Royal Tour of India and Bhutan 2016 – The Most Ambitious Tour of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge


Duchess of Cambridge wore white Naeem Khan Dress to Visit Taj Mahal during India tour in April 2016
The UK in India

In April 2016, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge toured two prominent Asian Countries – India and Bhutan. At that time, Kensington Palace described the tour as the “Most Ambitious Tour” undertaken by William and Catherine and “promised to be the most colourful to date”. Releasing the itinerary of the visit, the Palace said, “The Duke and Duchess are honoured to be carrying out this visit on Her Majesty’s behalf as so many around the world prepare to celebrate this happy milestone.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited India and Bhutan in April 2016
The UK in India

The 6 days long tour from April 10 to April 16 covered two nations, five distinct locations. The couple visited the countries on the request of the Foreign Office. The FO requested the tour ahead of India’s then Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United Kingdom in 2015. It was announced during Mr Modi’s visit in November 2015. I still remember when I heard the news in the Prime Time News section I was so excited and today I am going to relive those 6 days again through the eyes of Camera and history. Palace released the dates and tentative schedule in February 2016.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's Royal Tour of India and Bhutan in 2016
Royal.gov.uk

The Royal tour came at very crucial times. It’s not just the important Diplomatic front but by the time 2016 rolled in, William and Catherine were on the receiving end of public and media criticism. I still remember this article from Victoria Murphy who was working at the Mirror then,

For seven full days, Prince William and Kate will be in the spotlight as they sample the delights of India and Bhutan on their latest major royal tour. The visit is, of course, at the request of the British Government to build important diplomatic relations, but it has also come at a crucial time for the couple and their relationship with the public.

In contrast to their previous tours, where they have been waved off in a puff of fascination and adoration, this one is beginning in rather less triumphant fashion. When Kate made her tour debut in Canada in 2011, her every appearance was almost guaranteed a front-page picture or headline bulletin even if she said or did very little.

One year on in Singapore and Malaysia there was still intense interest, with speculation about when they may produce an heir at the top of the agenda – as well as the fallout from a French magazine’s decision to print pictures of a topless Kate. And when the heir was delivered in 2013 and taken on his first trip to Australia and New Zealand in 2014, extensive and glowing coverage of the happy family was lapped up as the order of the day.

With five years of official appearances under her belt, the novelty of Kate as a new member of the “firm” has worn off. Her day-to-day appearances are not commanding the attention they once did and glowing coverage has given way to questions about her working timetable and use of taxpayer-funded helicopters. William, who was once lauded for his role outside royal life as a Search and Rescue pilot, is now fending off suggestions he is hiding from his destiny in the air ambulance.

And their stable marriage which once caused for such celebration and excitement has now entered that ‘comfortable but not that exciting’ phase worthy of very little comment.

Supporters have argued that there is work going on behind the scenes, that they should be able to be with their children while they are young, William is not yet the heir and they have a lifetime to carry out royal duties.

These are all valid arguments – but nothing can silence the “work-shy” critics like a week of back-to-back public appearances. And there could not be a more perfect destination than India and Bhutan in which to reaffirm their worth and popularity.

William and Catherine arrived in India on Sunday 10th April, before travelling to Bhutan on Thursday 14th April. The Royal Tour concluded back in India on Saturday 16th April. It was the couple’s first-ever visit to either of the countries that are an important part of Commonwealth and shares a long history with the United Kingdom.  A Kensington Palace spokesman said,

The Duke and Duchess are very much looking forward to their tours of India and Bhutan. Their visit to India will be an introduction to a country that they plan to build an enduring relationship with. They will pay tribute to India’s proud history, but also are keen to understand the hopes and aspirations of young Indian people and the major role they will play in shaping the 21st century.

Their visit to Bhutan will allow them to continue a relationship between two Royal Families by meeting The King and Queen. The Duke and Duchess have heard many wonderful things about the country and are grateful to have this opportunity to get to know the Bhutanese people.

This tour, coming shortly before The Queen’s 90th birthday, will also allow The Duke and Duchess to pay tribute to Her Majesty’s huge contribution to diplomacy in Britain and the Commonwealth.

Duchess of Cambridge wore Saloni London Blue Mary Illusion Dot Dress at a reception before India tour in April 2016
Kensington Palace

We already know that William and Catherine do not do anything half-heartedly. Before every visit and tour, they research and learn as much as they can about the cause. This visit was one of their biggest ones so they were not going to leave without being fully prepared. Telegraph reported at that time that a small team including Duchess’ then private secretary Rebbecca Deacon undertook a rehearsal trip to both countries ahead of the visit. The team clicked lots of pictures of every location the couple was scheduled to visit. This rehearsal trip also helped Catherine deciding what to wear, what level of formality and colours will work best during the visit.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended a reception ahead of India and Bhutan visit
Kensington Palace

Ahead of the visit, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended a reception at Kensington Palace on April 06. The couple met with many young people from India and Bhutan to learn more about the two countries ahead of the Royal Tour.

Kensington Palace

Palace described the reception as an opportunity to “learn more about India and Bhutan’s people, history, current affairs and culture ahead of their forthcoming tour”. From Daily Mail,

Among the recognisable faces at Kensington Palace – the group included members of the business, charity and academic sectors – was Burberry model Neelam Gill, who has carved a path for young Asian women in the fashion industry. Also, there to meet William and Kate was India’s High Commissioner to the UK Navtej Sarna and key figures from Prince Charles’ Britain Asian Trust.

The couple will also speak with Bhutanese and Indian students enrolled on the FCO’s Chevening Scholarship Programme, the UK’s international awards scheme aimed at developing global leaders. Three-quarters of the population of Bhutan are Buddhist, while the nation’s ethnic Nepalese community are overwhelmingly Hindu.

At the reception, Kate revealed she was a fan of spicy food but her husband William ‘struggles’ with fiery food. Model Neelam Gill, whose family is originally from Punjab, said: ‘For my generation [William and Kate] have always seemed cool and approachable and I felt they were just that in person. It was really sweet seeing them as a couple.’

She added: ‘She told me that she loved Indian food so I told her that she’d be fine with the spices. But William told me that he struggles with the spices so I told him to watch out.’

The Duke told one group that the weather in Mumbai, where they will start their visit next week, will be very hot. He said: ‘Mumbai is about 35 degrees – it will be a belter. I’ve had enough of wintertime, I want to get away.’ The conversation turned to the recent Twenty20 World Cup cricket tournament hosted by India which the West Indies won in dramatic style, beating England in the final at the weekend. William saidcarefully chsen label ‘I wish I was there for the last week, for the final – amazing game.’

PA

For the reception, Duchess of Cambridge wore Saloni’s Blue Mary Illusion Dot Dress. The carefully chosen Indian-born designer Saloni Lodha definitely set the tone of the tour fashion. She teamed up her outfit with Cassandra Goad Gold ‘Temple of Heaven’ Girandole Pendant Earrings and Rupert Sanderson Malory Pumps.

 

William and Catherine flew overnight on Saturday, April and 09 and arrived in Financial and entertainment hub of India, Mumbai, on the morning of April 10 via a scheduled flight. The couple was accompanied by the entourage of 11 that included Private Secretaries of the royal couple, Miguel Head and Rebbeca Deacon, Four press officers and Duchess’s personal hairdresser Amanda Tucker, personal stylist Natasha Archer.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived at the Taj Hotel for Royal Tour India in April 2016
The UK in India

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stayed at the Taj Hotel in Mumbai that was also the venue of the first engagement of the Royal Tour. Their flight was early so they arrived 30 minutes ahead of the schedule around mid-day.

Taj Mahal Palace on Twitter

The couple received a warm welcome at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. Catherine was presented with a big bouquet of flowers by the Hotel’s Manager Mr Taljinder Singh. Sharing the excitement, hotel tweeted, “The Duke and Duchess are making their way to India to lend support to charitable causes today. We’re privileged to welcome Their Royal Highnesses to Taj Mahal Palace as they visit Mumbai.”

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived at the Taj Hotel for Royal Tour India in April 2016
Wikipedia

The Taj hotel suffered a brutal terrorist attack in November 2008  and is now an iconic symbol of the city’s resilience and strength. The stories of the bravery and dedication of the staff there are now known around the world.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived at the Taj Hotel for Royal Tour India in April 2016
Juliet Rieden Twitter

Once inside the hotel, they were welcomed with the garlands made of frangipani and roses.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived at the Taj Hotel for Royal Tour India in April 2016
British Monarchy Flickr

William and Catherine laid a wreath, at the memorial inside the hotel, in the honour of those who lost their lives during the attack. Their card said, “In memory of those who lost their lives & those injured in the senseless atrocities at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.”

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived at the Taj Hotel for Royal Tour India in April 2016
The UK in India

Then Duke and Duchess met with the members of the staff who helped guests during the attack. From Daily Mail,

At the memorial, they were introduced to hotel chef Raghu Deora, 41, who was shot in the stomach and in the leg as he helped guests to safety. The Duke asked him about what happened on the day while the Duchess said: ‘It must have been a surreal time.

Mr Deora said: ‘The Duke asked me what happened to me and I explained how I was shot. He asked me how long I took to recover, and I said six months, with the last operation two years ago. The Duchess asked him about his cooking, and if he had a speciality, to which he replied that he specialised in local dishes.

Chef Deora cooked a private lunch for the Royal couple. The special lunch included a selection of vegetable kebabs, lentil curry and rice, ricotta cheese and okra. It was reported that during the visit Couple will have only vegetarian food to avoid any sort of food poisoning.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived at the Taj Hotel for Royal Tour India in April 2016
The UK in India

William and Catherine were following in the footsteps of other world figures, including The Prince of Wales and The US President who have both used their stays at the hotel to display solidarity with the people of this great city. The attack cost 167 lives out of which 31 deaths took place at the hotel alone.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived at the Taj Hotel for Royal Tour India in April 2016
The UK in India

Just a few hours ahead of the couple’s arrival in the country, India went through another tragedy. Puttingal Temple in  Kollam, Kerala experienced an explosion and fire after firework celebrations went awry. As a result, 111 people were killed and 350 were severely injured. The couple came to know about the accident upon their landing.  Kensington Palace released a statement reading, “Upon their arrival this morning, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were informed about the tragic fire in Kollam. Their Royal Highnesses are saddened by the news and send their thoughts to all those who are assisting victims”.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived at the Taj Hotel for Royal Tour India in April 2016
The UK in India

For the arrival, Duchess of Cambridge chose a very regal outfit. She was wearing Alexander McQueen Paisley Dress.

Duchess of Cambridge wore Alexander McQueen Dress for the day one of Royal tour of india
Photo: the UK in India

Duchess paired the outfit with Cassandra Goad Gold ‘Temple of Heaven’ Girandole Pendant Earrings, Russell & Bromley Curvy Clutch and L.K. Bennett Fern Pumps.

Video of the arrival in Mumbai.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the day 2 of the Royal Tour of India in April 2016
The UK in India

The second stop of the day one was – Oval Maiden. The Oval Maidan is a large Grade-I recreational ground situated in South Mumbai. City’s most famous public space, Oval Maidan, a large public park is home to cricket pitches that boast great views of the city’s skyline and is a gathering place for local people. Cricket is the most popular and most played sport in India. And given the sporty and competitive nature of our beautiful royal couple, a sporting event was bound to be the part of the tour itinerary.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge played cricket on the day 2 of the royal tour of india
The UK in India

After a quick change of the outfit, William and Catherine met with two iconic Indian Cricket players Sachin Tendulkar and Dilip Vengsarkar at the park. In the Itinerary release, Palace promised some surprises and delivered expertly.

Duchess of Cambridge playing criket in India during royal tour
Kensington Palace

They watched a young person’s cricket match and then it was time for a friendly match. Both Catherine and William tried their hands at batting. Then the Royal Couple signed the cricket bat.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with the children from , Childline, Magic Bus and Doorstep
The UK in India

The royal couple also met representatives and beneficiaries of three charities here – Magic Bus, Doorstep, and India’s Childline.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with magic bus kids in Mumbai
The UK in India

Founded by Matthew Spacie in 1999, Magic Bus equips children and young people in the age group of 12 to 18, with the skills and knowledge they need, to grow up and move out of poverty. The charity works towards giving children a  better life with awareness, life skills and opportunities. Through their mentorship programme, the organization trains the local youth to be a mentor of children. Magic Bus works with children and young people taking them on a journey from Childhood to Livelihood and out of poverty. By enabling children to complete secondary education, delay their age of marriage, and skilled young people to be in jobs, we are helping move a generation out of the vicious cycle of poverty.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with the children from , Childline, Magic Bus and Doorstep
The UK in India

“The Society for Door Step Schools” was established in Mumbai, India in 1989 with the aim of addressing illiteracy amongst the marginalized sections of society. The school provides education and support to the often-forgotten children of pavement and slum dwellers, construction site families and many other underprivileged families.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with school children in Mumbai
The UK in India

The kids presented William and Catherine with some adorable handmade gifts and tried to teach them a few words of Hindi.

Duke and Duchess spent time with school children in oval mumbai
The UK in India

India’s Childline is a toll-free phone helpline that spells hope for millions of children across India. It is a 24-hour a day, 365 days a year, free, emergency phone service for children in need of aid and assistance. First started as a field action project of the Department of Family and Child Welfare, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) Mumbai, in June 1996 Childline 1098 was founded by Ms Jeroo Billimoria, then a professor at TISS.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with the children from , Childline, Magic Bus and Doorstep
Kensington Palace

Then the royal couple took an open-top bus ride with children from another local charity Apnalaya, that works with the children from the poverty-ridden families in Mumbai’s slums.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the Banganga Water Tank
The UK in India

From there, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge headed towards the Banganga Water Tank. Banganga is an ancient water tank in the Malabar Hill area of Mumbai and part of local Walkeshwar Temple Complex. The couple arrived amid the dance and musical performances and was welcomed with floral garlands.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the Banganga Water Tank
The UK in India

According to local legend, it sprang forth when Lord Rama, the exiled hero of the epic Ramayana, stopped at the spot in search of his kidnapped wife Sita. As the legend goes, overcome with fatigue and thirst, Rama asked his brother Lakshmana to bring him some water. Laxman instantly shot an arrow into the ground, and water gushed forth from the ground, creating a tributary of the Ganges, which flows over a thousand miles away, hence its name, Banganga, the Ganga created by a baan (arrow).

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the Banganga Water Tank
The UK in India

William and Catherine took part in the traditional ritual of putting petals and flowers in the tank.

The UK in India

Next, Duke and Duchess headed towards the local slums.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with the children from , Childline, Magic Bus and Doorstep
Kensington Palace

They met and play with children who live in slums around the city. The children were really excited to meet the British Prince and Princess.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge played with children in the slum of Mumbai India
Kensington Palace

Duke and Duchess were equally enjoying the day with children.

Duke and Duchess visited the slums in Mumbai
The UK in India

The visit allowed the couple to get a real sense of the complexity of this city. Alongside one of the most upmarket residential areas in Mumbai, they saw people who are living in tough circumstances in a small slum and are working hard to gain skills and make their way in the world.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the slum area in Mumbai India
The UK in India

They met representatives of a charity called SMILE that focuses on skills and opportunities for young people and their parents.

Duchess of Cambridge wore Anita Dongre's Gulrukh Tunic Dress on the day 1 of the Mumbai visit
The UK in India

Duchess of Cambridge is known for her diplomatic sartorial choices. She always knows what to wear and how to handle the level of formality when it comes to Royal Fashion. Her second outfit during the tour was showing the efforts behind the wardrobe planning. Catherine wore Anita Dongre Gulrukh Dress paired with Accessorize Filigree Bead Short Drop Earrings and Monsoon ‘Fleur’ Taupe Suede Espadrille Wedges.

A video of the day.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended Bollywood Gala during India Tour in April 2016 (4)
Kensington Palace

The fully packed itinerary of the day 1 ended with a star-studded gala.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended Bollywood Gala during India Tour in April 2016
The UK in India

The couple attended a gala dinner in the ballroom of The Taj Mahal Palace hotel where they were introduced to some of Mumbai’s leading figures, including some well-known names from Bollywood and the city’s thriving business world.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended Bollywood Gala during India Tour in April 2016
The UK in India

Upon arrival, Couple even posed for the photographers at the red carpet.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended Bollywood Gala during India Tour in April 2016
The UK in India

The £25,000 a table glittering reception and dinner, hosted by The British High Commission in partnership with The British Asian Trust, of which The Prince of Wales is founder and President, in the royal honour celebrated Mumbai’s film and creative industries. The British Asian Trust was founded by the Prince of Wales, Charles, in 2007 to remove the widespread poverty and hardships that he encountered in South Asia.

The UK in India

The famous names included Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, Bollywood stars Shahrukh Khan, Rishi Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai, Madhuri Dikshit among others.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended Bollywood Gala during India Tour in April 2016
The UK in India

The red carpet event was full of vibrancy, dance and musical performances, and of course fashion.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended Bollywood Gala during India Tour in April 2016
The UK in India

Duchess of Cambridge talking to the guests.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended Bollywood Gala during India Tour in April 2016
The UK in India

A view of the dinner table.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended Bollywood Gala during India Tour in April 2016 (2)
The UK in India

The gala event raised funds for the three charities that couple came to know about earlier in the day – Magic Bus, Doorstep, and Childline. Palace said that the Duke and Duchess are pleased that this event will raise funds to create a small legacy of their visit to India.

Speaking at the event, William said,

Ladies and Gentlemen, namaste.

It has been a wonderful and colourful evening, and a real treat to be welcomed to India in this way.   Th

ank you to all the performers and all those behind the scenes.

And thank you also to the British Asian Trust, the charity founded by my father The Prince of Wales, for their support to the British High Commission in putting on this event.

Before I begin, Catherine and I would like to offer our condolences to all those affected by the terrible fire at the temple in Kollam.  I know that all of you in this room will join us in those sentiments.

When Catherine and I were married, India was the first place on Catherine’s list that she told me that she wanted to visit.  Two children and five years later, we have finally made it – and we are both honoured to be here.

My family has a long and proud connection with India, and although our relationship has evolved, my family’s high regard for India – the largest country in the Commonwealth – remains unchanged.

It seems fitting that Catherine and I start our journey from here, a short distance from the place marked by the famous Gateway of India, where so many people, including my great-great-grandfather, have arrived.

Catherine and I embark on a journey to get to know the vibrant India of the 21st century.  An India whose traditions, culture and civilisation go back thousands of years, and yet co-exist with an India that is young, creative, entrepreneurial – an economic, cultural and political powerhouse, and an established democracy under the rule of law.

Our first day in India has introduced us to those contrasts: The ancient Banganga water tank, sitting in the middle of a modern, bustling city full of ambitious people; And tonight’s stunning event, full of the vibrancy of the world-class creative and commercial industries in Mumbai;

and earlier today, playing cricket with young boys and girls, enthusiastic and hopeful about their futures, perhaps one day to make it to the World Twenty-20 final – following in England’s footsteps perhaps?

And yet India is also a country of challenges. Catherine and I are therefore so pleased that tonight’s event will raise considerable sums for Childline India, Magic Bus and Doorstep, three Indian charities working to overcome severe problems that many young people face to fulfil their potential – problems which I know you recognise and are determined to fix.

Tomorrow, Catherine and I are meeting some of India’s best young entrepreneurs before going onto Delhi, Assam and Agra.  This will give us the opportunity to witness at first hand the partnership between our two nations.

On a personal level, Catherine and I are full of admiration for this diverse and democratic society.  No-one can come here without being awed and amazed; no-one can come without a sense of excitement about all that India has achieved in the past and the extraordinary promise it holds for the future.

Thank you once again for your very warm welcome tonight. Bahoth Dhanyavaad.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met their old fan ahead of Bollywood Gala during India Tour in April 2016
The UK in India

Ahead of the gala, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had a very special meeting. The Royal couple met 93 Years old Boman Kohinoor who owns Britannia & Company, a Mumbai restaurant that was opened by his father in 1923 and is known for two things — delicious Irani and Parsi cuisine and royal family paraphernalia that plaster the walls. Boman had been a long time Royal fan. From Huffington post,

When Kohinoor heard that the royal couple were coming to India, he told AFP: “I would treat them to the best of my signature dishes like berry pulao and sali boti mutton, lamb and fish and all that.” Condé Nast Traveller India heard about Kohinoor’s wish and decided to help his dream come true. The magazine made a video proclaiming Kohinoor as “the royal family’s fan number one,” and asking the couple to visit his restaurant. Once the magazine posted the video to its Facebook page, it went viral, and to date has received over 170,000 views.

Thanks to all the Internet love, the royal couple caught wind of their super fan’s story and invited him for an out-of-schedule meeting at their hotel Sunday, Indian Express reports. “I told [William and Kate] about the berry pulao and how it’s made using my late wife’s recipe,” Kohinoor told the Condé Nast Traveller. He also added: “I told them: give my love to the queen, and to [your] children Prince George and Princess Charlotte, too.”

Duchess of Cambridge wore blue Jenny Packham Gown at the Bollywood Gala during India visit in 2016
KP/The UK in India

As expected, Duchess of Cambridge made a majestic appearance at the most glamorous event of the tour. We all were expecting something Indo-British and Duchess did not disappoint us. She was looking absolutely gorgeous in Jenny Packham Blue Gown paired with matching Jenny Packham Blue Sequined Clutch and Amrapali Lapis & Diamond Double Oval Drop Earrings.

The day was indeed full of contrasting events and ended on a beautiful note.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge left Taj Mahal hotel on day 2 of the India visit
Taj Mahal Hotel Mumbai

The day 2 of the Royal Tour brought promising business youngsters on the front foot.  The day began with a private investiture carried out by Prince William at the hotel. Then the couple thanked the hotel staff for the hospitality and left for the second engagement of the day.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with the young businessmen on the day 2 of India visit
The UK in India

The Duke and Duchess met with aspiring young entrepreneurs at a GREAT campaign event at a bar, restaurant and collaborative workspace called The Social. William and Catherine officially launched the 2016-2017 GREAT Tech Rocketship Awards.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with the young businessmen on the day 2 of India visit
The UK in India

The awards celebrated some of India’s best and brightest talent in technology start-ups. Ten young entrepreneurs won a trip to the UK, which included access to the best of British expertise and advice, and a chance to pitch to potential investors for finance.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with the young businessmen on the day 2 of India visit
The UK in India

 The Social – a bar, restaurant and callobartive workspace is a popular urban hangout and a hub for artists and designers in Mumbai.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with the young businessmen on the day 2 of India visit
The UK in India

Mumbai has a thriving young business scene and The Duke and Duchess had the opportunity to meet young people with great ideas to power the future of India’s massive economy, where more than 1 million people join the workforce every month.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with the young businessmen on the day 2 of India visit
The UK in India

Prime Minister Modi has launched the Startup India campaign to encourage new businesses and job creation and this will be a chance to explore how the UK can work with Indian business to achieve these goals – Mr Modi has described the UK and India relationship as ‘an unbeatable combination’.

The UK in India

During the visit, the couple was shown many new initiatives and projects.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with the young businessmen on the day 2 of India visit
The UK in India

William and Catherine both tried to learn type in Braile. Guess what Duchess tried to type – George.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with the young businessmen on the day 2 of India visit
The UK in India

They were shown an automatic machine, designed by an engineer for Bangalore, to prepare Dosa – a Gujrati Dish. William tasted the dosa while Catherine politely declined the offer.

The UK in India

William was definitely enjoying all the tech things during the visit.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with the young businessmen on the day 2 of India visit
The UK in India

Speaking at the event, William said, “Being here today, it is clear that India is leading the way in so many areas of innovation and technology“. From there the couple bid adieu to the city and flew to the National Capital of the country – New Delhi.

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Their time in the capital city allowed them to pay respect to India’s military contributions, to honour the memory of Mahatma Gandhi, and also to get to know the men and women who now lead the country in government and politics.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge saw India gate during india tour
The UK in India

William and Catherine began their Delhi programme with a wreath-laying at India Gate. This memorial is situated in the heart of New Delhi.

The British Monarchy Flickr

The 42m high red standstone structure is the country’s main war memorial, covering the two world wars, the Third Anglo-Afghan War, and the Indo Pakistan War of 1971. The memorial bears the names of more than 13,516 British and Indian soldiers killed in the Northwestern Frontier in the Afghan war of 1919.

The UK in India

The foundation stone of India Gate was laid by His Royal Highness, the Duke of Connaught in 1921 and it was designed by Edwin Lutyens. The monument was dedicated to the nation 10 years later by the then Viceroy, Lord Irwin. Another memorial, Amar Jawan Jyoti was added much later, after India got its independence. The eternal flame burns day and night under the arch to remind the nation of soldiers who laid down their lives in the Indo-Pakistan War of December 1971.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge saw India gate during india tour
The UK in India

As the world was leading marking 100 years since the First World War, The Duke and Duchess, in particular, honoured the 70,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives while fighting for the British Army during the conflict. Their tribute read, “Never forgetting those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for India“.

A video of the visit.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Gandhi Smriti
The UK in India

From here The Duke and Duchess travelled to Gandhi Smriti. Literally meeting ‘Gandhi memory’, this museum is located in Old Birla House, where Mahatma Gandhi, India’s founding father, spent the last few years of his life.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Gandhi Smriti
The Uk in India

After arrival, The Duke and Duchess were given a tour of the museum before moving outside where they, like other visitors there, followed Gandhi’s final footsteps from his humble bedroom to the spot in the garden where he was assassinated in 1948.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Gandhi Smriti
The UK in India

They paid their respects at the memorial that marks the location and watched a choral performance from a group of young people before departing. About the engagement, Palace said, “The Duke and Duchess are grateful to have the chance to learn about this great man’s life in the place where he spent his final years”.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Gandhi Smriti
The UK in India

Duke and Duchess during the tour of the Museum watched the working of Charkha – a cotton spinning machine.

Duchess of Cambridge wore Emilia Wickstead Wool-Crepe Midi Dress
The UK in India

For the first leg of day 2, Duchess of Cambridge chose a very elegant look. She chose Emilia Wickstead Alice Short-Sleeved Wool Midi Dress paired with Cassandra Goad Gold ‘Temple of Heaven’ Girandole Pendant Earrings, Mulberry Bayswater Clutch and Rupert Sanderson Calice Pumps.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended Queen's 90th birthday party during the India tour
The UK in India

The day 2 of the Royal Tour ended with a birthday party for Her Majesty The Queen at the residence of the British High Commissioner. The couple arrived while band played a medley of Bond tunes.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended Queen's 90th birthday party during the India tour
The UK in India

Attended by hundreds of VIPs from the world of government and politics, the garden party was a chance to celebrate the links between Britain and India, and for all in attendance to toast The Queen ahead of her 90th birthday that was next week.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended Queen's 90th birthday party during the India tour
The UK in India

The guests enjoyed a combination of Indo-Brit food. The menu of the evening included Murg Malai Tikka, Aloo Sabutdana Ki Tikki along with some British cuisines like apple Stilton Welsh Rarebits, mini beer-battered fish and chips and thin crust cheese and tomato pizza.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended Queen's 90th birthday party during the India tour
The UK in India

William and Catherine cut the cake using a decorated sword.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended Queen's 90th birthday party during the India tour
The UK in India

From DailyMail’s report,

Much of the small talk between the couple and some of the 2,000 guests – drawn from the worlds of politics, business and the armed forces and academia – was about how she and her husband were enjoying their whirlwind trip to India.

Kate was also asked by party guest Prof Bulbul Dhar-James the secret to looking so trim. ‘We said, “how do you lose all the weight after having two kids?” And she said “I am running after my kids”,’ revealed Prof Dhar-James.

The academic, who teaches political science at Jamia Mellia Islamia University, asked her how she kept cheery through all the engagements.  ‘I asked her “aren’t you tired of smiling?” And she said “I’m just reciprocating. Everyone is so warm”.

‘They were both really gracious. She was so welcoming and warm. We told her “You look much better in person than in your photographs”.’

Their first meet and greet were with Admiral Robin Dhowan, Chief of Naval Staff in the Indian Navy and his wife Minu Dhowan, who asked William if he enjoyed the cricket in Mumbai on Sunday.  ‘I didn’t catch a ball, but I just lobbed it,’ he told her.

William and the Admiral talked about the Navy as he was stationed in Somerset in the early 1980s. He said of the couple: ‘They are going down so well in India. They’re so vibrant.’

Mrs Dhowan added: ‘We’ve all been glued to the TV. They are so elegant.’ Commandant TP Cherian, a search and rescue pilot, chatted to William about his former career with the RAF’s own unit. ‘He said he really missed those guys and was very pleased to speak to another pilot,’ he said.

‘He wanted to know about what kind of helicopters we flew and how many crew there are. I don’t think he wanted to stop talking about it.’

Venu Nair, MD of Marks and Spencer in India added: ‘The Duchess was really interested to hear about Marks and Spencer here in India and our 53 stores. ‘She was asking about our operations here and how they differed from the UK. I would never have dared asked her where her dress was from!’

Deepa Thomas Sutcliffe, 40, VP and Head of Communications Nissan and married to Paul Sutcliffe from British High Commission, who has just relocated from Mumbai, was one of the first the Duchess of Cambridge spoke to tonight. ‘I told the Duchess I have been a huge Royal fan my whole life and I adored Princess Diana. I was five years old when she married,’ she said.

‘She said “unfortunately I never had the pleasure of meeting her”.  ‘We also talked about Mumbai and she said “Mumbai is fantastic. We had a lovely time and got to sample lots of things, even a bit of cricket.”

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended Queen's 90th birthday party during the India tour
The UK in India

The Duke used the occasion to personally pay tribute to his grandmother with a speech to the invited guests. William said,

Thank you, High Commissioner, for your introduction and thank you, distinguished guests, Ministers, and all, for being here tonight.

Tonight, we are celebrating the links between our two countries. This is the first time Catherine and I have been to India and we have been incredibly impressed to see just how much this great country is on the move, and how India’s dynamism is matched by the warmth and welcome of its diverse people.

I am honoured that we also have a chance, tonight, to celebrate a very happy milestone for the United Kingdom and for my family in particular. Next week, Her Majesty The Queen, my grandmother, turns 90.  I am so grateful to all of you for turning out tonight to help us mark that occasion.

The Queen is very fond of India, having visited this great country three times during her reign. And India of course is the biggest country in the Commonwealth, the family of nations to which she has committed so much of her life’s work. India’s contribution to the Commonwealth is something that is enormously important to her.

As my grandmother’s birthday gives us a chance to celebrate the partnership between our nations, I hope you don’t mind if I take the opportunity to pay tribute to The Queen on a more personal note. I am incredibly lucky to have my grandmother in my life.  As she turns 90, she is a remarkably energetic and dedicated guiding force for her family.

And I am so glad that my children are having the chance to get to know The Queen.  George and Charlotte, too, will discover how lucky they are to have such a wonderful great-grandmother – a role model for the rest of their lives.

Now, it is important that everyone here tonight understands that I am here as The Queen’s representative. She may be my grandmother, but she is also very much the boss! And with that in mind, she has given me a message that I am privileged to read out to you all tonight:

Prince Philip and I send our warmest good wishes to all you attending this special Garden Party. I am delighted that The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been able to join you this afternoon during their visit to your country. 

I have fond memories of our previous visits to India.  This event today is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the enduring friendship between our two countries, our shared culture and the business opportunities we can create together.  It is with great pleasure that I entrust another generation of my family to strengthen and renew our bonds. 

Signed, Elizabeth R.

Now I can report back to Granny that I have done my duty!

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining with us to wish The Queen a very happy birthday.  Bahot dhanyavaad.

Duchess of Cambridg wore Temperley London Delphia Top and Skirt at the Queen's Birthday Party during India tour
The UK in India

For the evening, Duchess chose a very classic look. She wore Temperley London Delphia Top and Skirt paired with black UFO Chandelier Earrings, Prada Black Satin Clutch with Stone Embellishment and Gianvito Rossi Sisely Black Suede Sandals.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in India durign garden party Catherine wearing Temperley London Delphia Top and Skirt
The British Monarchy

Another beautiful day with lots of meaningful engagements ended on a colourful note.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Salaam Baalak Trust during India Tour in April 2016
The UK in India

The itinerary of the day 3 was kept under the wrap ahead of the visit and was announced on the few hours before the day began. The Duke and Duchess had an opportunity to see up close work to support desperately vulnerable young people in the city.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Salaam Baalak Trust during India Tour in April 2016
The UK in India

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge started the day by visiting  Salaam Baalak Trust – an organisation working to support vulnerable young people. The information and pictures of the visit were released after the visit. The Trust has a focus on mental health and supports the individual needs of street children.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Salaam Baalak Trust during India Tour in April 2016
The UK in India

The Salaam Baalak Trust is a non-profit and non-governmental organization in India that provides a sensitive and caring environment to street and working children. Salaam Baalak Trust is dedicated to providing a sensitive and caring environment to street and working children in Delhi, India. It helps nurture their dreams and make them realize that their fate can be crafted by their own heart, their own hands and a firm resolve.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Salaam Baalak Trust during India Tour in April 2016
The UK in India

The Duke and Duchess first visited the Trust’s Contact Centre near New Delhi Railway Station, where they heard that up to 1200-1500 children arrive into the capital on trains each year and often travelling alone, to escape a range of personal circumstances.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Salaam Baalak Trust during India Tour in April 2016
The UK in India

As a frontline partner of Childline, The couple were briefed by the Trust’s outreach workers on how they respond to calls for urgent care, and try to identify vulnerable young children as soon as they arrive in the city, to encourage them to get support as early as possible.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Salaam Baalak Trust during India Tour in April 2016
The UK in India

The couple spent time playing indoor games with the children at the centre. At the time of the visit, it was reported that the Director of the charity had made a very sombre request saying, “Spread the word. People think of them as street kids, beggars, thieves but they are just children. They deserve an education, a future and life. They have a right to a childhood.”

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Salaam Baalak Trust during India Tour in April 2016
The UK in India

With 18 centres in the capital city, the organization, that was established in 1998 from the proceedings of the movie ‘Salaam Bombay’, provides full time and short-stay facilities like nutrition, clothing and toilet facilities to children in need of care and protection.

The UK in India

Duchess joined the kids in an arts and craft session. It looks like she was drawing Anmer Hall.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Salaam Baalak Trust during India Tour in April 2016
The UK in India

With Mental Health being the focus of couple’s public life, they were interested to see children’s mental health is being treated as a key priority in helping children to seek physical healthcare, shelter, and eventually education.

The UK in India

The couple also had the chance to meet two Salam Baalak City Walk Guides. The Trust is famous for its city walks, guided tours of the Delhi streets by the children who used to live there before being rescued. The tours provide revenue for the Trust but more importantly allow the young people to tell their stories of hardship and survival as well as helping them with their English and communication skills.

Duchess of Cambridge wore Glamrous Maxi Dress to visit Salaam Baalak Trust during India tour

For the visit, Duchess of Cambridge chose an outfit with very Indian vibes. She wore Glamorous Red & Navy Maxi Dress teamed up with her Accessorize Filigree Bead Short Drop Earrings and Russell & Bromley Xpresso Blush Suede Crossover Flat.

Video of the visit.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with the Indian Prime Minister during India visit
The UK in India

Then Couple had a quick outfit changed headed to the Hyderabad House in the city, where they met with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The UK in India

The couple posed with the Nation Head before heading inside.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with the Indian Prime Minister during India visit
The UK in India

External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said, “engagement with the British Royal family was an integral component of India-Britain relations. The visit of the Duke and Duchess was reflective of the high-level engagement between India and UK and demonstrates the accelerated momentum of the relationship after the Prime Minister’s very successful visit to the United Kingdom in November 2015”.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with the Indian Prime Minister during India visit
The UK in India

The couple had lunch with the PM and many other dignitaries at the Hyderabad House and signed the visitor’s book.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with Women NGO during India visit
The UK in India

William and Catherine also had a private meeting with NGOs working in Delhi before departing the city. They met with Women’s Rights Advocates in India. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with a group of Indian women to hear about a range of issues affecting women and girls in the country.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with Women NGO during India visit
The UK in India

The meeting was convened at the personal request of The Duke who wanted an opportunity to hear directly from women working to support other women and girls. He also wanted to get a sense of work being done to help young women to achieve their full potential and for men to become more supportive of the women and girls in their lives.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with Women NGO during India visit
The UK in India

The meeting touched a very crucial issue faced by the Women of India. William and Catherine met acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal and heard about her inspirational campaign ‘Stop Acid Attacks’. Laxmi was attacked at 15 by a 32-year-old man after she rejected his marriage proposal. She explained her decision to stop covering her face in order to encourage other victims not to hide and also spoke of her successful fight for tougher legal restrictions on the sale of acid. The Duke thanked her for her bravery. Laxmi is now a TV host, and director of the Chhanve Foundation, an NGO dedicated to helping survivors of acid attacks in India.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with Women NGO during India visit
The UK in India

The Duke and Duchess also met with Sunita Jaiswal, a survivor of domestic abuse, who thanks to the support of the Azad Foundation, has turned her life around and has now provided a stable future for her daughters. Through the foundation Sunita was able to train as a driver, giving her independence and an income which allowed her to send her children to school. She told The Duke and Duchess that the confidence she gained through training allowed her remaining fear ‘to flow out of her’ and she now faces the future with optimism. She and The Duchess discussed the importance of mothers helping their daughters to develop strategies to become independent women.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with Women NGO during India visit
The UK in India

Another attendee of the meeting was the journalist Soumya Menon who spoke about the role of media in these issues. She explained that the media can help women to tell their own stories and shine a light on the unique circumstances faced by individual women. She discussed her strong belief in continuing support and empowerment for women who are brave enough to speak up, so they are not abandoned and ignored after they have told their stories and the media have moved on.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with Women NGO during India visit
The UK in India

The Duke and Duchess heard about a range of support and initiatives provided for women and girls through organisations such as Save the Children as well as Indian Government supported programmes. The discussion noted the positive developments that social silence on these issues has now been well and truly broken and that the Government of India is treating this as a priority.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived in Assam during India tour
British Monarchy Flickr

Then the couple bid farewell to the capital city and boarded a flight to Assam. Upon arrival in Assam, they have welcomed by the Chief Minister of the Indian state amid musical and dance performances. For the second time during the visit, Catherine decided not to change her outfit during the flight.

Duchess of Cambridge wore Temperley London Desdemona Dress to meet Indian Prime Minister during India tour
The UK in India

For the day, Duchess chose a regal Temperley London Desdemona Dress paired with Kiki McDonough “Special Edition Green Tourmaline, Green Amethyst and Diamond Earrings”, L.K. Bennett Natalie Raffia Clutch and L.K. Bennett Fern Pumps.

Video of couple meeting Prime Minister Modi.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge enjoyed an evening in Kaziranga Park Assam
Emily Andrews Twitter

Duchess’ stylist Natasha Archer was seen carrying bags after arrival in Assam.

The Royal Family

Next, the couple travelled towards Kaziranga National Park in the state of Assam. The theme of this leg focused on the role of conservation in the lives of the rural people of this area.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Kaziranga National Park during India Tour
Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga is a World Heritage Site and a wildlife conservation site of great global importance. In addition to being the home of elephants, water buffalo, a number of bird species, the endangered swamp deer, and a high density of tigers, Kaziranga is home to two-thirds of the world’s population of Indian one-horned rhinoceroses – Latin name, Rhinoceros Unicornis. More than many other famous national parks in the world, in Kaziranga, one gets a real sense of how closely linked local people are to the animals that live there. This connection is not always easy.

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The visit to Kaziranga allowed The Duke and Duchess to see up close work being done to manage the conflicts that arise when humans and wild animals live in close proximity. A number of stories of human-animal conflict in India have made global news and this trip allowed Their Royal Highnesses and accompanying media to understand this issue in much more detail.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge enjoyed an evening in Kaziranga Park Assam
Kensington Palace

The visit to the park began on the evening of Tuesday 12 April. The visit came at the time of the Bohag Bihu festival, the celebration of the Assamese New Year.

Kensington Palace

Around a campfire, the Duke and Duchess met local people and enjoyed dance and musical performances. It was a colourful and fun introduction to rural life and a great way to start this leg of the tour. Bohag Bihu festival unites the population of Assam regardless of their religions or backgrounds and promotes the celebration of diversity.

Kensington Palace

A team of artists performing.

The UK in India

The couple was taken by a cute kid. It feels like Couple was missing their young kids who were staying behind in the UK during the tour.

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The kid was dancing around and William and Catherine were keenly watching him. At one time, the kid stepped on Catherine shoes.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge enjoyed an evening in Kaziranga Park Assam
Arthur Edwards Twitter

Catherine was fascinated by the jewels of the local ladies.

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For the evening, Duchess chose another India inspired outfit. Catherine wore Anna Sui Crinkled Silk-Chiffon and Twill Maxi Dress paired with her UFO Jade Earrings that she has since at least 2006 and Pied A Terre Imperia Wedges.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Kaziranga National Park during India Tour
The UK in India

The next morning, 13 April, was an early start for an open-air drive around the National Park itself. They were welcomed by local people and park staff at the entrance to Kaziranga before the drive began. Palace said, “The Duke, President of United for Wildlife, has long wanted to visit Kaziranga.” The park is situated on a flood plain and the vital annual floods drive animals up to the adjacent hills.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Kaziranga National Park during India Tour
Kensington Palace

In between the park and the hills, however, are growing numbers of villages which are in the path of ancient corridors for elephants and rhinos. The importance of the floods makes the area highly vulnerable to climate change as well, as reduced or increased snowmelts from the Himalayas could have severe consequences for this ecosystem.

Kensington Palace

The Duke and Duchess met rangers inside Kaziranga. The park has had success in recent years with protecting its animal populations from poachers. This has begun to change, however, with a number of recent poaching incidents. Rhinos are in particular danger as demand in other parts of Asia for their horns continues to rise. Traffickers in South East Asia are now marketing Indian rhino horn as ‘fire horn’ and lying about its increased potency when compared to African horn. The Duke used this visit to speak out against the lies and violence that threaten this valuable species and the communities that rely on it.

Arthur Edwards Twitter

The couple also enjoyed the Safari. From the Park’s recommendation, “Take jungle safari by open Jeep in search of one-horned rhinos, tigers, elephants, jackal, langur, monkeys, and many species of deer as well as a wealth of birdlife. Watching these many wildlife species in the wild will be your most cherished memory of Kaziranga National Park.”

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Kaziranga National Park during India Tour
The British Monarchy Flickr

The couple was excited for the day.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Kaziranga National Park during India Tour
The UK in India

And here came the royal Photographer. I am sure Catherine has wonderful pictures from the visit in her family albums.

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For the first part of the day, Duchess chose a very casual look. She was wearing  R.M. Williams Gretna Shirt and Zara Olive Biker Jeans teamed up with Kiki McDonough Citrine Pear Drop Earrings, Beige Flora Indian Embroidered Stole, Sebago Bala shoes and Ray-Ban Folding Wayfarer Sunglasses.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited a village in Assam during India visit
The UK in India

After the tour of the park, the Duke and Duchess had a quick change of outfit and visited Panbari village and interacted with local people in the village.

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Duchess received a traditional warm welcome from the village woman.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited a village in Assam during India visit
The UK in India

They met villagers in the community hall for a discussion about rural life in India, in a place where humans and animals live in close proximity.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Panbari Village during India tour
Kensington Palace

The Duke and Duchess met families and saw a variety of crops which provide their livelihoods, in addition to traditional crafts such as weaving.

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Duke and Duchess sat on a mat covered floor with people and heard about their lifestyle. Talking to the people Catherine told that they left kids behind as George is too naughty but promised to bring the kids next time they come to India.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Panbari Village during India tour
Kensington Palace

Duchess sat down with the woman working on the wool spinning machine and saw the working of the machine.

Kensington Palace

In the afternoon, they visited the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation. The centre provides emergency care and rehabilitation to wild animals that have been injured, displaced, or orphaned.  The centre has a strong re-release rate of 60% and has rehabilitated thousands of animals including hand-raised elephants, rhinos, and bears. The centre is also home to rescued leopards which sadly cannot be re-released from the site and have to be rehomed in sanctuaries and zoos in other locations, mainly in India.

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Then the couple enjoyed tea with the staff.

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William and Catherine received a really warm welcome from the villagers.

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Before leaving CWRC, The Duke and Duchess met young filmmakers who were members of Green Hub, a project that teaches film-making as a vocational skill to young people across North-East India. They watched two short films that both focus on human-animal conflict.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge fed baby elephants and rhinos in Assam during India visit
Kensington Palace

The couple fed baby elephants and baby rhino.

Kensington Palace

Catherine was absolutely loving her time in the area.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Mark Shand's charity in India
The UK in India

After visiting CWRC, The Duke and Duchess travelled across the road to the Kaziranga Discovery Centre built by Elephant Family, the charity founded by Mark Shand, the late brother of The Duchess of Cornwall. Both Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla are the joint patrons of the organisation.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Elephant Charity in India
The UK in India

Here they saw a first of its kind health clinic for working elephants and an elephant information centre, which is under construction. Their Royal Highnesses also had an opportunity to meet with villagers who have been relocated by the charity to keep them safely out of the path of an elephant corridor.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge painted Elephants for the parade in India
Kensington Palace

Before departing, The Duke and Duchess put the finishing touches on an elephant sculpture to officially mark the ‘call for artists’ for India’s elephant parade, which saw 200 elephants decorated by artists and placed in 200 locations across India by the Elephant Family.

Kensington Palace

We know who is the real artist here.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge painted Elephants for the parade in India
Kensington Palace

The Elephant Parades are designed to raise awareness and funds for charity worldwide. They have previously been staged in London, Edinburgh, and New York.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge painted Elephants for the parade in India
Kensington Palace

A look closer look at the artwork.

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For the day, Duchess chose a lovely look. She wore Topshop Embroidered Smock Dress paired with Accessorize Filigree Bead Short Drop Earrings and  Pied A Terre Imperia Wedges.

Video of the day.

Duchess of Cambridge wore Tory Burch Chrissy Dress when she left for Bhutan in 2016
Royal Romance on Twitter

With the visit came the end of the first part of the Royal Tour. The couple enjoyed a quiet evening in India after 3 fully packed day. But they were in for another tremor during the visit, on their last night in India, an earthquake hit Myanmar.  Palace confirmed that Duke and Duchess felt the quake but everything is okay.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge left for Bhutan after finishing India visit
Victoria Murphy on Twitter

Next day, On the morning of Thursday 14 April, The Duke and Duchess flew to Bhutan from Guwahati Airport. For the departure, Catherine was wearing Tory Burch Chrissy Dress.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived in Bhutan for Royal Tour
DrukAir Twitter

On arrival at Paro airport, The Duke and Duchess immediately got a sense of the beauty of this mountainous country. It was reported that Duke and Duchess enjoyed the serene view of Bhutan from the cockpit of their plane. The King and Queen of Bhutan made special arrangements with the airlines so that British Couple could have the best of the experience.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived in Bhutan for Royal Tour
The Royal Family

They were ceremoniously welcomed by King’s elder sister Princess Chimi, and her husband, Prince Dasho along with senior state representatives before departing for a scenic drive to the capital city of Thimphu.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived in Bhutan for Royal Tour
Taj Tashi Hotel

The couple travelled to the Taj Tashi Hotel in Thimpu where they were staying during the visit to Bhutan.

 

On the way to the hotel, the couple stopped on the way to say hello to some school kids who lined up the road.

Duchess of Cambridge wore yellow Emilia Wickstead Dress for arrival in Bhutan
DrukAir/Royal Family

Giving the host country a sartorial node, Duchess chose gold-tone Emilia Wickstead Yellow Coat paired with Broroa Gold Charm Earrings, L.K. Bennett Natalie Raffia Clutch and L.K. Bennett Fern Pumps.

A video of the arrival.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge received traditional Bhutanese welcome in Bhutan
Taj Hotel Bhutan

In the afternoon, they travelled to the beautiful Thimphu Dzong where they took part in a Chipdrel, a traditional welcome procession, complete with music, ceremonial dress, and plenty of colours.

 

The procession was such a beautiful moment of the day, showing the culture of the Himalayan country perfectly.

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The couple was enjoying the scenic view.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with Bhutan King and Queen at Thimphu Dzong
Wikipedia

Officially called Tashichö Dzong,  Thimphu Dzong has been the seat of Bhutan’s government since 1968. It presently houses the throne room and offices of the king, the cabinet secretariat and the ministries of home affairs and finance. It was first constructed in 1216 A.D. by Lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa where Dechen Phodrang now stands above Thimphu. In 1641, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal acquired it but finding it too small, he built another one, known as the lower Dzong. The original dzong was destroyed by fire in 1771 and everything was moved to the lower dzong. The new building was later expanded several times over the years. It was damaged during an earthquake in 1897 and rebuilt in 1902. King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck had it completely renovated and enlarged over five years after he moved the capital to Thimphu in 1952 in traditional style using neither nails nor written plans. The dzong is located close to Thimphu town, next to the banks of the Wang Chhu River. It is an impressively large structure, surrounded by well-kept lawns and beautiful gardens.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with the Bhutanese King and Queen during Bhutan visit in April 2016
King of Bhutan

The couple walked through the Golden Throne Room, where murals depicting the life of the Buddha decorates the walls.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with the Bhutanese King and Queen during Bhutan visit in April 2016
The British Monarchy Flickr

Inside the Dzong, they had a private audience with The King and Queen of Bhutan, Jigme and Jetsun. Duke and Duchess bowed and curtsied during the private audience. King Jigme and Queen Jetsun are hugely popular in the country.

Emily Nash on Twitter

Their Majesties then led The Duke and Duchess across the Dzong’s vast courtyard, which was beautifully decorated, across to a temple where they received a brief blessing and light butter lamps.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with the King and Queen of Bhutan
The King of Bhutan

A beautiful picture capturing the calm moment. The Duke and Duchess then bid goodbye to The King and Queen for the afternoon before heading to Thimphu’s open-air archery venue, located in the heart of the small city. Archery is Bhutan’s National Sport.

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William and Catherine saw first-hand Bhutan’s awe-inspiring national sport, where archers must aim at very small, brightly decorated wooden targets positioned 145 metres away from where they are standing.

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As expected, both Duke and Duchess tried their hands at the sport and from the big laughs, they absolutely enjoyed the event.

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During the game, Bhutanese women were singing traditional songs for the opposing archery players that meant “You’re bald, you have a big nose and small private parts”. Duchess was literally taken aback once she found out the meaning of the song.

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Catherine tried her hand at arrow throwing but lost. While William was able to hit the target.

 

A video of the moment.

Duke and Duchess of cambridge in Bhutan
Kensington Palace

The Duke and Duchess also to meet young people from local schools and NGOs who were playing other traditional games.

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For the day, Duchess wore traditional Bhutanese outfit. Catherine chose Paul Joe White Cape and Bhutanese Kira with Kiki lavender Amethyst Pear and Oval Drop earrings and  LK Bennett Floret Nude Pumps.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had dinner with the King and Queen of Bhutan
Elliot Wagland Twitter

That evening The Duke and Duchess had a private dinner with The King and Queen at Lingkana Palace.

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The couple leaving the Taj Tashi Hotel for the dinner with the King and Queen.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had dinner with the King and Queen of Bhutan
Victoria Murphy Twitter

Earlier in the day, Bhutan King presented the royal reporters with some personalised gifts as the welcome token.

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For the night, Duchess of Cambridge chose Tory Burch Embroidered Tulle Gown paired with Broroa Gold Charm Earrings, Pickett London Basket Weave Pashmina and Gianvito Rossi Sisely Black Suede Sandals.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge hiked to Paro Taktsang, the Tiger’s Nest monastery during Bhutan visit
Kensington Palace

The next day, 15 April, promised to be a very special one. The Duke and Duchess hiked to Paro Taktsang, the Tiger’s Nest monastery which dates to 1692.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge hiked to Paro Taktsang, the Tiger’s Nest monastery during Bhutan visit
Arthur Edwards Twitter

The monastery, also known as Taktsang Palphug Monastery, is near the cave where Guru Padmasambhava – who is credited with introducing Buddhism to Bhutan – is said to have meditated for three years, three months, three weeks, and three days in the 8th century.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge hiked to Paro Taktsang, the Tiger’s Nest monastery during Bhutan visit
Kensington Palace

The Duke and Duchess were thrilled to visit this magical place that clings to a cliff, 3120 meters above the sea level on the side of the upper Paro valley. Their hike took between 5-6 hours in total and allowed them to get a real sense of the natural and spiritual beauty of the country.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge hiked to Paro Taktsang, the Tiger’s Nest monastery during Bhutan visit
Clarence House

William’s father Prince Charles had also trekked up to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery in 1998 and stopped off to paint the stunning view.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge hiked to Paro Taktsang, the Tiger’s Nest monastery during Bhutan visit
Kensington Palace

The couple did not even break a sweat during the 6hour long hike.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge hiked to Paro Taktsang, the Tiger’s Nest monastery during Bhutan visit
Kensington Palace

A beautiful view of the top.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge hiked to Paro Taktsang, the Tiger’s Nest monastery during Bhutan visit
The UK in India

The couple was guided by Phunto Tashi.

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At the top, they spun the prayer wheels.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge hiked to Paro Taktsang, the Tiger’s Nest monastery during Bhutan visit
Kensington Palace

A beautiful picture of William and Catherine shared by the Palace.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge hiked to Paro Taktsang, the Tiger’s Nest monastery during Bhutan visit
Kensington Palace

During the hike, the couple talked to the media and told them they are missing the kids.

Kensington Palace

Duchess did some shopping during the hike. She bought Bhutanese Earrings. After the trek, Palace released a statement, “The Duke and Duchess have just returned to Thimphu after an amazing day at the Tiger’s Nest. TRH hiked to the top of the mountain and was taken by monks through the temples at the monastery. It was important for TRH to learn more about Bhutan’s history & religion, whilst showcasing its natural scenery“.

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Duchess chose a casual yet stunning look of the outdoor event. She wore Jaeger Classic Linen Blouse and Really Wild Clothing Shoot Nubuck Waistcoat paired with grey-green jeans.

Duchess of Cambridge during the 6 hour long trekking in Bhutan
Kensington Palace

She teamed up the outfit with Beige Flora Indian Embroidered Stole, Ray-Ban Folding Wayfarer Sunglasses, Kiki McDonough Citrine Pear Drop Earrings and Penelope Chilvers Long Tassel Boots.

Video of the trekking.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended a reception in Bhutan during the tour in April
Elliot Wagland Twitter

Back in Thimphu that evening, The Duke and Duchess attended a reception for British nationals in Bhutan and Bhutanese people with strong links to the UK.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended a reception in Bhutan during the tour in April
Kensington Palace

The Royal Couple was the guest of honour at the reception for hosted for British Nationals in Bhutan and Bhutanese people with strong links to the UK.

 

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended a reception in Bhutan during the tour in April
Elliot Wagland

Catherine received a white scarf at the starting of the reception.

Kensington Palace

The palace described the reception as an “opportune time to build on friendly relations between the UK and Bhutan” and the reception as the celebration of the link between two countries.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended a reception in Bhutan during the tour in April
Elliot Wagland

For the night, Catherine was looking absolutely gorgeous in Beulah London Juliet Flower Spirits Gown, Cassandra Goad Gold ‘Temple of Heaven’ Girandole Pendant Earrings and Gianvito Rossi Sisely Black Suede Sandals.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leaving Bhutan for Agra
Simply Bhutan Twitter

The next morning back at Paro Airport, The Duke and Duchess said their farewell and thanks to the people of Bhutan and boarded a flight to Agra, India, the home of the Taj Mahal.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge left Bhutan for Agra
Kensington Palace

The couple received lots of gifts from Bhutanese people among them were a collection of stamps that have Duke and Duchess’ pictures on them as in Bhutanone can have a  face printed on real stamps.

Embed from Getty Images

For the departure, Catherine chose to repeat her Alexander McQueen White Eyelet Suit Dress paired with Kiki Lauren Yellow Gold Pavé Diamond Leaf Earrings, L.K. Bennett Natalie Raffia Clutch and L.K. Bennett Fern Pumps.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited The Taj Mahal during the Indiia tour
The UK in India

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge ended the successful India and Bhutan tour with a visit to India’s most iconic landmark – The Taj Mahal.

Wikipedia

The Taj Mahal – “Crown of the Palace”,  is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal with construction starting in 1632 and completed in 1648, with the mosque, the guest house and the main gateway on the south, the outer courtyard and its cloisters were added subsequently and completed in 1653.

The UK in India

It houses the tomb of Shah Jahan himself and his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj is regarded as the best example of Mughal architecture and a symbol of India’s rich history. It attracts about eight million visitors per year.

The UK in India

The Taj, one of the wonders of the world and a UNESCO Heritage since 1983 was a fitting location for The Duke and Duchess to say thank you for the generosity and warmth that had been extended to them on the tour.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited The Taj Mahal during the Indiia tour
Daily Mail

Since the tour was announced, the anticipation of whether William and Catherine will sit at the iconic Diana Bench in front f the Taj was mounting day by day. When Diana sat at the bench in 1992 she described the experience ‘very healing’. When pressed to explain herself, the princess replied, ‘Work it out for yourself.’ Nine months later she and Prince Charles announced their separation in November 1992.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited The Taj Mahal during the Indiia tour
The UK in India

It was reported that Duke and Duchess made the final decision in the morning that they would sit on the bench. The decision was not made because of its associations with Diana, but because it is ‘where everyone sits to admire the Taj’s beauty’.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited The Taj Mahal during the Indiia tour
The UK in India

The couple arrived in the afternoon for the visit after a private lunch at the Oberoi hotel. After posing for the photographs for exactly 25 seconds at the iconic bench, the couple received a private tour of the building.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the Taj Mahal During India Tour
The UK in India

From Daily Mail,

William looked pensive, or possibly slightly overawed, as they stood looking at the view for a minute or so as the guide talked through the history of the Taj Mahal.

Then they walked through the famous garden, before William guided Kate to the bench and they sat down.

As they left the prince told nearby photographers and workers: ‘I’m glad you have got your hats on. It is beautiful, isn’t it. It was overwhelming. ‘

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited The Taj Mahal during the Indiia tour
The UK in India

The visit to the symbol of love and devotion came just ahead of the couple’s 5th Wedding anniversary.  More from Daily Mail,

After sitting on the bench the couple were taken on a private tour inside, where they were shown the tombs of Murghal emperor Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal, the beloved wife he commissioned the Taj for in 1631 as a symbol of his eternal love.

Muslim tradition forbids elaborate decoration of graves, so the bodies are laid in a relatively plain crypt beneath the inner chamber with their faces turned right, towards Mecca.

Duchess of Cambridge wore white Naeem Khan Dress to Visit Taj Mahal during India tour in April 2016
The UK in India

As they came out William was asked: ‘What has today’s visit meant to you?’ to which he replied ‘It’s a beautiful place, stunning designs in there.’

Kate added: ‘It’s been really incredible to learn about the romance of the building and really beautiful architecture.’

Kate described the Taj Mahal as the ‘perfect’ place to come just before her fifth wedding anniversary.

Tour guide Rizwan Mohammed, 35, said he wished them a happy fifth wedding anniversary for April 29, adding: ‘They were shocked that I know about it, but you know the internet. But then she said this is the perfect thing to do before their wedding anniversary. She was quite happy about it.’

Asked if it was a ‘romantic day for them’, he said ‘absolutely’. They were fascinated ‘by the story of the king and the queen’ and the love that made him build the monument to her.

And Kate got ‘quite emotional’ when she came to know that the Queen died at the very young age of 39. ‘She said ‘she really deserves this kind of building as they were madly in love with each other.’

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited The Taj Mahal during the Indiia tour
The UK in India

The Taj Mahal is one of the symbols of India and about the iconic visit Palace said,

“Their Royal Highnesses cannot wait to see it with their own eyes. The Duke of Cambridge is, of course, aware of the huge esteem his mother, the late Princess of Wales is held in India and he appreciates the iconic status of the images that exist of The Princess at the Taj.

Duchess of Cambridge wore white Naeem Khan Dress to Visit Taj Mahal during India tour in April 2016
The UK in India

He feels incredibly lucky to visit a place where his mother’s memory is kept alive by so many who travel there.

Duchess of Cambridge wore white Naeem Khan Dress to Visit Taj Mahal during India tour in April 2016
The UK in India

24 years on from her visit to the Taj, The Duke and The Duchess are looking forward to seeing this beautiful place for themselves and creating some new memories as they say thank you to the people of India at the conclusion of this tour.”

The UK in India

The couple signed the visitor’s book before they left. Continuing from Daily Mail,

Their spokesman said they had only decided this morning that they would sit on the bench – and not because of its associations with Diana, but because it is where everyone sits to admire the Taj’s beauty.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the taj Mahal during India tour in April 2016
The UK in India

He said: ‘They decided this morning. They thought about it a little bit.

‘That is the place where people who come to this beautiful place sit to admire its symmetry. That’s why the Princess of Wales sat there, that’s why the Prince of Wales and others sat there. It’s about what other people do.

‘For the Duke and Duchess, this is about new memories.’

The UK in India

The iconic moment did not come without a bit of trouble. From Daily Mail’s report, “There was a last-minute drama when the fountains in front of the bench seemingly couldn’t be turned off, prompting a man to take off his trousers and roll up his underpants and jump into the water feature to turn the central fountain off manually. Then security tried to remove the small press pack – consisting of five UK photographers, five Indian photographers, and two reporters from the bench opposite after they had pre-positioned to capture the magical moment. American Mr Knauf, 32, had to step in and negotiate with irate armed security guards before tensions threatened to boil over. He told the Taj’s head of security and head of police: ‘This is what the Duke and Duchess want. They want the press to be here and they want the photograph to be taken.'”

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited The Taj Mahal during the Indiia tour
The UK in India

But in the end, William and Catherine’s visit to the Taj definitely made new history and changed its connection to the British Royal Family from the symbol of loneliness to moment of love. After the visit, Couple had a short stop at their hotel before flying back home.

Duchess of Cambridge wore white Naeem Khan Dress to Visit Taj Mahal during India tour in April 2016
The UK in India

For the last and the iconic engagement, The Duchess wore chose a very simple and regal look. Catherine wore Naeem Khan White Taj Mahal Dress teamed up with Bhutanese Earrings and L.K. Bennett Fern Pumps and her Ray-Ban sunglasses.

A video of the visit.

All the outfits Duchess of Cambridge wore during the India and Bhutan Royal Tour in April 2016
Credit to the Rightful Owners (collage by Kelly Mathews on Twitter)

A look at all the outfits worn by the Duchess of Cambridge during the India and Bhutan visit.

The tour was hugely exciting and rewarding with a variety of contrasting events and engagements. I remember closely watching each every step of the tour and equally enjoyed writing about the visit after 4 years. Hope you all also enjoyed the walk down the memory lane. I will leave you with this video capturing precious moments of the visit.

 


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