The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh began their State Visit to India on this day in 1961, exactly 60 years ago, at the start of an extensive Tour of India and Pakistan and State Visits to Nepal and Iran, which eventually ended in March, and was the first visit by a Reigning British Monarch since the Delhi Durbar of 1911 and Indian Independence in 1947.
Beginning in Delhi, the Queen and Duke visited the Taj Mahal in Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Bombay, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Madras, Calcutta, and Benares, in a series of engagements full of Parades, Banquets, Processions and Receptions. In Delhi, the Queen was hosted by President Rajendra Prasad and Prime Minister Pandit Nehru, being the guest of honour at the Republic Day Parade, a large Rally, a Garden Party and a magnificent State Banquet for the Queen (wearing Queen Alexandra’s Kokoshnik Tiara with Greville Ruby and Diamond Floral Bandeau Necklace) at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
In Jaipur, the Queen and Duke were hosted by the Maharaja, the then Governor of the State of Rajasthan, and Maharani of Jaipur, close friends of the Royal Family, at the enchanting Rambagh Palace for a series of events including an elephant procession, tiger hunt and polo match.
The Royal Couple also stayed with the Maharaja of Udaipur, the Maharaja of Benares and the Maharaja of Mysore during the visit, who despite not having any ruling powers, were the Governors of their States. The Queen and Duke were in India in three separate periods, from January 21st to February 1st, then again from February 16th to the 26th, and finally on March 1st and 2nd, which were interrupted by the Tour of Pakistan and then the State Visit to Nepal. The Queen has visited India two more times during her Reign, and more recent Royal Visits include the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall’s visits to India and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in India in 2016.