Empress of India Medal

The Empress of India medal, also referred to as KIH Medal, was issued to celebrate the proclamation at Delhi Durbar of Queen Victoria as Empress of India on 1st January 1877. The medal was awarded in gold to Indian princess and high-ranking British officials. The silver medal was awarded to Indian civilians and selected officers and men of the various Indian and British regiments serving in India at the time.


Materials:   The majority of the British medals and clasps are made of solid silver, though some were issue in bronze versions, mainly to Indian non-combatants.  The majority of the British campaign awards are circular, usually 36mm in diameter.

Ribbons:    Medals are worn suspended from their own specific ribbons. These were first made of silk but cotton was increasingly used as the nineteenth century developed.  Their own colours often have a symbolic significance: the equal stripes of the ‘1939 to 1945 Star,’ for example, are dark blue to represent the service of the Royal and Merchant Navies, red, to represent that of the Armies and light blue to represent that of Air Forces.

Ribbon width can vary slightly though it is generally 32mm wide.

Ribbon – 42mm crimson edged in gold

Empress of India Medal Ribbon
Empress of India Medal Ribbon

Suspender - Straight suspender

Type – Commemorative medal

Awarded for – Commemorate the proclamation of Queen Victoria as Empress of India

Established – 1 January 1877

Naming – It was issued unnamed but many examples were subsequently engraved or impressed privately

Description – Gold or Silver disc 58mm wide and the obverse of the Empress of India Medal has a left facing bust of Queen Victoria wearing a veil and coronet. Around the circumference of the medal is the inscription, VICTORIA 1st JANUARY 1877. The reverse of the medal bears the inscription EMPRESS OF INDIA in English and it’s equivalent in Hindi and Urdu across the field


This guide will help you through all the parts and descriptions of military medals



< gov.uk/medals-campaigns-descriptions-and-eligibility>

Some of the material on this page was also partially derived from

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