The British High Commissioner for India held a birthday party for The Queen tonight, with Royal guests, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
India, as a Commonwealth realm, celebrated Her Majesty’s 90th birthday – which takes place later this month – with a party at the High Commissioner’s house. William and Catherine were there to represent The Queen, and even cut the birthday cake.
As the Royal guests arrived, a band played a medley songs.
William and Kate walked through the grounds of the palatial Lutyens-designed house chatting to guests who were there to celebrate Her Majesty’s milestone birthday.
Food and drink were notable: Johnnie Walker black label whiskey, and some punchy G&Ts were available to guests, with canapes of Murg Malai Tikka, Aloo Sabutdana Ki Tikki and (for those more accustomed to British tastes) apple Stilton Welsh Rarebits, mini beer battered fish and chips and thin crust cheese and tomato pizza.
One guest, Prof Bulbul Dhar-James, who teaches political science at Jamia Mellia Islamia university, asked the Duchess how she kept cheery through all the engagements.
“I asked her “aren’t you tired of smiling?” And she said “I’m just reciprocating. Everyone is so warm”.”
“They were both really gracious. She was so welcoming and warm. We told her “You look much better in person than in your photographs”.” Something of a backhanded compliment!
Will and Kate spent the day in New Delhi; they laid a wreath in honour of the Indian war dead, and then paid a visit to the site of Mohatma Ghandi’s assassination, also his former home. Read about their day here.
The Duke and Duchess moved onto the stage after a short while, where they cut a birthday cake for Her Majesty.
Elizabeth II had sent a message along with the Duke, which he read out.
Prince William then gave a speech in honour of his grandmother. He said: “Tonight, we are celebrating the links between our two countries. This is the first time Catherine and I have been to India and we have been incredibly impressed to see just how much this great country is on the move, and how India’s dynamism is matched by the warmth and welcome of its diverse people.
“I am honoured that we also have a chance, tonight, to celebrate a very happy milestone for the United Kingdom and for my family in particular.
“Next week, Her Majesty The Queen, my grandmother, turns 90. I am so grateful to all of you for turning out tonight to help us mark that occasion,” William said.
“The Queen is very fond of India, having visited this great country three times during her reign. And India of course is the biggest country in the Commonwealth, the family of nations to which she has committed so much of her life’s work.
“India’s contribution to the Commonwealth is something that is enormously important to her. As my grandmother’s birthday gives us a chance to celebrate the partnership between our nations, I hope you don’t mind if I take the opportunity to pay tribute to The Queen on a more personal note.
“I am incredibly lucky to have my grandmother in my life. As she turns 90, she is a remarkably energetic and dedicated guiding force for her family. And I am so glad that my children are having the chance to get to know The Queen. George and Charlotte, too, will discover how lucky they are to have such a wonderful great-grandmother – a role model for the rest of their lives.”
“Now, it is important that everyone here tonight understands that I am here as The Queen’s representative. She may be my grandmother, but she is also very much the boss!
Her Majesty had sent a message along with the Duke, which he said he was ‘privileged’ to read out.
“Prince Philip and I send our warmest good wishes to all you attending this special Garden Party. I am delighted that The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been able to join you this afternoon during their visit to your country.
“I have fond memories of our previous visits to India. This event today is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the enduring friendship between our two countries, our shared culture and the business opportunities we can create together.
“It is with great pleasure that I entrust another generation of my family to strengthen and renew our bonds. Signed, Elizabeth R.”
“Now I can report back to Granny that I have done my duty!
“Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining with us to wish The Queen a very happy birthday. Bahot dhanyavaad (‘Thank you’ in Hindi),” William finished.