Emperor of India

Emperor/Empress of India (Kaisar-i-Hind, Urdu: قیصر ا ہند ‎, Hindi: कैसर-ए-हिंद)[1] was a title used by British monarchs from 1 May 1876 (see Royal Titles Act 1876) to 22 June 1948. [2][3][4]

Emperor/Empress of India
The badge of the Order of the Star of India was used as the emblem of British India.
King George VI of England, formal photo portrait, circa 1940-1946
Last in Office
George VI

11 December 1936 – 22 June 1948
StyleHer Imperial Majesty
1 May 1876 – 22 January 1901
His Imperial Majesty
22 January 1901 – 22 June 1948
First monarchVictoria
Last monarchGeorge VI
Formation1 May 1876
Abolition22 June 1948
ResidenceUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
Buckingham Palace
British Raj India
Viceroy's House


Victoria Disraeli cartoon
New Crowns for Old, the cartoon's caption references a scene in Aladdin where lamps are exchanged. The Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, is offering Queen Victoria an imperial crown in exchange for an earl's coronet. She made him the Earl of Beaconsfield at this time.[5]

After the nominal Mughal Emperor 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.[6]

The idea of having 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.[7] Another factor may have been that the Queen's first child, Victoria, was married to Crown Prince Frederick, the heir to the German Empire. Upon becoming empress, the Princess Royal would outrank her mother.[8] By January 1876, the Queen's insistence was so great that Benjamin Disraeli felt that he could procrastinate no longer.[7] Initially, Victoria had actually 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.[9]

Many in the United Kingdom, however, regarded the assumption of the title as an obvious development from the 1858 Government of India Act, which resulted in the founding of the British Raj. 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.[10]

Épreuve de 5 cents en laiton du Canada représentant George VI
Coins of the British Empire and its dominions routinely included the title Ind. Imp., such as this Canadian five-cent piece.

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 it continued to be used after India 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.[3]

When signing off Indian business, the reigning British king-emperors or queen-empresses used the initials R I (Rex/Regina Imperator/Imperatrix) or the abbreviation Ind. Imp. (Indiae Imperator/Imperatrix) after their name (while the one reigning queen-empress, Victoria, used the initials R I, the wives of king-emperors simply used R). When a male monarch held the title, his wife used the style queen-empress, despite the fact that she was not a reigning monarch in her own right.

British coins, as well as those of the Empire and the Commonwealth, routinely included the abbreviated title Ind. Imp.. Coins in India, on the other hand, were stamped with the word "Empress", and later "King-Emperor". When India became independent in 1947, all coining dies had to be changed, which took up to a year and created some problems. Canadian coins, for example, were minted well into 1948 but stamped "1947", the new year's issue indicated by a small maple leaf in one corner. The title appeared on coinage in the United Kingdom throughout 1948.

List of Emperors/Empresses of India

Portrait Name Lifespan Reign Delhi Durbar House
Queen Victoria - Von Angeli 1885 Victoria 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901 (81 years, 7 months, 4 weeks, and 1 day) 1 May 1876 – 22 January 1901 (24 years, 8 months, and 3 weeks) 1 January 1877 House of Hanover
Edward VII in coronation robes Edward VII 9 November 1841 – 6 May 1910 (68 years, 5 months, 3 weeks, and 6 days) 22 January 1901 – 6 May 1910 (9 years, 3 months, and 2 weeks) 1 January 1903 House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
George V of the united Kingdom George V 3 June 1865 – 20 January 1936 (70 years, 7 months, 2 weeks, and 3 days) 6 May 1910 – 20 January 1936 (25 years, 8 months, and 2 weeks) 12 December 1911 House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha: 6 May 1910 – 17 July 1917 (7 years, 2 months, 1 week, and 4 days)

House of Windsor: 17 July 1917 – 20 January 1936 (18 years, 6 months, and 3 days)

Edward VIII Portrait - 1936 Edward VIII 23 June 1894 – 28 May 1972 (77 years, 11 months, and 5 days) 20 January 1936 – 11 December 1936 (10 months and 3 weeks) None House of Windsor
King George VI George VI 14 December 1895 – 6 February 1952 (56 years, 1 month, 3 weeks, and 2 days) 11 December 1936 – 22 June 1948 (11 years, 6 months, 1 week, and 4 days) None House of Windsor


  1. ^ Kaisar-i-Hind Medal, Kaisar literally meaning “Emperor/Empress” in Hindustani
  2. ^ "No. 38330". The London Gazette. 22 June 1948. p. 3647. Royal Proclamation of 22 June 1948, made in accordance with the Indian Independence Act 1947, 10 & 11 GEO. 6. CH. 30.('Section 7: ...(2)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.'). According to this Royal Proclamation, the King retained the Style and Titles 'George VI by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas King, Defender of the Faith'
  3. ^ a b Indian Independence Act 1947 (10 & 11 Geo. 6. c. 30)
  4. ^ Titles such as "King of Canada" had been rejected in 1901. David Kenneth Fieldhouse (1985). Select Documents on the Constitutional History of the British Empire and Commonwealth: Settler self-government, 1840-1900. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-313-27326-1.
  5. ^ Harold E. Raugh (2004). The Victorians at War, 1815-1914: An Encyclopedia of British Military History. ABC-CLIO. p. 122. ISBN 9781576079256.
  6. ^ L. A. Knight, "The Royal Titles Act and India", The Historical Journal, Cambridge University Press, Vol. 11, No. 3 (1968), pp. 488-489.
  7. ^ a b L. A. Knight, p. 489.
  8. ^ Remembering Vicky, the Queen Britain never had
  9. ^ L. A. Knight, p. 488.
  10. ^ L. A. Knight, pp. 491, 496
1903 in India

Events in the year 1903 in India.

1911 in India

Events in the year 1911 in India.

1918 in India

Events in the year 1918 in India.

Akbar II

Akbar II (22 April 1760 – 28 September 1837), also known as Akbar Shah II, was the penultimate Mughal emperor of India. He reigned from 1806 to 1837. He was the second son of Shah Alam II and the father of Bahadur Shah II.

Akbar had little de facto power due to the increasing British influence of India through the East India Company. He sent Ram Mohan Roy as an ambassador to Britain and gave him the title of Raja. During his regime, in 1835, the East India Company (EIC) discontinued calling itself subject of the Mughal Emperor and issuing coins in his name. The Persian lines in the Company's coins to this effect were deleted.

Akbar II is credited with starting the Hindu-Muslim unity festival Phool Walon Ki Sair. His grave lies next to the dargah of 13th century Sufi saint Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki at Mehrauli.


Aureng-zebe is a Restoration drama by John Dryden, written in 1675. It is based loosely on the figures of Aurangzeb (Aureng-zebe), the then-reigning Mughal Emperor of India; his brother, Murad Baksh (Morat); and their father, Shah Jahan (Emperor). The piece is the last drama that Dryden wrote in rhymed verse. It is considered his best heroic work.The premiere production by the King's Company featured Charles Hart in the title role, Michael Mohun as the Old Emperor, Edward Kynaston as Morat, William Wintershall as Arimant, Rebecca Marshall as the Empress Nourmahal, Elizabeth Cox as Indamora, and Mary Corbet as Melesinda.

Australian five-shilling note

Five shilling notes were first proposed in 1916, when the value of silver was estimated to become too expensive to use for making coins due to a possible decrease in Australia's supply of silver. The proposed note was designed to have a portrait of George VI, the King of the United Kingdom and Emperor of India, displayed on its front side. However, the need for paper notes did not arise, and by 1953, all the notes were destroyed, other than those now in the possession of Reserve Bank of Australia.

Delhi Durbar Medal (1903)

Delhi Durbar Medals were instituted to by Great Britain to commemorate each Delhi Durbar where the new Emperor of India was proclaimed, in 1903 for Edward VII, and in 1911 for George V. On both occasions the medals, one and a half inches in diameter, were awarded in both gold and silver and worn on the left chest suspended from a ribbon one and a quarter inches wide.

Farthing (British coin)

The British farthing (​1⁄4d) coin, from "fourthing", was a unit of currency of one quarter of a penny, or ​1⁄960 of a pound sterling. It was minted in bronze, and replaced the earlier copper farthings. It was used during the reign of six monarchs: Victoria, Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII, George VI and Elizabeth II, ceasing to be legal tender in 1960. It featured two different designs on its reverse during its 100 years in circulation: from 1860 until 1936, the image of Britannia; and from 1937 onwards, the image of a wren. Like all British coinage, it bore the portrait of the monarch on the obverse.Before Decimal Day in 1971, there were 240 pence in one pound sterling. There were four farthings in a penny, 12 pence made a shilling, and 20 shillings made a pound. Values less than a pound were usually written in terms of shillings and pence, e.g., three shillings and six pence (3/6), pronounced "three and six" or "three and sixpence". Values of less than a shilling were simply written in pence, e.g., 8d, pronounced "eightpence". A price with a farthing in it would be written like this: (19/​11 1⁄4), pronounced "nineteen and elevenpence farthing".

The purchasing power of a farthing from 1860 to its demise in 1960 ranged between 2p to 12p (in 2017 GB Pound values).

George V

George V (George Frederick Ernest Albert; 3 June 1865 – 20 January 1936) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 until his death in 1936.

Born during the reign of his grandmother Queen Victoria, George was third in the line of succession behind his father, Prince Albert Edward, and his own elder brother, Prince Albert Victor. From 1877 to 1891, George served in the Royal Navy, until the unexpected death of his elder brother in early 1892 put him directly in line for the throne. On the death of his grandmother in 1901, George's father ascended the throne as Edward VII, and George was created Prince of Wales. He became king-emperor on his father's death in 1910.

George V's reign saw the rise of socialism, communism, fascism, Irish republicanism, and the Indian independence movement, all of which radically changed the political landscape. The Parliament Act 1911 established the supremacy of the elected British House of Commons over the unelected House of Lords. As a result of the First World War (1914–1918), the empires of his first cousins Nicholas II of Russia and Wilhelm II of Germany fell, while the British Empire expanded to its greatest effective extent. In 1917, George became the first monarch of the House of Windsor, which he renamed from the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha as a result of anti-German public sentiment. In 1924 he appointed the first Labour ministry and in 1931 the Statute of Westminster recognised the dominions of the Empire as separate, independent states within the Commonwealth of Nations. He had smoking-related health problems throughout much of his later reign and at his death was succeeded by his eldest son, Edward VIII.

George VI

George VI (Albert Frederick Arthur George; 14 December 1895 – 6 February 1952) was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from 11 December 1936 until his death in 1952. He was the last Emperor of India and the first Head of the Commonwealth.

Known publicly as Albert until his accession, and "Bertie" among his family and close friends, George VI was born in the reign of his great-grandmother Queen Victoria, and was named after his great-grandfather Albert, Prince Consort. As the second son of King George V, he was not expected to inherit the throne and spent his early life in the shadow of his elder brother, Edward. He attended naval college as a teenager, and served in the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force during the First World War. In 1920, he was made Duke of York. He married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in 1923 and they had two daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret. In the mid-1920s, he had speech therapy for a stammer, which he never fully overcame.

George's elder brother ascended the throne as Edward VIII upon the death of their father in 1936. However, later that year Edward revealed his desire to marry divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson. British prime minister Stanley Baldwin advised Edward that for political and religious reasons he could not marry a divorced woman and remain king. Edward abdicated to marry Simpson, and George ascended the throne as the third monarch of the House of Windsor.

During George's reign, the break-up of the British Empire and its transition into the Commonwealth of Nations accelerated. The parliament of the Irish Free State removed direct mention of the monarch from the country's constitution on the day of his accession. The following year, a new Irish constitution changed the name of the state to Ireland and established the office of President. From 1939, the Empire and Commonwealth – except Ireland – was at war with Nazi Germany. War with Italy and Japan followed in 1940 and 1941, respectively. Though Britain and its allies were ultimately victorious in 1945, the United States and the Soviet Union rose as pre-eminent world powers and the British Empire declined. After the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947, George remained king of both countries, but relinquished the title of Emperor of India in June 1948. Ireland formally declared itself a republic and left the Commonwealth in 1949, and India became a republic within the Commonwealth the following year. George adopted the new title of Head of the Commonwealth. He was beset by smoking-related health problems in the later years of his reign. He was succeeded by his elder daughter, Elizabeth II.

HMS Emperor of India

HMS Emperor of India was an Iron Duke-class battleship of the British Royal Navy. She was originally to have been named Delhi but was renamed before she was completed, to honour King George V, who was also Emperor of India. The ship was laid down on 31 May 1912 at the Vickers shipyard, and was launched on 27 November 1913. The finished ship was commissioned a year later in November 1914, shortly after the start of the First World War. She was armed with a main battery of ten 13.5-inch (340 mm) guns and was capable of a top speed of 21.25 knots (39.36 km/h; 24.45 mph).

Upon commissioning, Emperor of India joined the 4th Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet, based at Scapa Flow. She took part in numerous sorties into the northern North Sea to enforce the blockade of Germany, along with frequent training exercises and gunnery drills. Emperor of India was in dock for a refit in late May 1916, so she was unavailable for the Battle of Jutland. The increased danger from submarines led both the Grand Fleet and the German High Seas Fleet to pursue more cautious strategies after Jutland, which led to a less eventful war.

After the war, Emperor of India was sent to the Mediterranean Fleet, where she became involved in the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War in the Black Sea in 1919–1921. She remained in the Mediterranean until 1926, when she was transferred to the Atlantic Fleet. The London Naval Treaty of 1930 mandated that Emperor of India and her three sister ships be dismantled. In 1931, she and HMS Marlborough underwent a series of weapons tests that proved to be highly beneficial for future British battleship designs. Emperor of India was ultimately sold for scrap in February 1932, and was broken up shortly thereafter.

Imperial Crown of India

The Imperial Crown of India is the crown used by King George V in his capacity as Emperor of India at the Delhi Durbar of 1911.

Iron Duke-class battleship

The Iron Duke class was a group of four dreadnought battleships built for the British Royal Navy before the First World War. The class comprised four ships: Iron Duke, Marlborough, Benbow, and Emperor of India. Launched from October 1912 to November 1913, this was the third class of Royal Navy super-dreadnoughts.

The ships were essentially repeats of the King George V-class battleships; they retained the same ten 13.5 inch (34.3 cm) guns in five twin gun turrets on the centreline. However, the Iron Dukes had improved armour and a more powerful secondary armament of 6-inch weapons instead of the 4-inch mounted on the earlier ships.

The four ships were the most advanced battleships in the Royal Navy at the outbreak of the First World War, though they were soon surpassed by the five ships of the Queen Elizabeth class. They all saw extensive service during the war with the Grand Fleet, where Iron Duke acted as the flagship for the fleet commander, Admiral John Jellicoe. Three of the ships, Iron Duke, Benbow, and Marlborough, were present at the Battle of Jutland; Emperor of India missed the battle by being in dock for periodic refit. The four Iron Duke-class battleships saw limited active duty following the end of the war; they were all demilitarised under the terms of the London Naval Treaty signed in 1930. Iron Duke was reduced to a training and depot ship and lasted in that role until 1946 when she was scrapped. Benbow was scrapped in 1931 and Marlborough followed in 1932. Emperor of India was sunk as a gunnery target in 1931 though was later re-floated to be scrapped in 1932.

Kaisar-i-Hind Medal

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 (or herself) by important and useful service in the advancement of the public interest in India."The name Kaisar-i-Hind (Urdu: قیصر ا ہند ‬‎, Hindi: कैसर-ए-हिंद) literally 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 the Greek Καίσαρ), and is cognate with the German title Kaiser, which was borrowed from the Latin at an earlier date.Kaisar-i-Hind was also inscribed on the obverse side of the India General Service Medal (1909), as well as on the Indian Meritorious Service Medal.


Kaiser is the German word for "emperor". Like the Bulgarian, Serbian and Russian Tsar it is directly derived from the Roman emperors' title of Caesar, which in turn is derived from the personal name of a branch of the gens (clan) Julia, to which Gaius Julius Caesar, the forebear of the first imperial family, belonged. Although the British monarchs styled "Emperor of India" were also called "Kaisar-i-Hind" in Hindi and Urdu, this word, although ultimately sharing the same Latin origin, is derived from the Greek: Καῖσαρ (kaisar), not the German Kaiser.In English, the term 'the Kaiser' is usually reserved for the emperors of the German Empire and the emperors of the Austrian Empire. During the First World War, anti-German sentiment was at its zenith; the term the Kaiser—especially as applied to Wilhelm II of Germany—thus gained considerable negative connotations in English-speaking countries.

Monarchy of South Africa

From 1910 to 1961 the Union of South Africa was a self-governing country that shared a monarch with the United Kingdom, and other Dominions of the British Empire. The monarch's constitutional roles were mostly delegated to the Governor-General of the Union of South Africa.

South Africa became a republic and left the Commonwealth on 31 May 1961. On 31 May 1994, South Africa rejoined the Commonwealth as a republic, after the end of apartheid.


A reign is the period of a person's or dynasty's occupation of the office of monarch of a nation (e.g., Saudi Arabia, Belgium, Andorra), of a people (e.g., the Franks, the Zulus) or of a spiritual community (e.g., Roman Catholicism, Tibetan Buddhism, Nizari Ismailism). In most hereditary monarchies and some elective monarchies (e.g., Holy Roman Empire) there have been no limits on the duration of a sovereign's reign or incumbency, nor is there a term of office. Thus, a reign usually lasts until the monarch dies, unless the monarchy itself is abolished or the monarch abdicates or is deposed.

In elective monarchies, there may be a fixed period of time for the duration of the monarch's tenure in office (e.g., Malaysia).

The term of a reign can be indicated with the abbreviation "r." (for Latin rexit) after a sovereign's name, such as the following:

George VI, King of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions, Emperor of India (r. 1936–1952)

Statue of George V, Westminster

The statue of George V in Old Palace Yard, Westminster, London, is a sculpture of George V, King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India. The statue was sculpted prior to the Second World War and was hidden in a quarry during the war years. Other locations were suggested for the statue, including Parliament Square, but it was unveiled opposite the House of Lords in 1947.

Thrissur Town Hall

The Thrissur Town Hall is an imposing building situated in Thrissur city, Kerala state, India. It was constructed during the Dewanship of RK Shanmughom Chetti and contains the Archaeological Museum and Picture Gallery, where mural paintings from all parts of the Kerala are copied and exhibited. The must see in this museum is the collection of the old manuscripts, written on palm leaves and called olagrandhangal. The Town Hall was built in honour of the then Emperor of India, King George, for his silver jubilee. The architecture is in the Victorian style with a lawn and garden in front.

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