Meet people of Indian origin attending King Charles III’s coronation | India News
Octogenarian Lord Navnit Dholakia, deputy leader, Liberal Democrats, in the House of Lords, is one of the lucky peers who will be attending the coronation. “ I feel greatly honoured to receive the invitation to the coronation service this coming Saturday. It was quite a shock to be chosen from the membership of the House of Lords. This honour will last with me for years to come,” Lord Dholakia, who is of Gujarati origin and has been a member of the House of Lords for over 25 years, told the Times of India.
“I am a great supporter of monarchy in the United Kingdom. At every stage of their reign, they have supported our multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi religious communities. Britain’s record in establishing a society based on equality, and good relations is second to none. King Charles will undoubtedly take the matter forward as he has already indicated during his time when representing the Queen at various functions,” said Dholakia who will don a traditional ermine robe in the Westminster Abbey, in keeping with the official dress code for the occasion.
British Indian businessman and life peer in the House of Lords, Karan Bilimoria, however, is not going to be at Westminster Abbey to witness the coronation of Britain’s new monarch.
“The coronation this time is more modest and slimmed down compared to the past and it is disappointing not to be able to attend this historic event. However, I am lucky to be selected through a ballot as one of the 30 members of the House of Lords who will be present to witness the coronation procession from the House of Parliament nearby,” he said.
Earlier this week, Bilimoria, along with other peers and MPs, had met King Charles at a reception in the British Parliament to celebrate the forthcoming coronation of their majesties the King and Queen Consort.
“The King has a soft spot for India and had visited several times as the Prince of Wales. I spoke to him about planning a state visit to India soon; which is likely to have an enormous positive impact on the relations between the two countries. And he has agreed,” Bilimoria added.
Lord Raj Loomba, who is also a peer of Indian origin in the House of Lords, too, was present at the reception. “I was honoured and privileged to meet His Majesty King Charles III at the reception. The coronation of a new monarch is a unique moment for the country,” Loomba told the Times of India.
During a brief conversation with King Charles, he spoke about his Loomba Foundation which had worked with one of the royal charities, Youth Business International, to empower poor widows in several countries as a global partner. “I also informed him that the United Nations has recognised International Widows Day, an annual global day of action, to raise awareness and address the plight of widows around the world,” Loomba added.
Significantly, 850 community representatives have been invited to the coronation ceremony on Saturday, in recognition of their charitable contributions. Maya Joshi, a Leicester-based recipient of the British Empire Medal, in recognition of her voluntary work at health and well-being clinic Peepul Centre Crisis Café, is an invitee. She supports vulnerable adults, the community with hearing loss, Age UK and women experiencing domestic abuse.
“I couldn’t be prouder as I never thought I would ever have attended something like this, let alone be recognised for my voluntary work. I feel truly honoured,” Joshi said.
Jay Patel, a young Indian student who moved to Canada from India in 2021 to pursue international studies in business, is another attendee of the coronation of King Charles. A beneficiary of one of the Prince’s Trust Canada’s youth employment programmes; Patel was chosen because of his enthusiastic participation.
“He was a joy to work with and he quickly learned new skills that helped him get a job at one of Canada’s most iconic tourist attractions, the CN Tower, as a cook,” a spokesperson of the trust, which was founded in 1976 by the King, when he was the Prince of Wales, said. Patel arrived in Canada, during the pandemic and though it was difficult for him to find a good job to help support himself while he studied, he did not give up hope.
“He saw an advertisement for Prince’s Trust Canada that was tailored towards helping young newcomers find jobs and he enrolled. Through the programme he learned valuable professional skills and was connected to the CN Tower where he secured a job as a cook and realised that culinary arts are becoming a real passion for him,” the spokesperson for the Trust said.
And now with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend the coronation; Patel hopes to be able to experience the unique ceremony, explore London and meet with other youth ambassadors from around the world whom the group of Prince’s Trust Charities have helped.
“I’m excited to have this opportunity to be one of just 2000 people attending His Majesty’s coronation. If I had the chance to meet the King, I would say thank you for helping young people,” he told the Times of India.
The coronation ceremony will also embrace a multi-faith message with a wider range of religions represented than ever before. Radharaman Das, a Hindu priest from the famous ISKCON Bhaktivedanta Manor Temple, in Watford, will be at Westminster Abbey on Saturday, to attend the ceremony.