Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News UK

The pomp and pageantry of past royal visits to India

Published 08/04/2016

King George V and Queen Mary pictured in Bombay in 1911 before the Delhi Durbar in India to mark the coronation of the King
King George V and Queen Mary pictured in Bombay in 1911 before the Delhi Durbar in India to mark the coronation of the King
Edward, Prince of Wales in uniform of the Scinde Horse, of which he was the colonel in chief, in Delhi, India, in February 1922
In a particularly memorable image, the Queen was pictured with Mother Teresa in New Delhi in November 1983 as the monarch presented her with the Order of Merit
During the same visit in 1983, the Queen - accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh - met India's prime minister Indira Gandhi
Prince Philip was pictured sitting atop an elephant while visiting the Kanha Game Reserve during their 10-day tour of the nation in the early 80s
In what is probably the most image picture of a royal in India, the Princess of Wales was pictured in front of the Taj Mahal during a tour of India in 1992. The shot of Diana sitting alone in front of the 17th-century monument to love prompted rumours about the state of her marriage to the Prince of Wales, which ended later that year.
During the visit, Diana was also pictured at a school in Hyderabad with a young girl on her lap, and she walked barefoot to place a wreath on Raj Ghat, the place where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated
The Queen returned to India in 1997, as part of celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the nation's independence
The Prince of Wales's visit to India in 2003 was somewhat overshadowed by a new book on Princess Diana by her former butler Paul Burrell
In 2010, the Prince of Wales was accompanied by the Duchess of Cornwall to India. While he opened the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, Camilla's engagements included a visit to Saint Stephen's school in Chandigarh.
The Prince of Wales turned 65 during an 11-day tour of India and Sri Lanka with Camilla in 2013. Among the highlights was a visit to the Akshardham Temple in Delhi

Royal visits to India have been filled with pomp, pageantry, solemn tributes to some of the country's heroes and historic places - plus a few dance moves.

:: 1911

Five months after George V was crowned alongside Queen Mary at Westminster Abbey on June 22, 1911, the royal couple travelled to attend the Delhi Durbar, a massive pageant to mark the coronation, in India.

King George V posed in the Coronation robes for the Delhi Durbar in December 1911.

During the week long tour of India, the King announced the founding of New Delhi to replace Calcutta as the capital of British India.

Black and white images also show the new King and Queen meeting British dignitaries at a railway station. The King also made a speech at the Apollo Bunder, which was once a maze of docks and wharves in Bombay.

The Royal couple also visited Calcutta, Bengal, during the Durbar tour of 1912 after their acclamation as Emperor and Empress of India.

:: 1921-1922

Edward, Prince of Wales, was captured in more active settings during his visit to India in 1921-1922.

He went pigsticking in Jodhpur, during his Indian tour of 1921. He was accompanied by Sir Pertab Singh and the Maharajah of Jodhpur. He was also pictured on his polo pony Destiny and riding on the back of an elephant in Gwaloir during the Indian leg of his tour to Japan and the East in 1922.

Accompanied by Viceroy of India Lord Chelmsford, he also attended the unveiling ceremony of the King Edward VII Memorial in Delhi in February 1922.

King George V had put the tablet of this memorial in position ten years previously. Visitors can catch sight of the Jama Masjid mosque, which sits beyond the memorial.

The tour also included a visit to Durbar hall at the Sadar Manzil palace in Bhodar, India.

He also appeared in the uniform of the Scinde Horse (The 35th Scinde Horse and the 36th Jacobs Horse) of which he was the Colonel in Chief.

:: 1983

A memorable image of any royal tour to India came in New Delhi in November 1983 when the Queen presented the Order of Merit to Mother Teresa.

The Queen was not wearing gloves as she shook hands with the 73-year-old nun, whose devotion to caring for the sick, the dying and the outcast in the slums made her an international treasure. The frail Roman Catholic nun won a Nobel award in 1979 for her work with the poor.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh also met with India's Prime Minister Indira Gandhi during the tour.

The Queen was greeted by girls in colourful traditional Indian dress as she visited the memorial for Indian independence hero Mahatma Gandhi.

It was the Queen's second visit to the site at Raj Ghat, Delhi, where Gandhi was cremated after his assassination. Her first visit was in 1961 when she planted a tree.

Prince Philip, President of the International Wildlife Fund, was photographed atop an elephant at the Kanha Game Reserve during the ten day tour of India with the Queen, President of the International Wildlife Fund,

:: 1992

India's Taj Mahal became the backdrop to one of the most famous pictures of Diana, Princess of Wales.

The shot of Diana sitting alone in front of the 17th century monument to love in February 1992 prompted rumours about the state of her marriage to the Prince of Wales.

The photograph became the defining image of the six-day tour by the Prince and Princess and by the end of the year it was announced the couple had agreed to separate.

Diana walked barefoot to place a wreath on Raj Ghat, the place where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. She also let a little girl sit on her lap as they watched entertainment at Lallipet High School in Hyderabad.

:: 1997

Celebrations marking India's 50th anniversary of Independence included an official visit by the Queen.

There was colour and pageantry; t he Queen wore a floral garland at a welcoming ceremony in Kochi and she inspected an Indian Forces' Honour guard at the Rashtrapati Bhawan (formerly the Viceroy's Palace and Secretariat) in the centre of New Delhi.

:: 2003

The Prince of Wales touched down in India for an official visit to promote heritage, sustainable development and youth entrepreneurship in the former British colony, but his arrival was clouded by a new book on Princess Diana.

The young Princes William and Harry accused their mother's former butler Paul Burrell of "cold and overt betrayal" over revelations in his book.

Charles was greeted by local people as he walked through the streets of the Kutail Gamri village on the outskirts of Delhi, where he watched children playing in a nursery and saw youngsters receiving their immunisations.

He looked in on the Arpana Trust UK, which works with poor and low caste women, during his official nine-day tour.

He was also festooned with flower garlands after arriving by helicopter in the remote Indian village of Bhaonta. The Prince flew into the village to see a project in which a dam has provided a constant supply of fresh water to the villagers.

:: March 2006

With temperatures hitting 42C (107F) the Duchess of Cornwall looked uncomfortable during her visit with Charles to the town of Patiala in India.

She was also photographed admiring the inside of a mud house during a visit to the Indian village of Artiya on the outskirts of Jodphur, western India.

:: 2010

Charles opened the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi during this trip to India.

A visit to Saint Stephen's school in Chandigarh, India, was among the engagements carried out by Camilla.

:: 2013

Charles turned 65 during this 11-day tour of India and Sri Lanka with Camilla.

This was their most extensive official visit, with the couple travelling to Dehradun, New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Kochi, where they met India's top political and business leaders.

They were seen holding a candelabra together during their visit to the Hindu holy city of Rishikesh, with spiritual leader Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, at the Aarti at sunset on the banks of the river Ganges.

They viewed the grounds of the Akshardham Temple, in Delhi, and Camilla was also shown some Indian dance moves by girls from Asha Sadan (House of Hope) for children who have been abandoned or abused, in Mumbai.

The Indian tour took in five different cities in nine days, before the couple travelled to Sri Lanka where Charles represented the Queen and opened the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo.

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph