We now know more about the Duke and Duchess’s upcoming tour of India and Bhutan in April. Kensington Palace announced some of the plans today via social media, including Instagram.
This is a shorter tour, scheduled for just about a week, starting April 10. More from the news release:
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.
On the 10th and 11th William and Kate will be in and around Mumbai (previously known as Bombay), India’s creative and business hub.
The trip is being undertaken at the request of HM’s government and it is a significant undertaking. Last fall Prime Minister Narenda Modi made a pivotal trip to London, where he addressed Parliament.
More from the BBC:
Current negotiations between the UK and India are a “huge moment for our two great nations”, India’s PM Narendra Modi has said on his visit to Britain.
In a speech to Parliament, he said the two countries needed to create “one of the leading global partnerships”.
Below you see both Prime Ministers at Chequers, the country home for the Prime Minister, similar to Camp David in the US.
While in London the two Prime Ministers were expected to “sign deals between Indian and UK firms worth more than £9bn,” according to the BBC. Back to that BBC story:
Mr Modi, whose three-day visit is the first by an Indian prime minister in a decade, said India’s relationship with the UK was of “immense importance”.
His speech marked the first time a serving Indian prime minister had spoken in the UK’s Parliament.
Obviously it is hoped this tour will strengthen existing ties and build new ones. Some may recall that it was during the Prime Minister’s November visit that news of the April tour was announced. (FYI, the date on the letterhead should have read November 13, when the announcement was made, not january.)
We don’t yet know if there is a state dinner in the works, like the Malaysia state dinner during the Jubilee Tour of 2012.
Returning to travel details, on the 11th Kate and William leave Mumbai and travel north to India’s capital, New Delhi. Below, the iconic India Gate, a war memorial inaugurated in 1931.
Officials haven’t revealed if there will be a visit to Parliament House, where the country’s two Houses of Parliament and President conduct business. Nor do we know about any possible engagements at the 340-room Presidential residence.
April is warm in New Delhi with average high temps just under 100℉, about 38℃. That will make for some challenging choices in terms of wardrobe and hair styles.
Following their days in the nation’s Capital the Duke and Duchess travel to the state of Assam in northeastern India. They will visit Kaziranga National Park, home to the magnificent Indian Rhinoceros. Also known as the One Horned Rhinoceros, the animal is on the vulnerable species list; about two-thirds of the world’s total population is located at the Park.
Below, the sign proclaiming the Park as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It will also be warm for this portion of the tour, with April temperatures in Assam averaging just under 100℉, or 38℃.
The news release says Kate and William will “experience the rich variety of wildlife and also pay tribute to the rural traditions of the communities who live around the park.” There are a number of lodges located within the National Park where the couple could well stay.
This may well be the highlight of the trip for William and Kate. On the 14th the entourage travels just west of the Park, to Thimpu, Bhutan’s capital. They will meet Their Majesties The King and Queen of Bhutan; while not specifically stated in the Palace news release I imagine the King and Queen would like to introduce the Duke and Duchess to their newborn son.
The weather in Bhutan varies greatly depending on location, but it will be cooler than in India. In the capital of Thimpu April’s average high is 20℃, or 68℉, with the lows running about 7℃, that’s roughly 45℉.
Conservation is sure to be a topic. More from the World Wildlife Federation:
As mandated in its constitution, Bhutan preserves (at all times) 60 percent of its land under forest cover. Bhutan has succeeded in doing so. This country is home to the highest percentage – more than 51 percent – of protected land in Asia. Most of it is intact forests interwoven with free-flowing rivers.
More from the WWF:
Evidence of this commitment to conservation is everywhere in Bhutan. Native wildlife—including endangered royal Bengal tigers, elusive snow leopards, elegant black cranes and elephants—all roam free in the country’s 5 million acre network of protected areas. The people of this Buddhist kingdom can hold on to a fundamental birthright: living out life in a healthy environment. And one of the country’s top industries—ecotourism—is thriving and growing.
It’s possible one of the activities on the schedule will involve the Royal Society for the Protection of Nature; Queen Jetsun Pema is royal patron for the Society. Below, black-necked cranes, a protected species in Bhutan.
April 16th the Duke and Duchess return to India with their final stop in Agra, where the Taj Mahal is located. From the Palace news release:
The Duke and Duchess will conclude their tour back in India at the UNESCO World Heritage site the Taj Mahal on 16th April, allowing them the chance to thank the people of India for their hospitality by visiting their most iconic landmark.
Of course, this is the site of that famous photograph showing the Princess of Wales seated alone on a bench in front of the majestic structure. From The Daily Mail:
Their trip comes 24 years after William’s mother was photographed sitting alone on a bench outside the Taj Mahal while visiting the world heritage site with the Prince of Wales in 1992.
They separated just months later and the picture became a lasting image of her loneliness.
Below, a tool that may be helfpul for some as we get closer to the actual tour, a goofy little calendar I made for myself so i can keep dates and plans straight.
Also today, some delightful details from Prince William on just how George and Charlotte are doing, via Simon Perry’s People magazine story.
“No broken bones yet, but they’re trying. Running around, pushing things, jumping. Please tell me it gets easier,” he said when asked about his lively children, 2-year-old Prince George and 9-month-old Princess Charlotte.
“Charlotte is very easy, very sweet, but all the fathers say, ‘Just you wait, when you get to 9, 10, 11, they go crazy,’ ” he said, adding, “I’m looking forward to it, there will be some drama.”
The Prince spoke about the young Prince and Princess while at a rugby game this evening.
- the official news release may be seen here
- The Daily Mirror’s story is here, The Express article is here, The Daily Mail story is here, The Evening Standard’s article is here, and The Telegraph piece about the tour is here
- Learn more about Kaziranga National Park here, as well as at the UNESCO World Heritage site here