The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge paid respect to Indian independence leader Mohandas K. Gandhi on Monday and met with young entrepreneurs in India’s financial capital of Mumbai to speak with the country’s next generation of business leaders.
It was the second day of their weeklong visit to India, the first royal your in two years. Prince William and his wife, the former Kate Middleton, spent nearly an hour on Monday with the entrepreneurs and the venture capitalists likely to fund some of their enterprise ideas.
Kate, dressed in a cream wool crepe outfit, smiled and waved at crowds of onlookers who had gathered outside the Mumbai cafe where the meeting was held.
Later Monday, the royal couple flew to New Delhi, where they laid a wreath at a memorial to honour Indian soldiers who had died in World War I.
Soon after that, they paid respect to Gandhi, bowing their heads as they stood in front of a memorial for the independence leader.
They then toured a museum near the spot where Gandhi was assassinated in 1948.
In the evening, the couple was to attend a garden party to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday, which is April 21. William was expected to speak to the large gathering of prominent Indians at the reception about his grandmother, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch.
On Sunday, the royals paid their respects at one of the sites of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks.
They began their first engagement in India by laying a wreath at a memorial at Mumbai’s iconic Taj Mahal Palace hotel, where 31 people were killed in the 2008 attacks. A total of 166 people were killed when 10 gunmen targeted multiple locations in the city.
Crowds of onlookers gathered to catch a glimpse of the couple as they got out of their car and entered the hotel, where employees welcomed them with garlands of roses.
In the visitor’s book at the hotel, the couple wrote: “In memory of those who lost their lives and those injured in the senseless atrocities at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.”
Later Sunday, the royal couple played a round of cricket at a local cricket academy. Kate, in a printed tunic dress, smiled and waved at people who had gathered at Mumbai’s well-known Oval cricket grounds, while William, in shirt-sleeves and dark glasses, took the first turn with the bat as Indian cricket great Sachin Tendulkar bowled a single slow delivery.
Kate, too, faced a couple of slow deliveries at the exhibition match, which gave her and her husband a chance to mingle with cricket enthusiasts.
It was a busy afternoon for William and Kate. They met children and volunteers from three Mumbai nongovernmental organizations that work with the poor and took a tour of Mumbai in an open-top bus with slum children.
The royal couple capped their first day in India at a charity ball at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel attended by Bollywood stars including Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Also attending were Tendulkar and other Indian sports stars, as well as business leaders.
William and Kate are travelling without their two children — 2 1/2-year-old Prince George and 11-month-old Princess Charlotte. They had taken George to Australia with them in 2014 on their last royal tour.
During their trip, the royal couple will sit down for lunch with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. In a nod to William’s conservation efforts, they’ll visit Assam state’s Kaziranga National Park, home to two-thirds of the world’s Indian one-horned rhinos.
They’ll also take a one-day trip to neighbouring Bhutan at the invitation of the Himalayan kingdom’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema.
William and Kate will then head back to India, where they’ll wind up their tour with a visit to the Taj Mahal, retracing the steps of a 1992 visit to the monument of love by William’s mother, the late Princess Diana.
With files from Global News