THE DUKE and Duchess of Cambridge made a trip to the Banganga slums in Mumbai as they embark on their seven-day tour of India, The Sun reports. Prince William and Kate Middleton spent time speaking with people living in the slums who said they had never before been visited by celebrities or politicians.
The royal couple then enjoyed a game of football with the children there – much to the delight of coach Ashok. He said: “We never thought that Prince William and Princess Kate would visit a slum and talk to the children. For us this is a big thing. It’s like a dream come true.” The Duke and Duchess met with volunteers from charity SMILE, which focuses on giving skills and opportunities to young people and their parents.
Wills challenged Bollywood dancer Siddesh Tirloskar, who grew up in the slums and went to Dance Academy with the help of SMILE, to a hip hop dance. He said: “Let’s see some of your breakdancing moves,” but chose not to join him after being egged on by wife Kate. The couple then travelled to the Banganga Water Tank in Mumbai where they saw children dancing and playing lezim steel drums in honour of their arrival.
They were also presented with white, orange and pink garlands and a tika traditional welcome spot on their foreheads. It followed a busy morning for the sporty Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who played a game of cricket with children in Mumbai earier in the day. WillKat – as they have been nicknamed by the Indian media – were welcomed with garlands placed around their necks as they arrived at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel this morning for their first royal tour as a couple for almost two years.
The royal couple later headed to Mumbai’s Oval Maidan, a Grade 1 recreation ground in the south of the city, to play cricket with some of the city’s many thousands of street children. Far from stumped by her towering wedges, Kate threw herself into the match with the budding cricketers before taking an open top bus ride with children from charity Apnalya.
As part of the fun, Kate was caught out by the bowling of cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar – India’s former captain. He later said of the Duchess: “She batted, she fielded, she did everything.” She also wowed India with her paisley print outfit by Alexander McQueen that embraced both Britain and Asia.
Indian fashion writer Manish Mishra said: “Kate’s vibrant Alexander McQueen outfit with an ornate print and a peplum detailing was polished and beautifully suited for an Indian outing. “She completed her look with a pair of neutral high heels and a clutch in the same tone, offsetting the pop vibe of her ensemble.” He added: “Since India is all about colour and Indian aesthetic is steeped in rich luscious prints, the outfit was the perfect pick.
“I’d love to see her in an Indian sari, or a salwar kameez. “Since she’s favoured beaded Temperley London dresses in the past, it’ll be amazing to see her in a Monisha Jaising sari gown or a kurti dress.” The Duchess paired her ensemble with a £165 beige clutch by Russell & Bromley and nude heels by Gianvito Rossi, which cost £445, and her hair was styled in her classic blow dry with gold statement earrings by Temple of Heaven worth £1,495.
Earlier in the day, the royal couple laid a wreath at a memorial for the Mumbai terror attack victims at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel – where 31 staff and guests were killed in the 2008 assault. During their first official engagement of the trip, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge heard first-hand about the horrors of the Mumbai terror attacks,
They placed a floral tribute of white lilies between 32 burning candles, with the message: “In memory of those who lost their lives and those injured in the senseless atrocities at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. William, Catherine.” The royal couple are staying at the Taj as a show of support for the city – eight years on from the terrifying attacks
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. 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.”
Mr Deora also cooked the couple’s lunch, which included a starter of vegetable kebabs and main courses including lentil curry with rice, ricotta cheese and okra. He said: “It is all vegetarian because I was told that was what they preferred.” The couple were also introduced to Sunil Kudiyadi, the hotel’s security manager, who called police and the security services to the scene and helped save guests’ lives.
The Duke told him: “You’re very brave, you saved a lot of lives. Well done.” The couple are just the latest royal guests at the hotel: King George V and Queen Mary stayed in 1905 and 1911 – the hotel’s famous gateway was built specially for their visit – and the Prince of Wales stayed at the hotel in 2013.
In November, US President Barack Obama became the first foreign head of state to stay at the Taj after the attacks, and he described the hotel as “the symbol of the strength and the resilience of the Indian people”. William and Kate’s arrival in India came as news broke that at least 100 people had been killed in an explosion and fire sparked by fireworks in the southern state of Kerala.
A Kensington Palace spokesman said: “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 who are assisting the victims.”