Last night, Her Majesty The Queen welcomed the Aga Khan, Princess Salwa Aga Khan and Princess Zahra Aga Khan to Windsor Castle.
The Queen, Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and Princess Anne welcomed them to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of the Aga Khan as Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslim Community.
The Imam of the Nizari Ismailis uses the title of Aga Khan. Prince Shah Karim Al Husseini Aga Khan IV currently is the 49th Iman.
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As Imam of the Nizari Ismailis, he is head of a significantly smaller group of Muslims, around 20 million. Shiism’s main branch is estimated at around 100’s of millions and Sunni’s are approximately 1.5 billion. The Aga Khan is not a ruler of a country or territory but a religious group.
The Aga Khan is listed by Forbes as one of the ten wealthiest royals in the world. He is the chairman and founder of the Aga Khan Development Network which one of the largest private development networks to exist. According to the group, they work on improving health, education, environment, culture, rural development, disaster reduction and restoring historic cities.
The Diamond Jubilee Year of the Aga Khan’s 60th year of Imamat is from 11 July 2017 to 11 July 2018. Throughout this year, the Aga Khan will travel to multiple countries to launch new programmes that will help reduce poverty and increase access to education, housing and childhood development.
Her Majesty, who looked like she was eager for Spring, was dressed in a bright pink gown. She welcomed guests in the White Drawing Room for a drinks reception before a private dinner with her guests of honour.
The history of Queen Elizabeth and the Aga Khan go way back. In 1957, The Queen gave him the title of ‘High Highness’ when he succeeded his grandfather at 20-years-old. The Aga Khan also visited the United Kingdom to help Her Majesty celebrate her own Diamond Jubilee in 2012.