Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar interacted with King Charles III at a reception soon after his arrival here on Friday to attend the majestic Coronation ceremony of the UK's monarch at Westminster Abbey on Saturday.
Mr. Dhankhar, accompanied by his wife Dr. Sudesh Dhankhar, will join an estimated 100 Heads of State and government from around the world, invited to the historic crowning of Britain’s new monarch.
“Hon’ble Vice President, Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar & Dr Sudesh Dhankhar arrived to a warm welcome in London to attend the Coronation Ceremony of H.M. King Charles III,” the Vice President's Office tweeted.
"Hon'ble Vice President, Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar interacted with King Charles III during reception hosted by him for Commonwealth leaders at Marlborough House, London," it said in another tweet.
"VP Jagdeep Dhankhar@VPIndia joined leaders of the Commonwealth countries at a special event hosted by H.M. King Charles III at the Marlborough House, London. Exchanged views with Commonwealth leaders on making the institution of the Commonwealth stronger and more focused," the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted.
Soon after his arrival, the Vice-President joined other Commonwealth leaders for discussions hosted by Commonwealth General Secretary Baroness Patricia Scotland at Marlborough House in London. This was the first opportunity for Mr. Dhankhar to meet the 74-year-old monarch ahead of the ceremony at the Abbey.
He is also invited to Buckingham Palace for a reception hosted by King Charles for the Heads of State, world leaders and other official guests on Friday evening.
Later on Friday evening, Mr. Dhankhar will interact with members of the Indian diaspora at a community reception organised by the Indian High Commission in London.
“India and UK have a historic relationship and share values of democracy, rule of law and many complementarities and convergences. The relationship was elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2021 with the adoption of Roadmap 2030 for Future Relations,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said with reference to the two-day Vice-Presidential visit to the UK.
The last visit of the Indian Head of State to the UK was that of President Droupadi Murmu, who visited the country in September last year to attend the State funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth II and offer condolences on behalf of India.
The Buckingham Palace has said that the Coronation Service of King Charles and Queen Camilla at Westminster Abbey will be attended by a congregation of more than 2,200 people.
Besides 100 Heads of State, guests attending will include members of the royal family, as well as international representatives from 203 countries alongside community and charity champions.
The majestic ceremony, complete with gilded carriages and regalia last witnessed 70 years ago when Charles’ late mother was crowned Queen Elizabeth II in June 1953, will also have representation from a number of Indian-origin professionals.
British Indian chef Manju Malhi has been invited among 450 British Empire Medal (BEM) winners for her work with an old age charity.
Also invited is Sourabh Phadke, a graduate of the Prince’s Foundation’s Building Craft Programme and the Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts— set up in Dumfries House, Scotland, by Charles as the Prince of Wales, with a vision to provide holistic solutions to challenges facing the world.
Among other young people associated with the former Prince of Wales’ charity initiatives invited to his elevation as King include Gulfsha, who was awarded the Prince’s Trust Global Award in 2022 in recognition of her exceptional determination and achievements, demonstrated through her participation in the charity’s 'Get Into' programme in India.
From Canada, Indian-origin Jay Patel is also among the invitees to the Abbey on Saturday for completing the Prince's Trust Canada's Youth Employment programme in May 2022.
In addition to the guests seated in the Abbey, 400 young people representing charitable organisations nominated by the King and Queen Camilla and the UK government will watch the Coronation Service and Processions from inside St. Margaret’s Church at Westminster Abbey.
The overall guest list will also include Members of Parliament, former British Prime Ministers, representatives from the church and other faiths, representatives from the country’s defence services and Nobel Prize winners.
There will also be several celebrities in the congregation including American singer-songwriter Lionel Ritchie as an Ambassador of the Prince’s Trust and Kelly Jones, the lead singer of the band Stereophonics, also for her association with the Trust.