Prince William, 33, will make a pilgrimage to the Indian landmark with the Duchess of Cambridge, 34, during their tour of the country, which begins next month. And an aide said they will not be dwelling on the past.
‘The Duke of Cambridge is of course aware of the huge esteem his mother, the late Princess of Wales is held in India and he appreciates the iconic status of the images that exist of The Princess at the Taj,’ their itinerary states
The photograph of Princess Diana sitting alone at the Taj Mahal became an enduring image of the collapse of her marriage. Now her son plans to visit the site with his own wife – so they can create ‘new memories’. Truly a remarkable even for the Prince to visit the same place where the memories of his late mother is kept so alive, even after 24 year.
The visit by William and Kate will be one of the highlights of their six-day tour, which begins on April 10.
They will take in numerous locations over the course of the week, in what a spokesman described as their ‘most ambitious and colourful tour’ to date.
Among the stops will be the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai, one of the scenes of the 2008 terror attacks in which 164 people died.
The hotel has become a symbol of the city’s resilience, and the Duke and Duchess will meet members of staff who helped protect guests, in a show of ‘solidarity’.
From 10 to 16 April the couple will spend a six day tour, at the Kaziranga national park where they will visit an elephant sanctuary set up by Mark Shand, the late brother of the Duchess of Cornwall.
They will watch children play cricket and undertake a gruelling six hour hike to the Tiger’s Nest monastery in the remote Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. The release of their schedule also confirms rumours that they will visit the poverty-stricken streets of Mumbai – made famous by Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire.
The royals will meet and play with children who live in slums around the city and will see people who are living in tough circumstances in a small slum during a visit to the Malabar Hill area of Mumbai.
The visit will take place on their first day in India, after flying overnight from the UK on a scheduled flight on Saturday 9 March and arriving in Mumbai the next morning.
Their first stop will be a welcome ceremony at the Oval Maidan cricket ground.
There, they will watch a children’s cricket match and meet and play with slum children who are supported by local charities.
Afterwards, they will visit the ancient Banganga Water Tank in the upmarket Malabar Hill area. The visit is designed to give the royals a sense of the complexity of the city as they will also see people living in poverty in as small slum.
Later that evening they will be introduced to Bollywood stars as well as figures from the business world at a dinner to celebrate Mumbai’s film and creative industries.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will rub shoulders with Bollywood stars at a glittering reception and dinner being held in their honour in Mumbai on their upcoming visit to India and Bhutan.
Hosted by The British High Commission in partnership with The British Asian Trust, the fundraiser will feature dance and musical performances.
Next morning, after meeting aspiring young entrepreneurs they will fly to the capital New Delhi where they will first lay a wreath the war memorial India Gate built in honour of victims of the Third Anglo-Afghan War, and the Indo Pakistan War of 1971.
From there they will travel to the Gandhi Smriti museum at Old Birla House, where Mahatma Gandhi spent the last few years of his life.
After a tour of the house they will follow in the footsteps of India’s founding father, walking from the bedroom to the memorial marking the spot in the garden where he was assassinated in 1948.
In the evening the royals, whose children Prince George and Princess Charlotte will not accompany them during the tour, will attend a garden party celebrating the Queen’s 90th birthday.
The Duke of Cambridge will give a speech as a special tribute to his grandmother during the event.
The next morning’s engagements are yet to be announced but will involve seeing close-up work with the city’s vulnerable young people and a meeting with a senior government leader. Details will be advised.
Next stop for the the couple is Kaziranga National Park in the state of Assam, which is home to elephants, water buffalo, a number of bird species, the endangered swamp deer, and a high density of tigers, and two-thirds of the world’s population of Indian one-horned rhinoceroses.
They will gather around the campfire for traditional dancing and musical performances to celebrate the Assamese New Year.
On the morning of Thursday 14 April, the royal couple with fly to Bhutan, arriving at Paro airport from where they will travel to the capital city Thimphu.
In the afternoon, they will experience a traditional Chipdrel welcome procession at the Thimphu Dzong, followed by a private audience with The King and Queen of Bhutan. The King and Queen of Bhutan have been dubbed the ‘William and Kate of the Himalayas’ and recently welcomed their first child – a baby boy – so the couples will no doubt have a lot in common.
King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and his wife Queen Jestun Pema will accompany the Duke and Duchess to a temple where they will receive a blessing and light butter lamps.
After their time with the Bhutan royals they will observe an open air display of archery – the national sport of Bhutan – in Thimphu and meet young people from local schools.
Next day, a hike of up to six hours awaits as the royals visit the Paro Taktsang Tiger’s Nest monastery which dates to 1692.
Nearby is the cave where Guru Padmasambhava – who is credited with introducing Buddhism to Bhutan – is said to have meditated for three years, three months, three weeks, and three days in the 8th century.
Back in Thimphu that evening, The Duke and Duchess will attend a reception for British nationals in Bhutan and Bhutanese people with strong links to the UK.
The final leg of their visit involves returning to India where they will visit the Taj Mahal in Agra.
An aide said: ‘The Taj Mahal is one of the symbols of India and their Royal Highnesses cannot wait to see it with their own eyes.’
They will take an 11-strong entourage on their trip, which is standard for a Royal tour. This is made up of two private secretaries, a four-strong press team, one PA, a tour secretary, a logistics organiser, a hairdresser and their foreign affairs adviser – plus a team of Scotland Yard bodyguards.