London, March 17 (IANS/RAY) British head of state Queen Elizabeth II is said to have fast-tracked the new Indian High Commissioner Navtej Sarna’s presentation of credentials — which took place on Wednesday — to avoid a breach of protocol.
All ambassadors and high commissioners accredited to Britain are required to formally present their credentials to Queen Elizabeth.
As per protocol, such envoys can only meet her or attend an event where she is present after such a formality has occurred.
Though Sarna arrived for his posting in January, diplomatic sources indicated that his presentation of credentials had been tentatively scheduled for early April.
However, on Wednesday evening, the queen was to attend the annual high commissioners’ banquet hosted by the lord mayor of London and the Royal Commonwealth Society.
Sarna was invited for the event and was likely to meet her there.
Not having presented his credentials, though, he may have had to diplomatically decline the invitation. The British government did not want this to happen.
Therefore, Sarna’s presentation of credentials was brought forward to Wednesday morning, thereby removing any impediments in the path of an encounter in the evening and a violation of protocol.
“We can confirm the queen attended the lord mayor’s banquet for high commissioners on Wednesday evening,” said a spokesperson at Buckingham Palace.
Asked whether the monarch had fast-tracked the credentials ceremony for Sarna, the spokesperson ducked the question, saying: “We do not comment on the queen’s diary matters.”
Sarna and his wife Avina did indeed meet and speak to Queen Elizabeth on Wednesday evening. She even cracked a joke about having met the couple only that morning.
The Indian envoy thus enjoyed a tete-a-tete with the queen twice in one day, much to the envy of his fellow high commissioners.