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The Great Coronation of Delhi Durbar 1911

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Published on Apr 19, 2011

Held in December to commemorate the coronation of King George V and Queen Mary as Emperor and Empress of India. Practically every ruling prince, nobleman, landed gentry and other persons of note in India attended to pay obeisance to their sovereigns. The Sovereigns appeared in their Coronation robes, the King-Emperor wearing the Imperial Crown of India with eight arches, containing six thousand one hundred and seventy exquisitely cut diamonds, and covered with sapphires, emeralds and rubies, with a velvet and miniver cap all weighing 34.05 ounces (965 g). They then appeared at a darshan (a sight) at the jharoka (balcony window) of Red Fort, to receive half a million or more of the common people who had come to greet them.A feature film of the coronation titled With Our King and Queen Through India (1912) -- also known as The Durbar in Delhi -- was filmed in the early color process Kinemacolor and released on 2 February 1912.

A Delhi Herald of Arms Extraordinary and an Assistant Herald were appointed for the 1911 Durbar (Brigadier-General William Peyton and Captain the Hon. Malik Mohammed Umar Hayat Khan), but their duties were more ceremonial than heraldic.

There is a magnificent tiara belonging to the present Queen called the Delhi Durbar Tiara. The necklace was presented to Queen Mary by the Maharanee of Patiala on behalf of the Ladies of India to mark the first visit to India by a British Queen-Empress. At the Queen's suggestion, it was designed to match her other emerald jewellery created for the Delhi Durbar. In 1912 Garrards slightly altered the necklace, making the existing emerald pendant detachable and adding a second detachable diamond pendant. This is an 8.8 carats (1,800 mg) marquise diamond known as Cullinan VII, one of the nine numbered stones cut from the Cullinan Diamond. The necklace was inherited by the Queen in 1953 and was recently worn by the Duchess of Cornwall to a ball where she met the Norwegian Royal Family.

Twenty-six thousand eight hundred (26,800) Delhi Durbar Silver Medals of 1911 were awarded mostly to men and officers of the British regiments. A small number were also struck in gold for award to Indian princely rulers and the highest ranking government officers.

Today Coronation Park is a jealously guarded open space whose emptiness comes as a bit of a shock after the dense traffic and crowded shanty towns of northern Delhi's urban sprawl. It is mostly overgrown, neglected and locked. The Park is sometimes used for big religious festivals and municipal conventions.

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