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President Patil gets royal welcome from British Queen

Last updated on: October 27, 2009 22:56 IST

President Patil gets royal welcome from British Queen

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President Pratibha Patil was on Tuesday accorded a red-carpet welcome by British Queen Elizabeth II, marked by pomp and pageantry, as she arrived at the imposing Windsor Castle in a stage carriage pulled by six white horses.

The royal welcoming ceremony began when Prince Charles went to Hotel Bentley, where the President was staying, to invite her to Windsor Castle.

The President drove into the majestic castle, where she was presented with a 21-gun royal salute by The King's Troop and Royal Horse Artillery. Simultaneously, another royal salute was fired at the Tower of London by the Honourable Artillery Company.

Text: PTI


Image: Britain's Queen Elizabeth greets President Pratibha Patil as Prince Philip watches in Windsor Castle
Photographs: Toby Melville/Reuters
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As the President reached the nearly 1000-year-old castle, the largest inhabited one in the world, the British monarch presented to President Patil while Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip presented to President's husband Dr Devisingh Shekhawat.

The Queen, along with the President, proceeded towards the lush-green quadrangle of the castle in the traditional golden-crested Australian State Carriage, pulled by six white horses.

The following Scottish state coach, which was pulled by four-horses, carried Shekhawat and the Duke of Edinburgh. On the way, dozens of tourists lined up to see the pageant ceremony, which usually takes place twice in a year, when the Queen invites head of states or monarchs.


Image: President Patil with Queen Elizabeth as their carriage travels through Windsor
Photographs: Toby Melville/Reuters
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The state carriage procession arrived slowly at the quadrangle of Windsor castle, where the guard of honour presented the royal salute to President Patil.

Patil, 75, the first Indian woman to be elected as President, had a look at the Indian gifts from the Royal Collection, which included a shawl presented by Mahatma Gandhi to the Queen on her marriage in 1947.


Image: President Patil and Prince Philip inspect the guard of honour during the welcoming ceremony at Windsor Castle
Photographs: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters
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Later, during the day, Patil is scheduled to meet Leader of Opposition David Cameroon, who will be accompanied by Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague at the White Drawing Room of the Castle, where she will discuss bilateral and international issues concerning the two countries.

She will also meet leader Nick Clegg, the leader of Liberal Democrats, the third-largest party in the UK. The President will also attend the Royal Banquet that will be held in her honour at the St George's Hall, which has a table that can seat up to 160 guests.


Image: Queen Elizabeth and President Patil attend a welcoming ceremony at Windsor Castle
Photographs: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters
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President Patil gets royal welcome from British Queen

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Boosting bilateral ties and improving trade links with the UK is high on the agenda for the President. She will hold talks with Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Wednesday.

Patil is only the third Indian President to visit the UK. President Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan had visited the country in 1963. In 1990, the then President R Venkatraman had paid a state visit to the UK.


Image: Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, ride in a carriage after the official greeting of President Patil by Queen Elizabeth
Photographs: Toby Melville/Reuters
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