Mathai, who took up the new role of High Commissioner only in December 2013, attended a formal ceremony at Buckingham Palace to present his Letters of High Commission to Her Majesty. A customary ceremony at the palace requires newly-appointed foreign Ambassadors or High Commissioners to present their credentials.
61-year-old Mathai was accompanied by his wife Gita Mathai, the Deputy High Commissioner - Virendra Paul and other senior officers on his visit to the Palace.
As per custom, Mathai was escorted from his residence by a State landau (carriage) from the Royal Mews dating before 1872. After the 20-minute ceremony, the High Commissioner and his wife returned to their residence in the same carriage.
Mathai is the 24th High Commissioner of India to the UK since 1947. He was earlier Foreign Secretary of India (August 2011 – July 2013)
In the UK, representatives from countries in the Commonwealth are known as high commissioners rather than ambassadors. In 1886 there were only six Ambassadors in London, with 37 other countries represented by Ministers. but today, there are 172 Foreign Missions.
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