The vibrancy, music and essence of India will fuse with royalty in the Buckingham Palace as Queen Elizabeth prepares to welcome Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and a host of celebrities to be a part of the grand event organized for the launch of UK-India year of Culture 2017.
The year was declared during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2015, but the Brexit vote six months later has prompted extra focus since India is among the top countries Britain is courting to compensate for the loss of European market.
The change of guards at the palace, in the presence of a huge audience, will take place to the tunes of the song ‘Jai Ho’ from Slumdog Millionaire in the backdrop. Later in the evening, Queen Elizabeth II will host a grand reception to celebrate the launch. The chefs from Veeraswamy, the oldest Indian restaurant in London, will rustle up Indian-themed menu in the royal kitchen.
Jaitley, who is on a four-day visit particularly to represent India at the royal event, will be joined by celebrities such as Joe Wright, Kapil Dev, Anoushka Shankar, Katrina Kaif, Neha Kapur, Ayesha Dharker and Rio Ferdinand among others.
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.
Buckingham Palace noted that Queen Elizabeth and her family have visited India several times. The Queen first visited India in 1961, as the guest of our former president, Rajendra Prasad. She then visited India in 1983 and 1997, and received three incoming state visits from India (1963, 1990 and 2009). Lately, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made their royal visit to India in 2016.
The India day at Buckingham Palace is part of a busy calendar of events that has been put together to celebrate the year, which also marks 70th year of India’s independence. The UK-India Year of Culture is aimed at celebrating the deep cultural ties.
It includes events by Indian and British institutions such as the British Film Institute, Kew Gardens, Open University, British Library and the Science Museum. Copies of the Magna Carta and Shakespeare’s First Folio are being exhibited in India.