The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit India and Bhutan from April 10 at the request of the David Cameron government, Kensington Palace announced on Friday.
The visit was first announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to London in November. It will be the royal couple’s first trip to India, but the parents of the Duke – Prince Charles and the late Diana, princess of Wales – visited the country more than two decades ago.
It will be a poignant moment on April 16, when they travel to the Taj Mahal, where Diana sat alone on the bench during her and Prince Charles’ visit in February 1992. The image symbolised her marital troubles at the time and is one of her most known images. She died in 1997 in a car crash.
In India, Prince William and Kate Middleton are scheduled to visit Mumbai, New Delhi, Kaziranga in Assam and Agra. After four days, they will leave for Bhutan on April 14.
A Kensington Palace spokesman said: “The Duke and Duchess are very much looking forward to their tours of India and Bhutan. Their visit to India will be an introduction to a country that they plan to build an enduring relationship with.
“They will pay tribute to India’s proud history, but also are keen to understand the hopes and aspirations of young Indian people and the major role they will play in shaping the 21st century.”
The spokesman said the tour, coming shortly before the Queen’s 90th birthday, will allow the Duke and Duchess to “pay tribute to Her Majesty’s huge contribution to diplomacy in Britain and the Commonwealth.”
The palace said the Duke and Duchess will see a variety of aspects of contemporary Indian life, focusing on young people, sport, entrepreneurship, efforts to relieve urban poverty, the creative arts, and rural life.
The royal couple will begin their visit in the creative and business hub of Mumbai, before travelling to New Delhi. In Kaziranga National Park, they will experience the rich variety of wildlife and pay tribute to rural traditions of communities that live around the park.
In Bhutan, the palace said the couple is looking forward to meeting the King and Queen and continuing the relationship between their two families. They will also have the opportunity to learn more about the heritage and culture of the mountain kingdom and its people.
“Their visit to Bhutan will allow them to continue a relationship between two Royal Families by meeting The King and Queen. The Duke and Duchess have heard many wonderful things about the country and are grateful to have this opportunity to get to know the Bhutanese people,” the spokesman added.