The couple stepped off their British Airways flight from London into Mumbai, the bustling entertainment and commercial heart of the vibrant country, just after 11 a.m local time on Sunday.
Upon their arrival, the couple was informed of the tragic fire in Kollam, which has reportedly killed more than 100 people. “Their Royal Highnesses are saddened by the news and send their thoughts to all who are assisting the victims,” a spokesman said in a statement.
In a day that will end with a Bollywood gala, Kate will wear three different outfits as she showcases her stylish blend of color and couture.
The fashionable mom of two arrived in a stunning red paisley-print dress by one of her favorite British designers, Alexander McQueen. She paired the colorful ensemble with nude pumps.
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After landing in Mumbai, the royal couple’s first stop was the grand Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Inside, they laid a wreath of lilies at the memorial built for the 31 staff and guests who were killed in the tragic terrorist attack in 2008.
Prince William and Princess Kate place a wreath at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel
Samir Hussein / Pool / WireImage
The royal couple included a touching message along with their tribute: “In memory of those who lost their lives and those injured in the senseless atrocities at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Willam, Catherine.”
The couple also met with Sunil Kudiyadi, the hotel’s security manager, who called the police and security services to the scene and helped save guests’ lives during the attack eight years ago. “You’re very brave, you saved a lot of lives. Well done,” William told him.
A video posted by Simon Perry (@sperrypeoplemag) on Apr 9, 2016 at 11:32pm PDT
They were then introduced to hotel chef Raghu Deora, 41, who was shot in the stomach and in the leg as he helped guests to safety. William talked to him about his experience, while Kate said, “It must have been a surreal time.”
“The Duke asked what happened to me and I explained how I was shot. He asked me how long I took to recover, and I said six months, with the last operation two years ago,” he said.
Deora also cooked the couple’s lunch – a starter of vegetable kebabs and main courses, including lentil curry with rice, ricotta cheese and okra.
“It is all vegetarian because I was told that was what they preferred,” he told reporters. (Many travelers in India avoid eating meat to minimize the risk of stomach issues.)
The couple, who were also given garlands made with frangipani and rose flowers, ate their lunch and rested for a bit in their suite, which is said to be a “normal” room and not the presidential suite, according to royal sources.
During their first day in India, the couple will take in a cricket game, visit the ancient Banganga water tank and then prepare for a glittering Bollywood bash back at their hotel.