In late 1927, King Amānullāh and Queen Surayya of Afghanistan commenced a tour of Europe, arriving in Britain on 13 March 1928 and leaving for Poland just over three weeks later. On 22 March, the King made a visit to the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, where he was met by the Astronomer Royal, Frank Dyson. A large retinue of press photographers, together with a film crew, were present to record the occasion. King Amānullāh reigned for just ten years, from 1919 until his abdication in 1929. He lived the rest of his life as an exile in Europe, dying in Switzerland in 1960.
An unfinished film, Visit of the King of Afghanistan to England is preserved in the archives of the Imperial War Museum. It consists of 7 reels in total, all now on video. The King’s visit to the Royal Observatory is on video 4. This video starts with the Royal Party travelling by boat downstream to Greenwich. Observatory footage starts at 3 min 5 sec. The King and the Astronomer Royal, Frank Dyson, are seen entering the 28-inch telescope dome and examining the telescope. They are then shown examining the telescopes in the Thompson Dome in the South Building. The footage ends with the royal party on the South Building roof. Click here to view this video.