Cricket, Bollywood, Politics and Family – these four passions that resonate across India will frame the maiden visit of Britain’s royal couple Prince William and Kate Middleton, kindling the start of their long friendship with this incredibly diverse country.
Cricket, Bollywood and Business will dominate the day 1 of the week-long trip pf the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to India in Mumbai. Glamour, celebrity and cricket will cohere in the glittering charity reception onApril 10, which is expected to see 200 of India’s top film, sport and business personalities in attendance. The royal couple will watch and take part in a cricket match at the Oval Maidan in Mumbai between beneficiaries and representatives of three charities based in Mumbai – Magic Bus, Doorstep, and India’s Childline. Moving beyond stardust, the reception will raise money for these three charities doing work with vulnerable children.
Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and Bollywood actors, including Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Shilpa Shetty, are among big-ticket celebrities invited to the reception, which will be hosted by the British High Commission in partnership with the British Asian Trust, of which The Prince of Wales is founder and president.
“The Duke and Duchess are most excited about their first visit to India, and we hope this visit will mark the start of a long friendship between them and this magnificent and diverse country,” said British High Commissioner to India Dominic Asquith. “They are embarking on a packed, varied and exciting programme where they will gain an understanding of modern India – a vibrant, entrepreneurial, aspirational nation that faces both its challenges and huge opportunities with confidence,” said the envoy.
The royal couple is also expected to visit the Taj Palace hotel, which was one of targets of terror attacks that killed 166 people in Mumbai in 2008. Fittingly, the Duke and Duchess will wind up their tour of India with a visit to the iconic Taj Mahal, which has a special emotive resonance for Prince William. “The Duke of Cambridge is, of course, aware of the huge esteem his mother the late Princess of Wales is held in 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,” a spokesperson for Prince William said. Prince William, second-in-line to the throne after his father Prince Charles, will only be the second British royal couple to visit the iconic monument since independence.
The visit of the royal couple was announced during India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK late in November last year. Mr Modi’s maiden visit to Britain culminated in an ambitious and overarching vision of the India-UK relationship in the 21st century. The talks resulted in substantive outcomes that included a bigger role for Britain in India’s plans of national renewal, including Make in India and Smart Cities, reinvigoration of economic ties, enhanced defence and security partnership, a separate joint statement on energy and climate change and a separate statement of intent on partnering in third countries.
- Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.
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