When Catherine Middleton married into the Royal Family in April 2011, the Royal Watching community got a Royal style icon after almost one and a half-decade. There are other Royal ladies out there, But Catherine is without any doubt one of the most famous Royal style icons of her generation. Picking one look out of her whole wardrobeas a favourite is a really difficult job – But if I have to pick one look then it’s going to be the day she launched her brainchild Heads Together along with her husband Prince William and brother-in-law Prince Harry in May 2016.
Heads Together is a mental health initiative spearheaded by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with Prince Harry, which combines a campaign to tackle stigma and change the conversation on mental health with fundraising for a series of innovative new mental health services. The Heads Together works in partnership with inspiring charities to change the national conversation on mental wellbeing.
Heads Together were born with a passion to build on the great work that is already taking place across the country, to ensure that people feel comfortable with their everyday mental wellbeing, feel able to support their friends and families through difficult times, and that stigma no longer prevents people getting the help they need.
The campaign was launched at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London showcased the innovative work of the Heads Together charity partners who have achieved so much in tackling stigma, raising awareness, and providing vital help for people with mental health challenges. The team covers a wide range of mental health issues that are close to The Duke and Duchess and Prince Harry’s passions.
The campaign works with eight charity partners:
Anna Freud Centre
CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably
Contact (a military mental health coalition)
Speaking at the launch, Duchess of Cambridge said,
“Too often, people feel afraid to admit that they are struggling with their mental health. This fear of judgment stops people from getting the help they need, which can destroy families and end lives. Heads Together want to help everyone feel much more confident with their everyday mental health, and to have the practical tools to support their friends and family.”
In October 2017, speaking at the World Mental Health Day, Prince William revealed that Heads Together was Catherine’s idea. He said,
When Catherine, Harry and I launched Heads Together, it is fair to say that we were ambitious about what it could achieve. It was Catherine who first realized that all three of us were working on mental health in our individual areas of focus. She had seen that at the core of adult issues like addiction and family breakdown, unresolved childhood mental health issues were often part of the problem.
That day, Catherine wore a stunning yet very functioning outfit.
It is my all-time favourite look of her. Something that I wear to work. The day was the beginning of a very passionate project and Duchess was looking every inch, Royal and Professional, in the outfit.
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.“
The 6 days long tour from April 10 to April 16covered 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.’
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Once inside the hotel, they were welcomed with the garlands made of frangipani and roses.
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.”
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
The kids presented William and Catherine with some adorable handmade gifts and tried to teach them a few words of Hindi.
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.
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.
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.
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).
William and Catherine took part in the traditional ritual of putting petals and flowers in the tank.
Next, Duke and Duchess headed towards the local slums.
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 were equally enjoying the day with children.
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.
They met representatives of a charity called SMILE that focuses on skills and opportunities for young people and their parents.
The fully packed itinerary of the day 1 ended with a star-studded gala.
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.
Upon arrival, Couple even posed for the photographers at the red carpet.
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 famous names included Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, Bollywood stars Shahrukh Khan, Rishi Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai, Madhuri Dikshit among others.
The red carpet event was full of vibrancy, dance and musical performances, and of course fashion.
Duchess of Cambridge talking to the guests.
A view of the dinner table.
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.
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.”
The day was indeed full of contrasting events and ended on a beautiful note.
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.
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.
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.
The Social – a bar, restaurant and callobartive workspace is a popular urban hangout and a hub for artists and designers in Mumbai.
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.
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’.
During the visit, the couple was shown many new initiatives and projects.
William and Catherine both tried to learn type in Braile. Guess what Duchess tried to type – George.
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.
William was definitely enjoying all the tech things during the visit.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 during the tour of the Museum watched the working of Charkha – a cotton spinning machine.
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.
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.
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.
William and Catherine cut the cake using a decorated sword.
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.”
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.
Another beautiful day with lots of meaningful engagements ended on a colourful note.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Duchess joined the kids in an arts and craft session. It looks like she was drawing Anmer Hall.
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 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.
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 couple posed with the Nation Head before heading inside.
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”.
The couple had lunch with the PM and many other dignitaries at the Hyderabad House and signed the visitor’s book.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’ stylist Natasha Archer was seen carrying bags after arrival in Assam.
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.
Kaziranga is a World Heritage Site and a wildlife conservation siteof 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.
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.
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.
A team of artists performing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
The couple was excited for the day.
And here came the royal Photographer. I am sure Catherine has wonderful pictures from the visit in her family albums.
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.
Duchess sat down with the woman working on the wool spinning machine and saw the working of the machine.
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.
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.
The couple fed baby elephants and baby rhino.
Catherine was absolutely loving her time in the area.
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.
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.
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.
We know who is the real artist here.
The Elephant Parades are designed to raise awareness and funds for charity worldwide. They have previously been staged in London, Edinburgh, and New York.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The couple travelled to the Taj Tashi Hotel in Thimpu where they were staying during the visit to Bhutan.
Such a lovely welcome! The Duke and Duchess stop to say hello to children who lined the road to Thimpu. pic.twitter.com/GOqQY6FXtq
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.
The couple walked through the Golden Throne Room, where murals depicting the life of the Buddha decorates the walls.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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 couple did not even break a sweat during the 6hour long hike.
A beautiful picture of William and Catherine shared by the Palace.
During the hike, the couple talked to the media and told them they are missing the kids.
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“.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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’.
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.
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. ‘
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.
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.’
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.
He feels incredibly lucky to visit a place where his mother’s memory is kept alive by so many who travel there.
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 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.
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 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.'”
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.
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.
When Duchess took the patronage of the 1851 Trust she said, “I am delighted to be Royal Patron of the 1851 Trust. I feel very fortunate to have enjoyed sailing from a young age and I know it is a great way of providing young people with the opportunity to develop skills and confidence. I am looking forward to being part of the journey to bring America’s Cup back to Britain”.
William and Catherine, who just celebrated the third birthday of their son Prince George, were welcomed at the Portsmouth among cheers.
Duke and Duchess visited the team base to see their state of the art testing boats and meet the team driving the advanced design and technology forward to help the team achieve their goal to bring the cup home.
The Duchess met Zak Kay who won an 1851 Trust competition to design the trophy for the winner of the event.