The upcoming royal wedding between Prince William of England and Kate Middelton will occur almost exactly 100 years after another milestone event in the history of the British Royal Family – the legendary “Delhi Durbar” of 1911.
The Durbar was held to commemorate the coronation of the reigning monarchs of that time -- King George V and Queen Mary – as the Emperor and Empress of India. (They had had their coronation as King and Queen at Westminster Abbey in June).
The ceremony was held at Coronation Park in Delhi in December of that year and also celebrated the shifting of the capital of Empire from Calcutta to Delhi
King George V was the great-great-grandfather of the current Prince William.
Thousands of people attended, including virtually every ruling prince, nobleman, and landowner in India.
George V wore his “coronation robe” including the Imperial Crown of India “with eight arches, containing six thousand one hundred and seventy exquisitely cut diamonds, and covered with sapphires, emeralds and rubies, with a velvet and miniver cap all weighing 34.05 ounces.”
It is believed that the Emperor and Empress received at least a half-million common people who came to greet them,
Queen Mary was presented with a necklace by the Maharani of Patiala on behalf of the Ladies of India to mark the first visit to India by a reigning British queen. The current Queen Elizabeth IIinherited the necklace when she ascended to the throne in 1953.
The 1911 Delhi Durbar was the third and last event of its kind.
In 1936, after the abdication of King Edward VIII, his successor (and brother) George VI was planning to visit India to celebrate his own Durbar.
During the king’s speech in 1937, George VI declared: I am looking forward with interest and pleasure to the time when it will be possible for Me to visit My Indian Empire.
However, with nationalistic feelings running strong in the country, the Indian National Congress called for a boycott of any such visit.