London: Buckingham Palace in London is set for a historic taste of Indian flavours as Queen Elizabeth II hosts the launch of the UK-India Year of Culture. The day begins with the Band of the Grenadier Guards playing A R Rahman’s Oscar-winning ‘Jai Ho’ among other Indian-themed music at the traditional Changing of the Guard ceremony to crowds of tourists outside the palace in central London.
Later in the evening, the 90-year-old Queen will be joined by husband Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip, grandson Prince William and his wife Kate as they host a first-ever reception to celebrate UK-India cultural ties.
“The reception will bring together the best of British and Indian culture and creativity, represented through a range of high profile guests with an interest in both countries,” a Buckingham Palace statement said.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will be representing the Indian government at the reception alongside special guests from the fields of performing arts, fashion, food, literature and sport.
Some of the guest list revealed by the palace includes actors Kunal Nayyar, Neha Kapur and Ayesha Dharker, sports stars Kapil Dev and Rio Ferdinand and sitar maestro Anoushka Shankar.
A host of designers and cultural ambassadors from India will also be among the 200 special guests at the gala event. “A highlight of the evening will include a special Indian themed menu of canapes prepared by Royal Chefs working alongside chefs from Veeraswamy, the UK’s oldest Indian restaurant.
“There will also be a display from the Royal Collection including items from previous Royal Visits to India, and Indian gifts and manuscripts from the Royal Library,” the palace said.
The 2017 UK-India Year of Culture was announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK in November 2015 as a celebration of the deep cultural ties between India and the UK and the 70th anniversary of India’s Independence through a year-long programme of events and exhibitions in India and the UK.
The events are being organised by the British Council, together with the Indian High Commission in London, UK cultural institutions and their Indian counterparts. “This is not just a one year wonder. We hope it will trigger better and meaningful connections on both sides for the future,” said Baroness Usha Prashar, deputy chair of the British Council, at a curtain raiser event.