Today marked the first day of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s visit to India, beginning in Mumbai. Their first stop was at their hotel, the Taj Palace, before playing cricket with locals.
At the Taj Palace Hotel, one of the scenes of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008, William and Catherine laid a wreath at the hotel’s memorial. Whilst there, they also met members of staff who helped protect guests during the attack.
Six explosions were reported at the hotel – one in the lobby, two in the elevators and three in the restaurant – and others were shot.
The card on their wreath of lillies read: ‘In memory of those who lost their lives and those injured in the senseless atrocities at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel’. It was signed by both William and Catherine.
Will and Kate also spoke with Sunil Kudiyadi, the hotel’s security manager, who called the police and security services to the scene of the attack, helping to save guests’ lives, too.
William told him: “You’re very brave, you saved a lot of lives. Well done.”
The couple had lunch at the hotel: vegetable kebabs, lentil curry and rice, ricotta cheese and okra. Taj Mahal Palace chef Raghu Deora – also shot in the leg during the attacks -said: “It is all vegetarian because I was told that was what they preferred.”
It was then to Oval Maidan, a large public park, where the couple got involved with the locals. Below you see The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge partaking in some football training, wearing wreaths of flowers. Kate even did it wearing wedges!
They then joined in a game of cricket, as per the itinerary; this mimics the game the pair had in New Zealand in 2014. Former players of the Indian cricket team coached them, including Sachin Tendulkar and Dilip Vengsarkar.
Tendulkar later tweeted that he was “bowled over by their humility”.
Representatives and beneficiaries of three charities were also at the match: Magic Bus, Doorstep, and India’s Childline, were there to meet the Duke and Duchess.
The children presented the Royal couple with handmade gifts, including colourings and paintings. They also attempted to teach the couple a bit of Hindi, the local language.
It was then to a bus, as the couple left the game of cricket. Will and Kate took an open top bus ride with children from charity Apnalya, who also work with children in Mumbai’s slums. The bus was decorated with tinsel and balloons to welcome the Royal guests, who sat chatting to locals and children.
The charity gives ‘education and support to the often-forgotten children of pavement dwellers, slum dwellers, construction site families and many other underprivileged families’.
— Rebecca English (@RE_DailyMail) April 10, 2016
Banganga Water Tank was the next stop for Will and Kate, an ancient water tank in the Malabar Hill area of Mumbai.
William and Catherine got the chance to see a local slum, and meet representatives of a charity called SMILE, which seeks to help disadvantaged people focuses on skills and opportunities.
They were welcomed with performers dressed in bright colours, before heading into the slum.
The Duke and Duchess will attend a Bollywood gala this evening; more information to come.