Games to be opened jointly by Charles and Patil
In a compromise over the contentious issue of inauguration of Commonwealth Games on Sunday, Prince Charles will declare the Games open while President will say 'let the Games begin'.delhi Updated: Sep 27, 2010 22:51 IST
In a compromise over the contentious issue of inauguration of Commonwealth Games on Sunday, Prince Charles will declare the Games open while President will say 'let the Games begin'.
Highly placed government sources today said that this compromise has been worked out after arguments between Delhi and London over who would do the honours in the absence of Queen Elizabeth who has decided to skip the Games and instead send Charles as her representative.
The Indian side was keen that Patil should inaugurate the Games since she ranked higher in protocol to the Prince. While the Indians were insisting on the President opening the Games, the office of the Prince said he will read the message from the Queen and end it by "declaring the Games open".
"There is no row. Both The Prince of Wales and the President of India will have a prominent role in the opening ceremony in Delhi. The Queen has asked The Prince of Wales to represent her at the opening of the Commonwealth Games.
"We cannot be specific about the choreography but The Prince will read out the Queen's baton message, ending by declaring the Games open," a statement from the Clarence House read.
The two sides are believed to have reached a compromise under which the Prince will end his statement "declaring the Games open", while the President will say "let the Games begin".
Sources cited the example of the Commonwealth Games held in Malaysia in 1998 where the Queen was represented by a Royal family member and the Malaysian King opened the Games.
Likewise, India, the sources said, feels that since the Queen would not be present here and only the Prince would be representing her, the President should have the honour of opening the Games as she is ahead in protocol.
Charles is attending the Games as a representative of Queen Elizabeth II, the ceremonial head of the Commonwealth who will give the event a miss for the first time in 44 years.
Earlier, a British tabloid quoted some of the officials of the Indian Department of Information as saying that the Indian President would open the Games.
The Queen's Baton Relay has acted as the curtain-raiser to every Games since Cardiff in 1958.
It involves the Baton being sent off by the Queen, then carried through each Commonwealth nation until it is passed back to the Monarch as her message to the athletes is ready out at the opening.