Video: The Delhi Durbar of 1911

Watch footage of the Delhi Durbar of 1911, in colour.

Kathryn Hadley | Published in 21 Nov 2011

The Coronation Durbar of King George V and Queen Mary was held in the purpose-built Coronation Park in Delhi in December 1911. The purpose of the durbar was to honour George V as the ‘king-emperor’ of India; but it was also at the durbar that he announced the transfer of the Capital of British India from Calcutta to Delhi.

The event seemed to epitomise the summit of British rule in India; however, beneath the splendour of the occasion there were signs that all was not well. The announcement that the capital was to move took twenty years to implement due to the delays caused by the First World War and, in the end, the British only enjoyed their capital for 16 years before India became independent in 1947. In Delhi: Short-lived Capital of the Raj Rosie-Llewellyn-Jones explains why the move to the new capital was such a troubled one.