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70th Anniversary of the Enthronement of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

February 24, 2010

The Office of Tibet, London (UK)
February 23, 2010

Mr Thubten Samdup, Representative of His Holiness
the Dalai Lama through the kind arrangement of
Norman Baker MP, Vice-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet

Invites you to a special event at 4pm on Tuesday
23rd February 2010 to celebrate the 70th
Anniversary of the Enthronement of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

Family members & relatives of the British
delegation present at the Enthronement Ceremony
in Lhasa, capital of Tibet, 23rd February 1940
will join us for this special event.


* Opening Address by Norman Baker MP

* Address by Mr Thubten Samdup

* Presentation on the Enthronement & the British delegation at the ceremonies

* Short film of the Enthronement & the British delegation in Lhasa

* A brief address by Mr Dick Gould (the son of
Sir Basil Gould who headed the British delegation at the ceremonies)

Venue: Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House, Westminster

Time of Function: 4.00pm to 5.30pm
Address: Bridge Street, London, SW1A 2LW

The Office of Tibet, London, is the official
agency of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for
Northern Europe, Poland & the Baltic States.

Enthronement of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

The British Mission at the Ceremonies - 23rd February 1940
The members of the British Government's
delegation to Lhasa, Tibet, on the 23rd February
1940, were the only Westerners ever to have
witnessed the Enthronement of a Dalai Lama.

[The information below is extracted from Sir
Basil Gould's official report to the British Government].

The 13th Dalai Lama (1876-1933) died prematurely
and unexpectedly and a Regent was appointed by
the Tibetan National Assembly for the
interregnum. It was not known how much time would
pass before the spirit which had left the human
form of the late Dalai Lama would choose and
enter its new human abode. A search was made - as
if for a hidden treasure - for a child whose
whereabouts would be indicated by divinations and
whose identity would be revealed by the
possession of certain bodily characteristics and
of marvellous mental and spiritual powers. Hence
all Tibetan local authorities were alerted to be
on the lookout for the birth of any remarkable
boy. Many signs indicated that the new Dalai Lama
should be sought in the East and "Three Wise Men
set out" from Lhasa to seek for him there.

Early in September 1939, it became known that a
young boy in whom there was no possible doubt,
had been found at Sining near Kumbum who was then
sent to Lhasa, capital of Tibet. On October 6th
he reached Rigya, two miles east of the city
where he was met with divine honours by the
Regent and all important lay and ecclesiastical
officials as well as representatives of the
British and Chinese Missions plus those of Nepal
and Ladakh. For the British, Mr Hugh Richardson,
then head of the British Mission, was accompanied
by Mr Reginald Fox, the Mission's resident radio
operator. Two days later the child entered Lhasa
where he was universally acclaimed as the Dalai Lama.

The duty of conveying the felicitations of His
Majesty's Government and of His Excellency the
Viceroy of British India to the Dalai Lama and to
the Government and people of Tibet was entrusted
to Mr Basil John Gould (later knighted for the
success of the mission) who had established the
British Mission at Lhasa in 1936. He was
accompanied by Captain Harry William Gilbert
Staunton of the India Medical Service and Depon
(Colonel) Rai Sahib Sonam Tobden. In Lhasa they
were joined for a short time by Major John Gordon
Innes Keys and Captain David Thornburgh who were
stationed with the British military escort at
Gyantse on the Indian-Tibetan trade route. The
final members of the group were the newly
appointed head of Mission Rai Bahadur Norbhu
Dhondup (Richardson having been posted to China)
and the artist Kanwal Krishna who was already in the city.

On February 7th 1940 the Old Tibetan Year was
driven out and on the 9th the British Mission,
alone of all foreigners, were privileged to
witness the religious celebrations of the New
Year in the Potala Palace (the Dalai Lama's
winter residence). On the 13th, they were
received by the new Dalai Lama at the Norbhu
Lingka, his summer residence, where they
presented a gold clock with a singing
nightingale, a pedal car and a tricycle - [the
latter gifts are still remembered today by His
Holiness as "the best presents given then to such a small boy!"]

Eight days later, a mile-long riot of colour
assembled to escort the Dalai Lama for his
official entry into the Potala. On February 22nd,
the first day of ceremonies took place - with a
pattern repeated over the next eight days. The
British delegation was invited to present the
felicitations and gifts on behalf of the British
Government on the second day, when, following the
Chief Abbott of Tashi Lhunpo monastery, they, led
by Gould, presented themselves with the Dalai
Lama conferring personal blessings by the laying
on of both hands. The main impression left with
the British party was the extraordinary interest
of the child in the proceedings - his attention
never wavered - his presence and his infallible
skill in doing the right thing to the right people and at the right time.
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