LONDON – The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are embarking on what is seen as one of their most ambitious tours to date — taking in the Taj Mahal as well as visiting the Mumbai hotel targeted by gunmen in the 2008 attacks that killed 166 people.
Prince William and his wife, the former Kate Middleton, will visit the monument of love, the Taj Mahal, during the the April 10-16 tour to India and Bhutan, Kensington Palace said Tuesday. The visit should have special resonance for William because his mother, the late Princess Diana, was photographed there alone — an image that came to underscore the breakup of her marriage with Prince Charles.
“He feels incredibly lucky to visit a place where his mother’s memory is kept alive by so many who travel there,” the Cambridges’ communications secretary, Jason Knauf, said. “Twenty-four years on from her visit to the Taj, the duke and the duchess are looking forward to seeing this beautiful place for themselves and creating some new memories as they say thank you to the people of India at the conclusion of this tour.”
The trip will also include a somber moment at the Taj Palace Hotel, one of the scenes of the Mumbai attacks. The royal couple will lay a wreath and meet members of the staff who helped protect guests during the attack.
The visit will be their first to India and Bhutan. They will not be taking their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
The royal couple will also attend a Bollywood charity event and pay their respects to Mahatma Gandhi at the place where he was assassinated in 1948.
In a nod to William’s conservation efforts, the couple will also travel to Kaziranga National Park in the state of Assam. The park is home to two-thirds of the world’s population of Indian one-horned rhinos as well as endangered swamp deer.
In Bhutan, the couple will meet the king and queen of the small landlocked country in the shadow of the Himalayan peaks. The duke and duchess will hike five to six hours in total for a visit to Paro Taktsang, the Tiger’s Nest monastery that dates to 1692.