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When Queen Elizabeth II visited Bolarum’s Holy Trinity Church on her 36th wedding anniversary

Special invitations, passes issued on the occasion on November 20, 1983

September 09, 2022 02:28 pm | Updated September 10, 2022 10:58 am IST - HYDERABAD:

Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to the Holy Trinity Church, Bolarum in Secunderabad on November 20, 1983 to attend a special Sunday service. The day was also her 36th wedding anniversary. Photo: CSI Holy Trinity Church, Bolarum

Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to the Holy Trinity Church, Bolarum in Secunderabad on November 20, 1983 to attend a special Sunday service. The day was also her 36th wedding anniversary. Photo: CSI Holy Trinity Church, Bolarum

Far away from England, where Queen Elizabeth II breathed her last on September 8, dozens of old timers and members of the British era 175-year-old Holy Trinity Church are grieving the passing away of their special guest to their church way back in November 1983.

November 20, 1983, the day on which Queen Elizabeth II accompanied by her husband Prince Andrew Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh drove in a convoy of cars to the church, is still etched in the memory of the churchgoers. Incidentally, it was the day when the couple celebrated their 36 th wedding anniversary.

Red Letter Day

Many of them, in their early twenties then, who are in their late 60’s and 70’s now went down memory lane recalling what they call a ‘Red Letter Day’ in the history of the church—tucked away in a corner of a bylane in Bolarum surrounded by Army units all around in Secunderabad Cantonment.

Prof. G.S. Gabriel, formerly with Linguistics department of Potti Sriramulu Telugu University, then 23-years-old, told The Hindu on Friday how important that occasion was. “A month or so before her arrival, an announcement was made in the Church that Queen Elizabeth II with her husband will be visiting the Church to attend the Sunday service on her 36 th wedding anniversary,” he said.

Special invitations

Special invitations were printed to mark the occasion. The two page invitation had a picture of the Queen on one side and on the other it read; “ The Holy Trinity Church, Bolarum cordially invites you to the ‘The Matins Service on November 20, 1983 at 9.30 am. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth will attend the service and Bishop of Church of South India, Medak Diocese Rev P. Victor Premsagar will be the preacher”.

Invitation to Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Holy Trinity Church in 1983. Photo: CSI Holy Trinity Church, Bolarum

Invitation to Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Holy Trinity Church in 1983. Photo: CSI Holy Trinity Church, Bolarum

“Right from Lakdawala junction to the Church, hundreds of people lined up on the two-sides of the road to welcome her. They showered flowers on the convoy and waved cheerfully,” Prof Gabriel recalled adding that it was a festive atmosphere at the church which was built in 1847 by Queens’ grandmother, Queen Victoria, from her own money. The land was donated by Nizam of Hyderabad for construction of the church for the serving British Army officers, their families and few Indian Christian families.

Each family was issued passes that allowed three members to attend the special service. Special invitations were printed and each seat was numbered for the guests and the congregation.

On arrival at the church, she was received by the congregation and ushered in. “She was seated on the first bench of the front row on the right side of the Pulpit,” Prof Gabriel said, pointing out that the Queen sat through the two-hour long special English service conducted by Rev. Victor Premsagar and assisted by Rev. B. P. Sugandhar and Rev. John Hamilton, the then Presbyter of the service.

Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to the Holy Trinity Church, Bolarum in Secunderabad on November 20, 1983 to attend a special Sunday service. The day was also her 56th wedding anniversary. Photo: CSI Holy Trinity Church, Bolarum 

Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to the Holy Trinity Church, Bolarum in Secunderabad on November 20, 1983 to attend a special Sunday service. The day was also her 56th wedding anniversary. Photo: CSI Holy Trinity Church, Bolarum 

Unveils Tablet

At the end of the service, the Queen unveiled a Tablet to mark her visit to the Church. She was also presented a four-lead brochure with the picture of the Church on the occasion,

Ms. Chandra Leela Daniel, a retired Head Mistress, who was 21-year-old then, said the entire Church was jam-packed with guests, dignitaries and the members. “We all sat in our designated places even as all eyes were on the Queen, what she was doing,” she said noting that the special service was memorable. She added that in honour of the Queen’s visit, and the historical attachment of her grandmother to the church, it is also referred to as “Queens Church”.

Condolences

Meanwhile, the Presbyter-in-charge and the congregation of the Church expressed their heartfelt condolences on the demise of Her Majesty, the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II, the Supreme Governor of the Church of England and Anglican Communion.

Her Royal Highness visited our Church on November 20th 1983. May her soul rest in Peace, a message posted by the church said.

On September 11, the church is gearing up to pay their tributes to Her Majesty by observing two minutes silence.

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