A grand charity event in Mumbai, India, saw the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge join the biggest of Bollywood celebrities, sports personalities, and businessmen on the first day of their India tour. Prince William and Kate Middleton are next scheduled to fly to Delhi on Monday to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They will also pay respects to the 70,000 Indian soldiers who fought for Britain during the first World War.
The royal couple paid homage to the victims of the Mumbai terror attacks of 2008 before they played cricket and attended the star-studded dinner.
Among the celebrities who joined William and Kate at the fundraising event were Shahrukh Khan, Sachin Tendulkar, and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. The proceeds from the event will be donated to three children’s charities namely the Magic Bus, ChildLine, and Doorstep.
The royal couple reportedly turned down an invitation to stay at a £9,500 (AU$17,759.67) a night TATA suite after TATA steel announced plans to withdraw its steel operations in the UK. The move has put thousands of jobs in the UK at risk, The Guardian reported.
The event will not be attended by TATA Chairman Cyrus Mistry or any member of the TATA family. The fundraiser is being held at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, which was attacked by terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba in November 2008, killing 31 people.
The pair laid a wreath in respect of the victims of the 26/11 attacks shortly after they arrived in Mumbai.
“In memory of those who lost their lives and those injured in the senseless atrocities at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. William, Catherine,” the message on the wreath read.
In a speech at the dinner, Prince William said India topped the list of places that Kate wanted to visit after they got married.
“When Catherine and I were married, India was the first place on Catherine’s list that she told me that she wanted to visit,” the Mirror.co.uk quoted him as saying. “Two children and five years later, we have finally made it – and we are both honoured to be here.”
The pair played a friendly match with Tendulkar at the Oval Maidan cricket ground, where they were also joined by children of the nearby slums.
William and Kate are also scheduled to visit Bhutan as part of the tour.