Britain’s King Charles III celebrated his 75th birthday by hosting a special reception at Buckingham Palace in London for Indian nurses and midwives along with other international medics who contribute to the country’s state-funded National Health Service (NHS).
Indians lead the estimated 150,000 international nurses and midwives currently working in the NHS, which is also celebrating its 75th anniversary year.
Around 400 nurses and midwives representing countries such as India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Kenya, among others, attended the reception celebrating their contribution to the UK’s health and social care sector on Tuesday evening.
“It was a wonderful, once in a lifetime experience meeting His Majesty the King. He’s an amazing and warm person,” said Shreejith Mulaleedharan, an Indian staff nurse working in Scotland.
“It was a massive privilege to meet King Charles, tell him about the contribution that Sikh nurses have made in this country and, of course, wish him a happy birthday. We have a lot of Sikh nurses within the NHS doing lots of philanthropic work within the community as well,” said Rohit Sagoo, founder and director of British Sikh Nurses.
The reception formed part of a packed day of royal events as the British monarch chose to work through his birthday and spent time interacting with many of the guests in good humour. He was surprised with a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ by the NHS choir and handed a birthday card from a schoolgirl also celebrating her birthday on November 14.
“What a wonderful event where His Majesty has shown his appreciation and therefore our appreciation for the incredible people that come from all over the world, including India, to work in our NHS. They do so much for us,” said Victoria Atkins, the newly appointed Health Secretary in British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Cabinet reshuffle.
“The links between the UK and India are so very close and I look forward to visiting India, with the permission of the Prime Minister,” she said.
Earlier, the King was joined by Queen Camilla on a visit to a food distribution hub in Oxfordshire to kick-start his Coronation Food Project, which aims to support charities feeding the country with unwanted food.
“Food need is as real and urgent a problem as food waste – and if a way could be found to bridge the gap between them, then it would address two problems in one. It is my great hope that this Coronation Food Project will find practical ways to do just that – rescuing more surplus food, and distributing it to those who need it most,” he wrote in the ‘Big Issue’ magazine.
Across London, gun salutes were fired and Piccadilly Square was also lit up with a birthday message for the British monarch as he turned 75 on Tuesday.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)