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Illustration of an Indian woman holding a flower
This exhibition is in the past. View our current exhibitions.

From Company to Crown

In 1856 the East India Company annexed Awadh and exiled its king, Wajid Ali Shah, to Calcutta (Kolkata). The following year, a mutiny among the Company’s soldiers triggered a series of rebellions across northern and central India. This was known at the time as the ‘Indian Mutiny’ or ‘the Uprising’.

By the end of the rebellion, the Mughal emperorBahadur Shah Zafar was exiled to Rangoon in Burma (Myanmar) and the East India Company’s territorieswere all transferred to the British Crown. Queen Victoria now ruled two-thirds of the subcontinent while the remainder were ruled by more than 560 so-called ‘Native Princes’ whose states became British protectorates.

Composite photograph of Queen Victoria (1819-1901) and Prabhu Narayan Singh, Maharajah of Benares (1855-1931). The Maharajah presents Queen Victoria with a photograph album. The print is inspired by an earlier composite photograph which depicts the Mahara
‘Kind words from distant friends’

Queen Victoria, Empress of India, received many works in South Asian languages as gifts

Loyal addresses

Over the course of her reign Queen Victoria received hundreds of loyal addresses from the Indian subcontinent

Indian miniature painting: Queen, three-quarter length, sitting in front of the railings of the Buddhist monument at Sanchi; looking scornfully at the Bodhi tree
The South Asian collections of King George V and Queen Mary

King George V and Queen Mary undertook two royal tours of the Indian subcontinent

The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.