Queen who knew India from Mahatma to Modi

NEW DELHI: In 2018, Queen Elizabeth II showed Prime Minister Narendra Modi crocheted cotton lace made from a thread set by Mahatma Gandhi himself. It was his wedding gift to her on November 20, 1947. The story goes that Gandhi told Lord Mountbatten that he wanted to send a wedding gift but had given away all his possessions. Mountbatten, the last governor general, suggested that he spin her some yarn. The thread was then woven into lace which Mountbatten himself brought to the bride.
Elizabeth was 27 at the time of her coronation on 2 June 1953. During her nearly 70-year reign she visited India three times, the first time on 21 January 1961. It was a 23-day visit with a 15-day break to tour the two wings of Pakistan.

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India gave her a grand welcome. TOI reported: “12 miles of humanity gathered on either side of the festively decorated procession from Palam to Rashtrapati Bhavan in the biggest and most dignified welcome Delhi has seen. ”
He visited 11 cities, taking in, among others, the Republic Day parade in Delhi, the Taj, the lion capital Sarnath, elephant processions in Jaipur and Varanasi, a boat trip on the Ganges, palace receptions in Udaipur and a rest day at Tipu Sultan’s hill fort at Nandi. She saw her husband, Prince Philipbag a tiger in Sawai Madhopur and a crocodile in the lake of Udaipur.
The Queen and Prince Philip visited again from 17 to 23 November 1983. They visited Hyderabad where they stayed at the Rashtrapati Nilayam, the southern home of the Indian President, and visited BHEL which had developed an electric vehicle called an ‘electrovan’. On November 20, their 36th wedding anniversary, the royal couple attended services at Holy Trinity Church in Secunderabad, built in 1846 with the input of Elizabeth’s great-grandmother, Queen Victoria.
Her last visit to India was in 1997 – the 50th year of India’s Independence, when India carried “little baggage from its colonial past. “‘Her Majesty’ could be just another head of state,” said a TOI article on October 13, 1997.
The royal family, and the Queen herself, came under fire at the time following the death of Princess Diana on August 31 of that year. The question of whether the Queen would apologize for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre during her visit to Amritsar was also in the air. But as TOI noted: “it really doesn’t matter. Fifty years after our independence, we do not need token apologies from our former rulers…. ”

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