Queen Visits Indian Film Set
MADRAS, India (AP) _ After diplomatic disputes marred the first half of her state visit, Queen Elizabeth II began her tour of south India by visiting a film set and a Hindu temple Thursday.
The queen flew to Madras on Wednesday evening after a diplomatic flap was sparked by one state official’s refusal to allow the queen to make a banquet speech, saying it violated protocol.
The speech was scheduled for Thursday evening, when the queen was to be the guest at a banquet hosted by the governor of Tamil Nadu state, of which Madras is the capital. Indian officials said she had already spoken in New Delhi, and that speeches during state visits should be made only in the national capital.
Away from New Delhi, the queen and her husband Prince Philip will for the most part play tourist.
On Thursday, she watched the making of a Tamil-language movie about India’s struggle to win independence from British colonialism that ended 50 years ago. The queen exchanged pleasantries with the actors before being driven to a dance school where she watched a classical Indian performance.
Prince Philip traveled separately to a village school in southern Andhra Pradesh state that receives financial aid from the British government. After visiting students in their class rooms, the prince said he wanted to see their most popular sport. Teachers then put together two teams for a 10-minute game of ``kabaddi,″ a sort of team tag.
The queen is scheduled to see Kerala, another southern state, where she will visit an ancient church and a synagogue Friday. She leaves for London on Saturday.
This is the queen’s third _ and most controversial _ visit to India, part of a two-week regional tour to mark the 50th anniversary of the subcontinent’s independence from Britain. She began the tour in neighboring Pakistan.
Months before the queen arrived, Indian Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral suggested that she drop plans to visit Amritsar, the site of a massacre by the British military during its 200 years of colonial rule. Nonetheless, the queen made the trip after a speech in New Delhi in which she expressed regret for incidents such as the Amritsar killings.