Queen Victoria, The Empress of India

No one was pleased more than Queen Victoria at the defeat the mutineers had suffered at the hands of the Gurkhas, personally led by Jungbahadur Rana Magar, Prime Minister of Nepal. Her Majesty had befriended the visiting Prime Minister of Nepal only a decade ago and  had lavishly entertained him in Buckingham Palace and elsewhere in the UK.

One of the immediate consequences of the reestablishment of peace in India was the administration of India which was until then the prerogative of the East India Company passed on to the Crown in London. The Act of Transfer of Power had received royal assent on August 2nd, 1858.

Queen Victoria decided to honour the Gurkhas in public and under her royal command an exquisite piece of gold and silver was created and presented to the Gurkhas; it depicts three Gurkha Officers in ceremonial uniform standing on top of Delhi Gate holding aloft the Imperial Crown. (A bronze replica is kept at the Gurkha Museum for public view.)

During the Raj Era, the Gurkhas carrying this Truncheon were considered the seniormost amongst British Indian Armed Forces and as such led all ceremonial parades held within India.

This trophy, aptly called Queen’s Truncheon has been presented to the reigning monarchs on various occasions; it was presented to HM The Queen Elizabeth II as a part of her Coronation ceremony and a silver band has been added to its staff declaring the event.

In a whimsical sketch that appeared on the satirical London magazine Punch shows Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, later Lord Beaconsfield, presenting the Imperial Crown to Queen Victoria.

Thus Queen Victoria had become Empress of India not by the Grace of God alone, but by the dynamic intervention by the Gurkhas on her behalf.

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