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Signature of King Edward VIII
The 'R' and 'I' after his name indicate 'king' and 'emperor' in Latin
('Rex' and 'Imperator', respectively).
The title Empress of India was given to Queen Victoria in 1877 when India was formally incorporated into the British Empire. It is said Victoria's desire for such a title was motivated partially out of jealousy of the Imperial titles of some of her royal cousins in Germany and Russia. Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli is usually credited with creating the title for her.
When Victoria died and her son Edward VII ascended the throne, his title became Emperor of India. The title continued until India and Pakistan became independent from the United Kingdom at midnight on 14/15 August 1947. The title was given up in 1948 by George VI, then King of the United Kingdom, with retrospective effect to August 15, 1947.
When signing their name for Indian business, a King-Emperor or Queen-Empress used the initials R I (Rex/Regina Imperator/Imperatrix) or the abbreviation Ind. Imp. (Indiae Imperator/Imperatrix) after their name. This was also used on many British coins, including some 1948 coins of George VI.
When a male monarch held the title, his Queen consort assumed the title Queen Empress, but unlike Queen Victoria, they themselves were not reigning monarchs but the consorts of reigning monarchs.
Emperors and Empresses of India
Female Royal Consorts also were called Queen-Empress. This list of Queen-Empress Consorts are
- Queen Empress Alexandra (wife of Edward VII)
- Queen Empress Mary (wife of George V)
- Queen Empress Elizabeth (wife of George VI)
King of India and Pakistan
George VI continued to reign as King of India for two years during the short Governor-Generalships of The Earl Mountbatten of Burma and of Rajagopalachari until India became a republic on 26 January 1950. George VI remained as King of the United Kingdom and King of Pakistan until his death in 1952. Pakistan became a republic on 23 March 1956, so Elizabeth II was Queen of Pakistan for four years.
Last updated: 10-29-2005 02:13:46