It was a glam dinner for The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the first day of their Royal Visit to India today, and Catherine wowed in sapphire blue.
The evening’s event was thrown by the British High Commission in partnership with the British Asian Trust – Prince Charles’ charity – and the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, where the William and Kate will be staying for the Mumbai leg of their trip.
Other guests at the dinner included Bollywood Royalty: the actors Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan; the two sat next to the Duke and Duchess.
Khan, who has appeared in over 80 films, said: “This was the first time I’d met them. [The Duke] was taking about the collaboration of the British and Indian film industries. I was talking about my kids who are studying in London.
“It’s a very short visit and I said they should come back and spend longer here. They said they’d love to but they’d had to leave their children at home as their schedule was so jam-packed.”
The Duchess of Cambridge wore a sapphire gown from Jenny Packham, with beading done in India. She chose large blue earrings from Amrapali, another Indian brand.
The event is expected to raise a six-figure sum for the three charities represented at the cricket ground at today’s earlier events – Magic Bus, Doorstep, and India’s Childline. Read about Will and Kate’s game of cricket and other activities of the day here.
Guests were given something of an etiquette lesson before the dinner by the British High Commissioner Sir Dominic Asquith: they were asked to put phones away and not to take photos or videos of the night, before being asked to donate generously.
It seems missing Prince George and Princess Charlotte on the 10-day trip is something the couple are worrying about.
Actress Madhuri Dixit spoke with the Cambridges and said: “The Duchess said she loves being here and the people are very welcoming, but she was worried she may miss her children.”
On the menu for the evening was more vegetarian food – likely so the couple avoid ‘Delhi Belly’ – mushroom and pea curry, vegetable kebabs, spinach and corn curry and red lentil dahl, though meat dishes were available for the non-vegetarian guests.
After dinner, the guests were entertained by the Shiamak Davar dance company, who performed a medley of routines to music from Hindi films.
Prince William gave a speech at the dinner, a little more personal than is usual, and greeted those before him with ‘Namaste’. Catherine was presented with a large bouquet of pink flowers on stage.
“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.
“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.”