Nescot College Principal Sunaina Mann was invited to a lavish evening reception for talented and high achieving British Asians at Buckingham Palace last Tuesday (October 13th). Hosted by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to mark a state visit later this month by the Indian President, Pratibha Patil, the event sought to celebrate the unique contribution to British life made by those of Asian descent.
View a clip of Sunaina Mann meeting the Queen (0:38 seconds / 1:10)
Sunaina Mann, who lives in Bookham, was asked to attend in recognition of her achievements, both as Britain’s first Asian woman college principal, and for the dramatic improvement in the 50-year-old community college under her leadership. ‘It was a wonderful event and as well as meeting the Queen, Prince Philip, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Michael of Kent, I had the chance to speak to all the sports and television celebrities about our work at the college.
The reception in the Ornate Ballroom, the largest of Buckingham Palace’s 775 rooms, was one of the more lively events to take place at the Palace as guests were entertained by a Bollywood dance. The display took place under a 30-ft red velvet canopy, used at the 1911 coronation durbar of King George V and Queen Mary in Delhi, the 300 guests watching the show included actors Meera Syal and Sanjeev Bhaskar, cricketers Samit Patel and Monty Panesar, footballer Michael Chopra, Coronation Street star Jimmi Harkishin, newsreaders Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Riz Latif, Tom Singh, founder of the New Look fashion chain.
The Monarch appeared in a relaxed mood, joking with guests and enjoying the colourful spectacle in the Ballroom, where Mendelssohn once performed organ recitals for Queen Victoria and which is now more commonly used for investitures and state banquets. ‘The Queen was a very warm and welcoming host,’ said Sunaina.