After India gained its independence from colonial authority, Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away on September 8, 2022, at the age of 96, became the first British queen to succeed to the throne. During her 70-year reign, the Queen, who was crowned in 1952, paid three visits to India: in 1961, 1983, and 1997.
She spoke in one of her speeches about the friendliness and hospitality she experienced while visiting India. She stated, “The richness and diversity of India itself, as well as the warmth and generosity of the Indian people, have been an inspiration to all of us.”
Queen Elizabeth II First Trip to India:
She made her first trip in 1961. The Queen travelled to Bombay (now Mumbai), Madras (now Chennai), and Calcutta (now Kolkata) with her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. They also visited the Taj Mahal and paid respects at Raj Ghat to Mahatma Gandhi. They accepted Dr. Rajendra Prasad’s invitation to participate in the Republic Day Parade as the Guests of Honor.
Her second trip to India took place in 1983, around the time of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). The Queen had given Mother Teresa an honorary Order of the Merit during this visit.
The Queen’s third and last trip to India was timed to coincide with the country’s 50th anniversary of independence celebrations. Just a few weeks after Princess Diana’s death, she made her first public appearance during a trip to Pakistan and India in 1997. She visited the Jallianwala Bagh, the scene of the April 1919 massacre, to lay a wreath at the memorial, making this trip much more memorable. Numerous requests for an apology for the hundreds of people who were massacred there on the orders of a British General under colonial authority were made during this visit.
The Queen had never before alluded to “tough times” in colonial history. It is no secret that we have experienced some trying times in the past. A sad example is Jallianwala Bagh, as she stated in her speech at the banquet.
The former presidents Dr. Radhakrishnan in 1963, R. Venkataraman in 1990, and Pratibha Patil in 2009 were among the Indian visitors who were received by the Queen on three separate occasions.
Gift of Nizam of Hyderabad:
Aside from these, another intriguing link between Britain’s Queen and India is that the Nizam of Hyderabad gave then-Princess Elizabeth a Cartier tiara and a diamond necklace. She wore it during her reign and received it as a wedding gift in 1947. Princess Elizabeth picked this platinum necklace encrusted with roughly 300 diamonds as her wedding gift, as per the Nizam’s instructions to the Cartier company in London.