England’s queen Elizabeth II breathed her last yesterday September 8. As soon as the news of the British monarch’s passing was shared, condolence messages poured in from all over the world. PM Narendra Modi shared 2 images in his condolence tweet, recalling the past instances of meeting the British queen.
I had memorable meetings with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II during my UK visits in 2015 and 2018. I will never forget her warmth and kindness. During one of the meetings she showed me the handkerchief Mahatma Gandhi gifted her on her wedding. I will always cherish that gesture. pic.twitter.com/3aACbxhLgC— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 8, 2022
In his tweet, PM Modi wrote, “I had memorable meetings with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II during my UK visits in 2015 and 2018. I will never forget her warmth and kindness. During one of the meetings, she showed me the handkerchief Mahatma Gandhi gifted her on her wedding. I will always cherish that gesture.”
MK Gandhi’s ‘gift’ and why was it considered ‘inappropriate’
In an article published in The Telegraph, Pamela Hicks, the daughter of Lord Mountbatten, the last governor-general of India, had mentioned the ‘gift’ sent by MK Gandhi for Elizabeth’s wedding. She had written that her parents had met MK Gandhi before departing for London to attend the wedding, and MK Gandhi told them that he wishes to send something for the young Elizabeth, the British Princess at that time. However, Gandhi told that all his possessions are away at that moment and he does not know what to send.
It is notable here that Pamela Hicks was one of the 7 bridesmaids for the princess and a cousin of the groom, Prince Philip.
At this, Lord Mountbatten suggested to Gandhi that a piece of cloth from the yarn he has spun with his own hands would be as precious as the crown jewels. So Gandhi had sent a piece of cloth with the Mountbattens.
Queen Mary was confused and thought it was a ‘loincloth’ of Gandhi
When Elizabeth’s mother Queen Mary saw the piece of cloth sent by Gandhi, she was confused about what it was. In Pamela Hicks’ words, she thought it to be a loincloth of Gandhi, and stated that it was the most ‘indelicate’ gift. The piece of cloth was never used by the royal couple because they never understood its purpose, as per Pamela Hicks.
Elizabeth and Philip’s wedding
Princess Elizabeth married Prince Philip on November 20, 1947, soon after India’s independence. The royal couple had received over 2500 gifts from all over the world, as per a report in the Free Press Journal. The gifts also included a vacuum cleaner, and a potato peeler, sent by unknown people. The New York Institute of Dress Designers had sent 25 dresses for the princess. 20 dresses were given away to other girls who were getting married on the same date.
In 2007, when Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip celebrated the diamond jubilee of their wedding day, the wedding gifts were displayed by the National Archive in London. The gifts from India included an ivory table by the Maharaja of Patiala and a piece of cloth sent by Gandhi. It was described as a hand-spun shawl and reportedly contained the motif ‘Jai Hind’ on it.