Mumbai: Duke of Cambridge Prince William today revealed that his wife Kate Middleton wanted to visit India ever since they got married.
"It has been a wonderful and colourful evening. It has been a real treat to be welcomed to India in this way... When Catherine and I got married, India was the first place in her list which she told me she wanted to visit. Two children and five years later we finally made it and we are quite honoured to be here," he said.
The 33-year-old Prince said the relationship between England and India has evolved over the years but his family's regard for the country has remained unchanged.
Prince William and Kate Middleton. Pic/AFP
"It seems fitting that we start our journey from here... A short distance from the Gateway of India where so many people including my great great grandfather had come," William said at the Bollywood gala night at the iconic Taj Palace Hotel here.
"Catherine and I embarked on a journey to get to know the vibrant India in the 21st century. We are so pleased that tonight's event will raise considerable sums for three Indian charities, working to overcome severe problems..." he said.
Heaping praise on India's culture and traditions, William said, "On a personal level, Catherine and I are full of admiration for this diverse and democratic society. No one can come here without being awed and amazed, without a sense of excitement for all that India has achieved in the past and the extraordinary promise it holds for the future."
He concluded his speech by saying, "Bahut dhanyawad (many many thanks)." "India and the United Kingdom already have an unparallel understanding and affection for each other. But to stay close to each other and remain close friends that we are, we need to keep sharing and understanding each others culture, history and art. It is this which defines us and makes us who we are," director Karan Johar said at the event.
The Royal couple is on a seven-day tour of India and Bhutan, aimed at building up strong bonds with the two countries.