Prince William and Kate meet attack survivors, play cricket in Mumbai

British royals Prince William and his wife Kate began a week-long tour of India and Bhutan on Sunday by meeting with survivors of a terrorist attack, Kensington Palace said.

The British royal couple also took an open bus tour, played cricket in a popular public space, visited a local community at a picturesque urban water reservoir and ended the day with the city's top business people and film stars at a glittering gala. 

The day began at the iconic seafront Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, which was among several sites attacked by Islamic terrorists in November 2008. The death toll of 162 at the hotel included many guests and staff.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge observed a moment of silence at the attack's memorial after laying a wreath of white lilies in front of 32 candles symbolising those who died at the hotel. They then spoke with hotel staff, including survivors of the attack, a hotel spokesman said.

The hotel, located alongside the India Gate monument built during the British reign in India, was renovated heavily after the attack.

The couple was staying at the five-star hotel, where they also attended what was described the British High Commission as a "glittering charity reception" in the evening.

William told the gala that India was the first place his wife told him she wanted to visit after they were married.

"Two children and five years later, we have finally made it - and we are both honoured to be here," he said, according excerpts released by Kensington Palace on Twitter.

Indian business leaders and Bollywood stars including Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai and cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar were invited to the gala dinner, organizers British Asian Trust said in a release.

The royal couple also met child beneficiaries of the charities being supported at the dinner, taking an open-top bus ride with some of them and playing cricket with others at the Oval Maidan.

The couple also visited the picturesque Banganga water reservoir on Malabar Hills. They were greeted with garlands, songs and dances by the local community and scattered petals in the water, Kensington Palace said on Twitter.

The also met the local community and saw crafts made by underprivileged women as part of a project by a local non-profit to improve life in one of Mumbai's slums.

The former Kate Middleton set the tone for the visit the very first day, wearing bright outfits with oriental patterns.

For the Taj hotel ceremony, she wore a red Alexander McQueen outfit printed with large paisley motifs, a pattern common in Indian weaves and known as kalka, ambi and other names, NDTV news channel reported. 

Kate then changed into a printed tunic dress by designer Anita Dongre for her meetings with underprivileged children and an interaction with retired Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar. 

Prince William changed out of a formal blue suit into a jacket-less casual outfit for the outdoor activities.

Tendulkar later tweeted: "Royal afternoon at the Oval with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Bowled over by their humility."

Soon after reaching Mumbai, the royal couple were informed of the tragic fire at a Kerala temple where more than 100 people died.

"Their Royal Highnesses were saddened by the news and send their thoughts to all who are assisting the victims," a message from the British High Commission said.

The royal couple are scheduled to meet young entrepreneurs in Mumbai on Monday and will then fly to the Indian capital for a series of engagements.

On Wednesday, they are scheduled to fly to a national park in north-eastern India and then on to the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan.

They return to India to see the Taj Mahal in Agra on April 16, the last day of their tour.

Last update: Sun, 10/04/2016 - 23:29

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