Prince William and Princess Kate plan to visit India in April, according to a report from People. Their tour of the country will include five locations: Mumbai on April 10, then New Delhi, Kaziranga, Thimphu (which is located in Bhutan), and finally UNESCO heritage site of the Taj Mahal on April 16. During William and Kate’s visit to the mountain kingdom of Bhutan, India, they will meet with King Jigme and Queen Jetsun who have been dubbed the “William and Kate of the Himalayas.” It will be the third visit to Bhutan by royalty. Besides William and Kate, Prince Charles traveled to Bhutan in 1998 and Prince Andrew in 2010.
William and Kate’s India visit was announced by Kensington Palace on Friday, and is being made at the request of the British government according to The Mirror. They hope to gain a better understanding of Indian culture during their time there. It will be William and Kate’s first visit to India. Their tour will provide the royal couple with exposure to a many aspects of Indian life. A spokesman described what William and Kate hope to experience.
“[They] 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.”
Unlike their 2014 trip to New Zealand and Australia, William and Kate will not bring their children on this trip.
William and Kate’s visit to India continues a royal tradition that goes back to George V. Queen Elizabeth visited once in 1961 and Prince Charles has been there eight times, most recently in 2013 with wife Camilla. William and Kate will spend time at the Taj Mahal while in India. It is the location of the iconic photo of Lady Diana sitting alone in what was seen as a signal of her estrangement from Charles. William and Kate are expected to be photographed together at the location.
Royal biographer Robert Lacey commented on William and Kate’s visit to the India landmark.
“Despite a general record of success, the royal trip that we all remember is that ill-starred visit of Diana to the Taj Mahal. And here we have a happy royal couple with a message of unity and family values.”
William and Kate’s visit to India comes just before the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth. The couple’s office states that they are expected to “pay tribute to Her Majesty’s huge contribution to diplomacy in Britain and the Commonwealth.” Relationships with the country have always been important to England, and William and Kate’s India tour is seen as the prince’s understanding and appreciation of that importance.
During William and Kate’s visit to India, they will see young people and learn about contemporary life in the country. They also will be exposed to sports, the arts, efforts to relieve urban poverty, and entrepreneurship according to their office.
Thirty-three-year-old William and thirty-four-year-old Kate have also traveled to Australia, Tuvalu, New Zealand, Canada, and the Solomon Islands together. Their visit to Bhutan will be of special interest, as the country located between India and China opened its borders to tourists in the 70s, but remains fairly secretive. It has a population of 770,000. It’s expected to be an enjoyable stop on William and Kate’s tour of India as it’s been ranked the 8th happiest country in Asia, as well as the 8th happiest country in the world.
[Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images]