On Thursday March 8, Her Majesty the Queen hosted a dinner at Windsor Castle to mark the Diamond Jubilee of His Highness the Aga Khan at which The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke of York, The Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence were present, according to AKDN press center.

The Aga Khan was accompanied by members of his family, his brother Prince Amyn Aga Khan, his daughter Princess Zahra Aga Khan, his eldest son Prince Rahim Aga Khan, Prince Rahim’s wife Princess Salwa, and the Aga Khan’s younger sons, Prince Hussain Aga Khan and Prince Aly Muhammad Aga Khan.

The event acknowledged historic linkages between the Ismaili Imamat and the British Monarchy and longstanding connections between the Ismaili Community, the institutions of the Aga Khan Development Network and the United Kingdom.

The Aga Khan, was bestowed the title “His Highness” by Her Majesty the Queen in 1957 the year of his accession as hereditary leader of the Shi’a Ismaili Muslims, and was appointed Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2004.

His Highness the Aga Khan, the founder and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), is the 49th hereditary Imam (Spiritual Leader) of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims.  For His Highness the Aga Khan, one manifestation of his hereditary responsibilities has been a deep engagement with development for almost 60 years.

 The Aga Khan succeeded his grandfather, Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan, as Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims in 1957 at the age of 20.  Since taking on his role in 1957, he has dedicated his efforts to improving the quality of life of the most vulnerable populations, while emphasizing the view of Islam as a thinking, spiritual faith: one that teaches compassion and tolerance and that upholds human dignity.

In recognition of his exceptional efforts and contributions to human development and improving the social condition of societies globally, the Aga Khan has, over the last six decades, received numerous decorations, honorary degrees, and awards from institutions and nations across the world.

The AKDN is a group of private, international, non-denominational agencies working to improve living conditions and opportunities for people in specific regions of the developing world.  The Network’s organizations have individual mandates that range from the fields of health and education to architecture, rural development and the promotion of private-sector enterprise.

Together, they work towards a common goal – to build institutions and programs that can respond to the challenges of social, economic and cultural change on an on-going basis.  The AKDN works in close partnership with public and private institutions, including amongst others, governments, international organizations, companies, foundations, and universities.