would be a signifying recognition of the extraordinary position which racing held in the community.
Senior officers in the Secretariat squirmed uncomfortably in their seats, and wrote negative deprecating minutes in files.

 

Sir Alexander Grantham, undeterred, inquired from London if an application would be considered.
The Colonial Office behaved in exactly the same way as the Hongkong Secretariat which were damning.
The actual words used were ‘not much chance’ — diplomatic words.
The fact is they did not even put the matter up to the Lord Chamberlain.

 

During the 23rd governorship, Hong Kong became increasingly prosperous.
Governor, Sir Robert Black, (1958 to 1964) inaugurated another go at the Royal problem.
It had now become absurd.

 

HKJC, the largest organization of its kind in the world, in one of the last British territories left, and per square mile the most affluent and successful of all British colonies ever, simply had to be Royal.

 

1954
In this attempt, the truth came out, the key was the Queen.
Very early in her reign she had laid it down that the Royal designation must be restricted to concerns entirely devoted to charitable purposes, or, in the colonies, to special organizations fostering social relations between different races.
HKJC did all these things.
But as the Colonial Office did not have the courage to put it up to the Lord Chamberlain, how was the Queen to know?

 

1960
Governor Sir Robert Black determined this must go through.
He asked the newly HKJC Chairman Mr Donovan Benson to give him a statement of the Jockey Club’s donations.
The correspondence had gone on for six years before.
The statement ran to tens of millions of dollars for one year.
Back from the Colonial Office came a letter of refusal, stating that in disregard of the Jockey Club’s benefactions, it was not an institution ‘devoted to charitable purposes’ — the Queen’s own words.

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

According to page 290 of《China Races》written by Austin Coates:
“Sir Robert then used a trump card.
Instead of going through the wearisome official channel, he contacted one of the beachcombers at the Colonial Office, W.I.J. Wallace.
The beachcombers were ex-Governors and others who had personally ruled hundreds of thousands of people in many parts of the world, had become bored living on a pension, and having taken to a desk at the Colonial Office, working for practically nothing.
They were the only people who ever got anything done in that Ministry, or so it seemed.
Wallace was ex-Burma Civil Service and he knew Asia like the back of his hand.
He had a contact somewhere — it was certainly not in the Lord Chamberlain’s office — and he used it.”

 

A reply came back, ‘Chances fairly good.’
Donovan Benson wrote at once, to Her Majesty.
At last the subject was turned up, came to the attention of the Queen.
Within a month HKJC became RHKJC “The Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club”.

 

 

SUMMARY

 

1960-12-10 first announcement of The Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club was published on newspaper.

 

1961-02-01, came the CERTIFICATE OF INCORPORATION ON CHANGE OF NAME, quoted:
“with the approval of His Excellency the Governor now given by me on his behalf under delegated powers, it has changed its name to “The Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club”

 

1997-09-06, RHKJC changed back to HKJC again.

 

 

REFERENCE

 

Racing history in Hong Kong marks these records with prominent race-horse owner Queen,Elizabeth II.

 

1975-05-05, Queen,Elizabeth II attended the night races at Happy Valley and presented the inaugurated QEII Cup.

 

1986-10-22, Queen,Elizabeth II attended the day races at Sha Tin and presented the QEII Cup again.

 

2012-12-09_8, 51 years after HKJC became RHKJC, the Queen finally raced her horse CARLTON HOUSE at Sha Tin Racecourse, jockey R Moore, trainer M R Stoute.

 

 

RELATED LINK

 

Video Showcase
Photo Gallery

 

 

Acknowledgment to HKJC Archives, Hong Kong Racing Museum for relevant content.

 

 

 


 

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