King Charles III was crowned as the monarch of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth yesterday, the first coronation ceremony held in Britain in the last 70 years.
The new monarch has a strong connection with India, notwithstanding the complicated history of the two nations. As Prince of Wales, Charles has made over 10 trips to India over the years. Two dabbawalas from Mumbai attended his coronation and gifted him a Puneri turban and a shawl made by the Warkari community. The dabbawalas were also invited to King Charles' wedding with Camilla in 2005.
The King has said that he would love to go to India on a state visit and it should be planned soon, Indian-origin peer Lord Karan Bilimoria revealed recently.
Lord Bilimoria said he had the opportunity to raise the topic of India-UK ties and request the 74-year-old King to consider a visit to India.
The UK-based entrepreneur and founder of Cobra Beer, who recently led a trade delegation from Britain to India, believes a state visit by the King would help turbocharge bilateral relations and also the ongoing free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations.
“We know that the King is a friend of India and has a great fondness for the country. He said he would love to go to India on a state visit and that we should plan it soon,” he said.
King Charles last visited India in November 2019, when he was the Prince of Wales, and also celebrated his 71st birthday while in Mumbai.
He has previously spoken of his “great love for India” as the founder of the British Asian Trust – created in 2007 to tackle poverty and hardship in South Asia.
Charles’s Indian connection goes back to his school days in Scotland. His tutor and physics teacher, Shomie Das, later served as principal of some of the top public schools in India such as The Doon School, Lawrence School, Sanawar and Mayo College.
Former Indian Viceroy Lord Mountbatten also significantly influenced the young royal. Charles developed close relations with many cities in India. They include Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Jaipur and
The then-bachelor Prince Charles’ visit to India in 1980 got much media attention when Bollywood actress Padmini Kolhapore kissed him on the cheek.
In 2003, during his nine-day visit to India, Prince Charles met then President Abdul Kalam, and also took a ride on the Delhi Metro. He also had a 20-minute meeting with dabbawalas in Mumbai at Churchgate railway station in South Mumbai, and his ongoing friendship with them was evident at his coronation.
During this visit, Prince Charles delivered a speech in Mumbai in which he said, "I will have to pay many more visits to this vast and diverse country for which I have a particular affection."
In the past decade, Prince Charles has met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other political leaders to discuss wide-ranging issues on strengthening bilateral cooperation, climate change, trade and defence ties, among other issues.
PM Modi congratulated King Charles III and Queen Camilla on their coronation.
“Warmest congratulations to King Charles III and Queen Camilla on their coronation. We are sure that the India-UK relationship will be strengthened further in the coming years. @RoyalFamily”, the prime minister tweeted.