Prince Andrew at Queen Elizabeth’s birthday celebrations in Delhi

March 10th, 2010 - 11:59 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 10 (IANS) The sprawling lawns of British High Commissioner Richard Stagg’s residence Wednesday rocked to the spirit of Britain-India kinship as Prince Andrew, the third child of Queen Elizabeth II, flagged off his mother’s 84th birthday celebrations in India.

Prince Andrew, the guest of honour, flew to India March 8 on a five-day visit till March 13 to foster bilateral ties between the two countries.

“The Duke of York visited Mumbai before arriving in the capital today (Wednesday). He met Minister for Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma and several industrialists as the UK’s special representative for international trade and investment, supporting British companies trading internationally and encouraging foreign investment,” a British high commission spokesperson told IANS at the reception at the envoy’s home.

From Delhi, he will proceed to Kolkata where he will meet industry representatives to explore possibilities of British investment, the spokesperson added.

The birthday celebrations were significant because India is hosting the Commonwealth Games in October, the spokesperson said.

The prince mingled freely with more than 500 guests - the glitterati of the capital comprising industrialists, politicians, journalists, writers and socialites - who virtually spilled into the residence’s living quarters.

The high point of the reception was the presence of the English hockey and archery teams, who were formally introduced to the Prince Andrew.

Some of those spotted in the crowd were Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, former Lok Sabha speaker P.A. Sangma and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Wine flowed freely as the guests dug into essentially British fare. “I almost feel the queen’s presence around,” said a senior politician, refusing to be named.

The queen’s birthday is on April 21 and the celebrations had begun earlier this week in Britain.

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