Seventy years ago, on the eve of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953, news of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay belonging to the British team led by Lord John Hunt having successfully conquered Mount Everest was made public to the world.
On Wednesday, at Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth’s son King Charles III met the sons and daughter of the three pioneering mountaineers to revive the momentous event to mark the 70th anniversary of the climb.
The King met Sue Leyden (daughter of Lord Hunt), Peter Hillary (son of Sir Edmund) and Jamling Tenzing Norgay (son of Tenzing Norgay).
“King Charles met us at noon on Wednesday for a 25-minute interaction. He interacted with us individually and then met us as a group,” Jamling told The Telegraph over the phone from London.
The king revived the memories of the 1953 climb and also talked to Jamling about climate change and the receding glaciers.
King Charles had also sent a message to an event held at the Royal Geographical Society in London on Tuesday to commemorate the man’s first ascent of the highest peak on the earth 70 years ago.
The message that was read out by Leydon touched upon the historic climb, the mountaineers and the coincidence of the 70th anniversary and Charles’s coronation this year.
“Seventy years ago, on the eve of her coronation, my late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, received the wonderful news that a British team, led by Colonel, later Lord, JohnHunt, had successfully climbed Mount Everest,” the message read.
“The pair who reached the summit, supported by a dedicated team of mountaineers and sherpas, were a New Zealander and a Nepali Sherpa, thus bringing together two nations that have long shared a mutual love and respect for the mountains and for exploration”
Talking about the coincidence, Charles said: “It has not escaped my notice that there is a wonderful symmetry in the coinciding of the 70th anniversary of that achievement with my own coronation.”
The historic climb on May 29, 1953, had also brought the focus to the hardy Sherpa community.
On Wednesday, Jamling raised the issues faced by the community.
“I also spoke of the problems of the Sherpa climbers, especially of those families whose members have died in expeditions — of wives who have lost their husbands and parents who have lost their sons — and the general poor wages of Sherpas,” said Jamling who added that King Charles had taken note of the issues.
Jamling, who had met Queen Elizabeth II earlier, said “it was an honour to get an audience with King Charles. “This was, however, my first visit to Buckingham Palace. I had met the Queen at the Royal Geographical Society,” said Jamling.
Apart from the Tenzing family, King Charles’s link with Darjeeling also lies in its famous tea. King Charles’s love for Darjeeling Tea is no secret and he is a connoisseur of Makaibari tea. He had written a letter appreciating the Makaibari tea on May 26, 2017, when he was the Prince of Wales.