Prince William, Kate Middleton have lunch with PM Modi; meet group of Indian women

PM Modi on Tuesday hosted Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, on third day of their official tour of India, for lunch.

Prince William, Kate Middleton have lunch with PM Modi; meet group of Indian women
Pic Courtesy - @narendramodi

Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday hosted Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, on third day of their official tour of India, for lunch to the accompaniment of classical music.

The PM received the British royal couple Prince William and Kate Middleton on the steps of the Hyderabad House located next to the India Gate.

While Kate wore a knee-length gauze green dress, William donned a dark suit and a tie.

Prince William and Kate Middleton have lunch with PM Modi

A four-course Indian meal, including both vegetarian and and non-vegetarian, was served at the lunch hosted at the historic mansion here which before Independence served as the grand residence of the Nizam of Hyderabad.

The event was marked by santoor recital by classical musician Rahul Sharma.

One of the highlights of the performance was the rendition of Beatles' famous number 'Let It Be'.

Among those who attended the event included External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.

Bharti Group chief Sunil Bharti Mittal, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of ICICI Chanda Kochhar, actor Anupam Kher and former badminton player Pullela Gopichand were among some of the noted personalities who also attended, as per PTI.

Later PM Modi tweeted about the meeting, saying, "Had a very good interaction with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge."

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet group of Indian women

Meanwhile, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, also met a group of Indian women, including an acid attack victim, to hear about a range of issues affecting women and girls in the country.

The meeting was convened at the personal request of Prince William, who wanted an opportunity to hear directly from women working to support other women and girls, the British High Commission said in an official statement, as per IANS.

The royal couple met acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal and heard about her inspirational campaign 'Stop Acid Attacks'.

Laxmi was attacked at the age of 15 by a 32-year-old man after she rejected his marriage proposal.

She explained her decision to stop covering her face in order to encourage other victims not to hide and also spoke of her successful fight for tougher legal restrictions on the sale of acid.

The statement said Prince William thanked her for her bravery.

Among the women the royal couple met was Sunita Jaiswal, a survivor of domestic abuse, and journalist Soumya Menon who spoke about the role of media in these issues.

The discussion noted the positive developments that social silence on these issues has now been well and truly broken and that the government of India is treating this as a priority, the statement said.

Royal couple reach Assam

On the other hand, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were today accorded a warm and traditional welcome as they arrived in Assam later on a two-day trip during which they will visit Kaziranga National Park, famed for its one-horned rhinoceros.

The royal couple arrived in Assam at around 6 PM and were given a red-carpet welcome at the airport by Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and his wife Dolly Gogoi.

The royal couple were greeted with a traditional 'muga gamosa' (muga scarf with red motifs).

Other senior state government officials were also present to welcome them.

As the Duke, in a black suit, and the Duchess, in a sea-green dress, were escorted towards the airport lounge, they were welcomed traditionally by the Assamese 'gayan-bayan' and dancers performing Bihu, jhumur and bagrumba.

They spent some time in the airport lounge where they were served Assamese snacks 'Jolpan', 'pithas', 'Larus' and 'sunga pitha' with the couple tasting 'til pitha' and 'ghila pitha', official sources said.

As the couple later drove out of the airport in a Range Rover they waved to young girls wearing traditional mekhla chador lining the road to the airport at Salonibari.

The couple's convoy left for the Diphlu River Lodge near Kaziranga National Park where they will stay the night and attend a programme on ethnic cultural traditions, including Bihu and jhumur dance, to be presented by local artistes in their honour.

The Duke and the Duchess will visit the Kaziranga National Park, famed for the one-horned rhinoceros, and enjoy a jeep safari inside the Park tomorrow morning.

The couple will also interact with forest officials to find out more about the role of conservation in the lives of rural people there and visit the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) and the centre of the NGO Elephant Family.

The royal couple are interested to see how communities manage the conflicts that arise when humans and wild animals live in close proximity and will also meet park rangers inside Kaziranga, to discuss how the park protects its animal populations from poachers as demand, in other parts of Asia, for rhino horns continues to rise, a release by the British High Commission added.   

The royal couple are on a week-long tour of Indian and Bhutan that began on Sunday.

Their India visit began in Mumbai where they paid homage to the victims of the 26/11 terror attacks.

In Delhi, they yesterday visited Gandhi Smriti, Mahatma Gandhi's memorial at Tees January Marg, and paid tribute to the Father of the Nation.

The couple also paid homage to Indian soldiers at the Amar Jawan Jyoti and attended a reception at the British High Commissioner's residence last evening to commemorate the 90th birthday of William's grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch.

(With Agency inputs)  

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