|Emperor of India|
|Last monarch|| George VI |
(continued as monarch of India and Pakistan)
|Formation||1 May 1876|
|Abolition||22 June 1948|
Emperor or Empress of India was a title used by British monarchs from 1 May 1876 (with the Royal Titles Act 1876) to 22 June 1948, that was used to signify their rule over British India, as its imperial head of state.The image of the emperor or empress was used to signify British authority—his or her profile, for instance, appearing on currency, in government buildings, railway stations, courts, on statues etc. "God Save the King" (or, alternatively, "God Save the Queen") was the national anthem of British India. Oaths of allegiance were made to the emperor or empress and the lawful successors by the governors-general, princes, governors, commissioners in India in events such as imperial durbars.
The title was abolished on 22 June 1948, with the Indian Independence Act 1947, under which George VI made a royal proclamation that the words "Emperor of India", were to be omitted in styles of address and from customary titles. This was almost a year after he had become king as the titular head of the newly partitioned and independent Dominion of India and Dominion of Pakistan in 1947. The monarchies were abolished on the establishment of the Republic of India in 1950 and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in 1956.
Constitutionally speaking, the emperor or empress was the source of all legislative, executive, and judicial authority in the British Indian Empire as the sovereign. However, the emperor or empress took little direct part in the affairs of government. The exercise of sovereign powers was instead delegated from the emperor or empress, either by statute or by convention, to a "viceroy and governor-general", who in turn was appointed by the emperor or empress on the advice of the secretary of state for India, a British minister of the Crown. In addition to serving as the sovereign's representative in India, the viceroy was also ex-officio head of the Imperial Legislative Council and its two houses: a Central Legislative Assembly and a Council of State. Both legislative chambers were composed of delegations from the several provinces and the many princely states. The Imperial Legislative Council's remit was subject to the supremacy of the British Parliament.
Executive power was exercised by the viceroy, as concerned the presidencies and provinces, and by the Indian rulers in relation to the many princely states, on the advice of the Government of India, which operated under the supervision, direction, and control of the India Office in London. The viceroy also had at his disposal the Armed Forces, including the British Indian Army and Royal Indian Navy, together with the Indian Civil Service, other crown servants, and the intelligence services. However, the emperor or empress received certain foreign intelligence reports before the viceroy did.
Judicial power was administered in the sovereign's name by India's various Crown Courts, which by statute had judicial independence from the Government. Other public bodies independent of the Government of India were also legally constituted and empowered from time to time, whether by an Act of Parliament, a statute of the Imperial Legislative Council or by statutory instrument, such as an Order in Council or a royal commission.
After the nominal Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar was deposed at the conclusion of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 (10 May 1857 – 1 November 1858), the government of the United Kingdom decided to transfer control of British India and its princely states from the mercantile East India Company (EIC) to the Crown, thus marking the beginning of the British Raj. The EIC was officially dissolved on 1 June 1874, and the British prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli, decided to offer Queen Victoria the title "empress of India" shortly afterwards. Victoria accepted this style on 1 May 1876. The first Delhi Durbar (which served as an imperial coronation) was held in her honour eight months later on 1 January 1877.
The idea of having Queen Victoria proclaimed empress of India was not particularly new, as Lord Ellenborough had already suggested it in 1843 upon becoming the governor-general of India. By 1874, Major-General Sir Henry Ponsonby, the Queen's private secretary, had ordered English charters to be scrutinised for imperial titles, with Edgar and Stephen mentioned as sound precedents. The Queen, possibly irritated by the sallies of the republicans, the tendency to democracy, and the realisation that her influence was manifestly on the decline, was urging the move.Another factor may have been that the Queen's first child, Victoria, was married to Frederick, the heir apparent to the German Empire. Upon becoming empress, she would outrank her mother. By January 1876, the Queen's insistence was so great that Benjamin Disraeli felt that he could procrastinate no longer. Initially, Victoria had considered the style "Empress of Great Britain, Ireland, and India", but Disraeli had persuaded the Queen to limit the title to India in order to avoid controversy. Hence, the title Kaisar-i-Hind was coined in 1876 by the orientalist G.W. Leitner as the official imperial title for the British monarch in India. The term Kaisar-i-Hind means emperor of India in the vernacular of the Hindi and Urdu languages. The word kaisar, meaning 'emperor', is a derivative of the Roman imperial title caesar (via Persian, Turkish – see Kaiser-i-Rum ), and is cognate with the German title Kaiser , which was borrowed from the Latin at an earlier date.
Many in the United Kingdom, however, regarded the assumption of the title as an obvious development from the Government of India Act 1858, which resulted in the founding of British India, ruled directly by the Crown. The public were of the opinion that the title of "queen" was no longer adequate for the ceremonial ruler of what was often referred to informally as the Indian Empire. The new styling underlined the fact that the native states were no longer a mere agglomeration but a collective entity.
When Edward VII ascended to the throne on 22 January 1901, he continued the imperial tradition laid down by his mother, Queen Victoria, by adopting the title Emperor of India. Three subsequent British monarchs followed in his footsteps, and the title continued to be used after India and Pakistan had become independent on 15 August 1947. It was not until 22 June 1948 that the style was officially abolished during the reign of George VI.
The first emperor to visit India was George V. For his imperial coronation ceremony at the Delhi Durbar, the Imperial Crown of India was created. The Crown weighs 920 g (2.03 lb) and is set with 6,170 diamonds, 9 emeralds, 4 rubies, and 4 sapphires. At the front is a very fine emerald weighing 32 carats (6.4 g). The king wrote in his diary that it was heavy and uncomfortable to wear: "Rather tired after wearing my crown for 3+1⁄2 hours; it hurt my head, as it is pretty heavy."
The title "Emperor of India" did not disappear when British India became the Dominion of India (1947–1950) and Dominion of Pakistan (1947–1952) after independence in 1947. George VI retained the title until 22 June 1948, the date of a Royal Proclamationmade in accordance with Section 7 (2) of the Indian Independence Act 1947, reading: "The assent of the Parliament of the United Kingdom is hereby given to the omission from the Royal Style and Titles of the words "Indiae Imperator" and the words "Emperor of India" and to the issue by His Majesty for that purpose of His Royal Proclamation under the Great Seal of the Realm." Thereafter, George VI remained monarch of Pakistan until his death in 1952 and of India until it became the Republic of India in 1950.
British coins, as well as those of the Empire and the Commonwealth, had routinely included the abbreviated title Ind. Imp. Coins in India, on the other hand, had the word "empress", and later "king-emperor" in English. The title appeared on coinage in the United Kingdom throughout 1948, with a further Royal Proclamation made on 22 December under the Coinage Act 1870 to omit the abbreviated title.
|Portrait||Name||Birth||Reign||Death||Consort||Imperial Durbar||Royal House|
|Victoria||24 May 1819||1 May 1876 – 22 January 1901||22 January 1901||None|| 1 January 1877 |
(represented by Lord Lytton )
|Edward VII||9 November 1841||22 January 1901 – 6 May 1910||6 May 1910|| 1 January 1903 |
(represented by Lord Curzon )
|Saxe-Coburg and Gotha|
|George V||3 June 1865||6 May 1910 – 20 January 1936||20 January 1936||12 December 1911||Saxe-Coburg and Gotha|
|Edward VIII||23 June 1894||20 January 1936 – 11 December 1936||28 May 1972||None||None||Windsor|
|George VI||14 December 1895||11 December 1936 – 15 August 1947||6 February 1952||None||Windsor|
The Governor-General of India was the representative of the monarch of the United Kingdom and after Indian independence in 1947, the representative of the British monarch. The office was created in 1773, with the title of Governor-General of the Presidency of Fort William. The officer had direct control only over Fort William but supervised other East India Company officials in India. Complete authority over all of British territory in the Indian subcontinent was granted in 1833, and the official came to be known as the "Governor-General of India".
The Imperial Crown of India is the crown that was used by King George V in his capacity as Emperor of India at the Delhi Durbar of 1911.
A princely state was a nominally sovereign entity of the British Indian Empire that was not directly governed by the British, but rather by an Indian ruler under a form of indirect rule, subject to a subsidiary alliance and the suzerainty or paramountcy of the British crown.
The Delhi Durbar was an Indian imperial-style mass assembly organized by the British at Coronation Park, Delhi, India, to mark the succession of an Emperor or Empress of India. Also known as the Imperial Durbar, it was held three times, in 1877, 1903, and 1911, at the height of the British Empire. The 1911 Durbar was the only one that a sovereign, George V, attended. The term was derived from the common Persian term durbar.
The precise style of British sovereigns has varied over the years. The present style is officially proclaimed in two languages:
Rajpramukh was an administrative title in India which existed from India's independence in 1947 until 1956. Rajpramukhs were the appointed governors of certain Indian provinces and states.
The Royal Titles Act 1876 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which officially recognized Queen Victoria as “Empress of India”.
The Indian Independence Act 1947 [1947 CHAPTER 30 10 and 11 Geo 6] is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that partitioned British India into the two new independent dominions of India and Pakistan. The Act received Royal Assent on 18 July 1947 and thus modern-day India and Pakistan, comprising west and east regions, came into being on 15 August.
The territorial evolution of the British Empire is considered to have begun with the foundation of the English colonial empire in the late 16th century. Since then, many territories around the world have been under the control of the United Kingdom or its predecessor states. When the Kingdom of Great Britain was formed in 1707 by the union of the Kingdom of Scotland with the Kingdom of England, the latter country's colonial possessions passed to the new state. Similarly, when Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland in 1801 to form the United Kingdom, control over its colonial possessions passed to the latter state. Collectively, these territories are referred to as the British Empire. Upon much of Ireland gaining independence in 1922 as the Irish Free State, the other territories of the empire remained under the control of the United Kingdom.
A king-emperor is a sovereign ruler who is simultaneously a king of one territory and emperor of another. This title usually results from a merger of a royal and imperial crown, but recognises that the two territories are different politically or culturally and in status. It also denotes a king's imperial status through the acquisition of an empire or vice versa.
Durbar is a Persian-derived term meaning the kings’ or rulers’ noble court or a formal meeting where the king held all discussions regarding the state. It was used in India for a ruler's court or feudal levy as the latter came to be ruled and later administered by foreigners. A durbar may be either a feudal state council for administering the affairs of a princely state, or a purely ceremonial gathering, as in the time of the British Empire in India.
A salute state was a princely state under the British Raj that had been granted a gun salute by the British Crown ; i.e., the protocolary privilege for its ruler to be greeted—originally by Royal Navy ships, later also on land—with a number of cannon shots, in graduations of two salutes from three to 21, as recognition of the state's relative status. The gun-salute system of recognition was first instituted during the time of the East India Company in the late 18th century and was continued under direct Crown rule from 1858.
The Kaisar-i-Hind Medal for Public Service in India was a medal awarded by the Emperor/Empress of India between 1900 and 1947, to "any person without distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex ... who shall have distinguished himself by important and useful service in the advancement of the public interest in British Raj."
Although in the past the style of British Emperor has been (retroactively) applied to a few mythical and historical rulers of Great Britain, Ireland or the United Kingdom, it is sometimes used as a colloquialism to designate either Plantagenet and Tudor caesaropapism or, more frequently, the British sovereign of the Empire of India.
The Chamber of Princes was an institution established in 1920 by a royal proclamation of King-Emperor George V to provide a forum in which the rulers of the princely states of India could voice their needs and aspirations to the colonial government of British India. It survived until the end of the British Raj in 1947.
Coronation Park is a park located burari Road near Nirankari Sarovar in Delhi, India. The park is sometimes referred to as the Coronation Memorial; it was the venue of the Delhi Durbar of 1877 when Queen Victoria was proclaimed the Empress of India. Later it was used to celebrate the accession of King Edward VII in 1903, and, finally, it was here that the Durbar commemorating the coronation of King George V as Emperor of India took place on 12 December 1911, subsequent to his coronation at Westminster Abbey in June 1911. This last celebration had all the princely states in attendance. The decision to hold the Coronation Durbars in Delhi at the vast open ground at Coronation Park was a move to emphasise the historical significance of Delhi as the former capital of the Mughal Empire.
The Star of India refers to a group of flags used during the period of the British Raj in the Indian subcontinent. India had a range of flags for different purposes during its existence. The Princely states had their own flags which were to be flown alongside the British flag as a symbol of suzerainty. The official state flag for use on land was the Union Flag of the United Kingdom and it was this flag that was lowered on Independence Day in 1947. The flag of the governor-general of India was defaced with the Star of India. The civil ensign and naval ensign were the Red Ensign or Blue Ensign, respectively, defaced with the Star of India emblem.
Events in the year 1876 in India.
From 1947 to 1956, the Dominion of Pakistan was a self-governing country within the Commonwealth of Nations that shared a monarch with the United Kingdom and the other Dominions of the Commonwealth. The monarch's constitutional roles in Pakistan were mostly delegated to a vice-regal representative, the governor-general of Pakistan.
The Statue of Queen Victoria, Bangalore, is located at Queen's Park, next to Cubbon Park, Bangalore Cantonment, at the junction of 3 roads, at the border between the Cantonment and the Bangalore Pete. The statue was unveiled on 5 February 1906 by the then Prince of Wales, George Frederick Ernest Albert. The statue was raised out of funds raised by the residents of the Bangalore Civil and Military Station and contributions made by Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV, the Maharaja of Mysore. This Statue of Queen Victoria is one of the five of the original 50 statues of Queen Victoria which were installed in British India, to still stand at its original location. The statue has blossoms of jacaranda falling around. On the other end of Queen's Park is the Statue of King Edward VII.