London, Feb 27: Queen Elizabeth II launched the UK-India Year of Culture with a reception at Buckingham Palace. The year of culture will celebrate the 70th anniversary of India's independence through a year-long programme of events and exhibitions. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley represented the Indian government at the historic event.
For the launch of the year of culture the band of Grenadier Guards played Indian themed music. The Queen and the royal family have a personal connection with India and have visited India several times. The Queen's first state visit to India was in 1961 as a guest to India's first president, Dr. Rajendra Prasad.
Prince William and along with his wife had visited India in April 2016. Indian delegation that attended the reception included the likes of actors Kamal Hassan, Suresh Gopi, cricket legend Kapil Dev, singer and actor Gurdas Mann, fashion designers Manish Arora and Manish Malhotra and sitar maestro Anoushka Shankar.
"That my name was recommended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a huge honour. This is a great occasion to celebrate the shared history of India and the UK. The English language is the best example of that and I often refer to it as a great Indian language that unites us all," said Tamil actor- filmmaker Hassan.
Kapil Dev: Such celebration should have happened long ago
"This is the kind of celebration of India-UK culture that should have happened long ago," said Kapil. Indian High Commissioner to the UK Y K Sinha invited the Indian cricket legend back to the UK in June to launch a special cricketing event celebrating India-UK ties as part of the UK-India Year of Culture events, which he accepted. Image courtesy: @RoyalFamily/Twitter.
Anoushka Shankar and Joe Wright meet the Queen
Sitar player and composer Anoushka Shankar and film director Joe Wright meet the Queen and talk about their work. Image courtesy: @RoyalFamily/Twitter.
The royal kitchens at Buckingham Palace
Royal chefs had been working with chefs from Veeraswamy, the UK's oldest Indian restaurant, to create the evening's menu. Image courtesy: @RoyalFamily/Twitter.
The Royal Family
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, along with other members of the Royal Family had arrived at the UK-India Reception. Image courtesy: @RoyalFamily/Twitter.
The Queen meets the guests
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh met guests which brought together the best of British and Indian culture. Image courtesy: @RoyalFamily/Twitter.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also in attendance
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were also in attendance at the event which celebrates the 2017 UK-India Year of Culture. Image courtesy: @RoyalFamily/Twitter.