Britain's new monarch, King Charles III, shares a strong connect with India and its age-old traditions of Yoga and Ayurveda.
The King, who was proclaimed in London over the weekend following the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II, has not only made several visits to India as the former Prince of Wales but has also focussed many of his charitable efforts on India through his British Asian Trust – founded by him in 2007 to tackle poverty and hardship in South Asia. The royal spoke of his “great love for India” when he launched an emergency Covid appeal last year and helped raise millions during India’s severe pandemic wave.
It was in the wake of Covid that he reflected upon the healing and therapeutic power of Yoga, which he described as an “accessible practice” that helps manage stress.
In a recorded video message for virtual healthcare event Wellness After Covid in May last year, he noted: “This pandemic has emphasised the importance of preparedness, resilience and the need for an approach which addresses the health and welfare of the whole person as part of society, and which does not merely focus on the symptoms alone.
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“As part of that approach, therapeutic, evidenced-informed Yoga can contribute to health and healing. By its very nature, Yoga is an accessible practice which provides practitioners with ways to manage stress, build resilience and promote healing,” he said.
Back in April 2018, he hosted Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Science Museum in London to launch a new Ayurvedic Centre of Excellence, aimed at creating a first-of-its-kind global network for evidence-based research on Yoga and Ayurveda. His wife Camilla, now the Queen Consort, has also spoken of the benefits of Yoga.
In his former role of Prince of Wales, Charles has been a very vocal supporter of causes related to the environment and has been an ardent voice against the ravages of climate change. He has spoken regularly about India’s important role in meeting the global climate action targets.
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“With India’s global reach and robust private sector, I believe there are some key ways we can work together to accelerate our efforts and build a more sustainable future. Firstly, we need to focus on accelerating the flow of private capital to support the transition,” he said in an address at the India Global Forum (IGF) in July last year.
“I know that renewable energy, particularly solar power, is rapidly gaining ground in India and is an excellent example to the rest of the world,” he said.
His multi-faith outlook is also well-known, reflected in his visits to the world-famous Neasden Temple in London over the years. He has spoken of being “struck by the very special beauty and craftsmanship of the building” and the iconic temple’s role as a place of worship, learning, celebration, peace and community service.