Queen Elizabeth acceded to the throne in 1952, becoming the first British monarch after India’s Independence. During her 70-year reign, she visited India thrice – in 1961, 1983 and 1997. In one of her addresses, the Queen had said that she cherished the “warmth and hospitality of the Indian people”. The Queen had found the “richness and diversity of India” as an inspiration.
Here’s a look at her meeting with Indian Prime Ministers during official visits:
In 1961, the Queen and her husband, Prince Phillip – Duke of Edinburgh – toured Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. In this photo, the Queen is seen with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. She also visited the Taj Mahal in Agra and paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat in New Delhi during the visit.
They were Guests of Honour at the Republic Day Parade on the invitation of the then President, Dr Rajendra Prasad. During her visit, the Queen addressed a massive crowd of several thousand people packed into Ramlila Grounds in Delhi, dressed in a fur coat and hat.
In 1969, the Queen hosted a banquet in London where she was spotted chatting with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In 1983, her visit was in time for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and she famously presented Mother Teresa with an honorary Order of the Merit.
Her final visit to India was to mark the 50th anniversary celebrations of India’s Independence in 1997 and for the first time she made a reference to “difficult episodes” of colonial history. “It is no secret that there have been some difficult episodes in our past. Jallianwala Bagh is a distressing example,” the monarch noted in her banquet address.
In 2009, she met then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a reception for world leaders attending the G20 summit at Buckingham Palace.
The Queen also hosted three Indian Presidents – Dr Radhakrishnan in 1963, R Venkataraman in 1990 and Pratibha Patil in 2009.