First visit of Europe

In 1316/1898, the Aga Khan III set out from Bombay on his first journey to Europe, and visited France and Britain, where he had an audience with Queen Victoria at Windsor Palace. In the state banquet at Windsor Palace, he was sitting next to the Queen on her right side. No ruling prince from India who held great temporal power would have been treated with greater honour and respect like the Aga Khan. He was invested the honourable title of Knight Commander of the Indian Empire (K.C.I.E.). He also met the future king Edward VII. The "Saint Gazette" (London, dated July 22, 1898) published the following report to this effect:-

"Her Majesty Queen Victoria had held a Levy, which was attended by Consuls of all countries, and His Highness the Aga Khan was also invited at the occasion. When the Aga Khan went there, the Queen herself went to receive him at the door and welcomed him with great respects and made him sit on the Throne of their Pope. As soon as the Aga Khan sat on the Throne, the Queen said to all the Consuls, "What is the reason of your surprise, and what you all are thinking of?" The Consuls replied, "Upto now, many Indian Kings have come to Europe, but you have given more honours to Aga Khan, and even made him sit on the Throne of our Pope; what is the reason of this?" The Queen in reply said, "You are all wise, prudent and learned, and you know better than I the reason of this. In short, I must tell you that we have never seen our religious leader Jesus Christ, and without doubt, the Aga Khan is our same leader, and considering this, I have made him sit on our Pope's Throne." On hearing this, all Consuls were greatly surprised, and wired to their respective countries about the above fact. Consequently, the Rulers of France, Germany, Italy, Belgium etc. sent telegrams to Aga Khan from all over, requesting him to give them honour of visiting their countries, which the Aga Khan accepted."

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