Queen to Launch 2017 UK-India Year of Culture

Queen to Launch 2017 UK-India Year of Culture

The Queen to launch 2017 UK-India Year of Culture 


Monday 27th February 2017

Her Majesty The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and other Members of the Royal Family, will host a reception to mark the launch of the UK-India Year of Culture 2017.

The 2017 UK-India Year of Culture will celebrate the deep cultural ties and the 70th anniversary of India’s Independence through a year-long programme of events and exhibitions which will take place in both countries. The events are being organised by the British Council, together with the Indian High Commission in London, UK institutions and their Indian counterparts, with the aim of connecting and inspiring people to celebrate the long-standing relationship and vibrant cultural history.

The reception will bring together the best of British and Indian culture and creativity, represented through a range of high profile guests with an interest in both countries. The attendees include guests from the fields of performing arts, fashion, food, literature and sport such as Kunal Nayyar, Neha Kapur, Ayesha Dharker, Kapil Dev, Rio Ferdinand, Anoushka Shankar and Joe Wright.

A highlight of the evening will include a special Indian themed menu of canapes prepared by Royal Chefs working alongside chefs from Veeraswamy, the UK’s oldest Indian Restaurant. There will also be a display from the Royal Collection including items from previous Royal Visits to India, and Indian gifts and manuscripts from the Royal Library.

Earlier in the day, the Band of the Grenadier Guards will a play a selection of Indian themed music during the Changing of the Guard Ceremony, including soundtracks from the movie “Slumdog Millionaire”.

The Queen and The Royal Family have a personal connection with India and have visited several times. Her Majesty’s first State Visit to India, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, was in 1961, as the guests of Dr Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India. The first engagement was to Raj Ghat, the spot where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated, where The Queen left a tribute of a wreath of 500 roses and planted a tree. At the State Banquet that evening, Her Majesty said: “To all in India I bring a greeting of goodwill and affection from the British people. I hope that our visit will demonstrate to the world the respect and friendship which exists between Britain and India, and indeed all the countries which are joined together in the free partnership of the Commonwealth. 

Before leaving India, Her Majesty reflected on the visit: My husband and I will take with us the most vivid impressions of places, events, and people. Of events there were so many that they form a kaleidoscope of infinite colour and variety. Most of all we were thrilled by the wonderful welcome which was given to us wherever we went but such great and friendly crowds.” 

Since then, Her Majesty and His Royal Highness have paid two further State Visits to India (in 1983 and 1997) and received three incoming State Visits to the UK from India (1963, 1990 and 2009). In 2009, at the State Banquet given for the then President of India Smt. Pratibha Patil in Windsor Castle, Her Majesty said that the “warmth and hospitality of the Indian people, and the richness and diversity of India itself have been an inspiration” [to her and her family]. The Queen also reflected on the UK’s and India’s “long shared history, which today is a source of great strength in building a new partnership fit for this new century“.

The most recent visit to India was by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2016 (To read more about the Cambridges visit to India in 2016, why not get a copy of Issue 23 of Royal Life).

British Council 

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. They create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. Using the UK’s cultural resources, the British Council makes a positive contribution to the countries they work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.

2017 UK/India Year of Culture 

In 2017, the UK and India will celebrate a major bilateral year of cultural exchange. India and the UK have a long and rich history. UK/India 2017 will enrich relationships at all levels of society, their institutions and government, building a shared future for generations to come. For more information on UK/India 2017 please visit www.britishcouncil.in and www.hcilondon.in

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