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Prince William and Kate rub shoulders with Bollywood's finest at glittering gala

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Prince William and his wife the Duchess of Cambridge, née Kate Middleton, were serenaded by the most famous faces of Bollywood on Sunday evening. On the first night of their royal tour of India, the Duke and Duchess attended a glittering reception and dinner that was held in their honour in Mumbai.

All eyes were on the couple as they walked the red carpet at the Taj Palace Hotel, where they are staying.

Kate pulled out all the stops, wearing a sapphire blue Indian-inspired bespoke gown designed by one of her favourite British brands Jenny Packham. The beading of her dress was done in India.

kate middleton gala © Photo: PA

William and Kate made a stunning couple at the Bollywood gala evening

The Duchess, who wore earrings by Indian jeweller Amrapali, swept her trademark locks into an elegant chignon, while her husband William was his usual dapper self in a black tuxedo.

The royals had a chance to mix with some well-known names from Bollywood including actresses Aishwarya Rai and Parineeti Chopra, directors Aamir Khan and Rishi Kapoor, as well as figures from Mumbai's thriving business world.

See William and Kate's full itinerary

William was seated next to Bollywood's darling Aishwarya Rai 

Kate and William, who have never visited India before, looked particularly charmed by Shah Rukh Khan, who is hailed as the 'King of Bollywood' or 'King Khan' among his fans. The trio were pictured chatting and sharing a few jokes before they sat down for a thali-style supper.


When asked what his first impressions of the Duchess were, Shah said: "Is it okay to say she's extremely beautiful and elegant? Well she is! If they spend more time here I think they'll love it. I could definitely show them a good time! I'll take them out."

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The couple posing with Bollywood actresses

The actor then told the royals they should stay in India longer. "It's a very short visit and I said they should come back and spend longer here. They said they'd love to but they'd had to leave their children at home as their schedule was so jam-packed."

King of Bollywood Shah Rukh Khan offered to take the royals out in Mumbai

Prince George and Princess Charlotte were clearly at the forefront of William and Kate's minds. Actress Madhuri Dixit, who spoke to the royals, said of the Duchess: "She said she loves being here and the people are very welcoming, but she was worried she may miss her children."

Kate was seated between Shah Rukh Khan and Adar Poonawalla, the CEO of vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India, while William had Bollywood's darling Aishwarya Rai, 42, to his left and Mrs Rachnee Sarna, wife of Taj Hotels CEO Rakesh Sarna, to his right.

kate middleton gala2 © Photo: Getty Images

The Duchess wore a bespoke Jenny Packham gown

During the evening William, 33, and Kate, 34, were treated to some very colourful dance and musical performances.

The Prince also took to the stage to give a speech, in which he revealed that his wife Kate had always wanted to visit India. He said: "When Catherine and I were married, India was the first place on Catherine's list that she told me that she wanted to visit. Two children and five years later, we have finally made it – and we are both honoured to be here."

Explaining the focus of the royal tour, William added: "Catherine and I embark on a journey to get to know the vibrant India of the 21st century. An India whose traditions, culture and civilisation go back thousands of years, and yet co-exist with an India that is young, creative, entrepreneurial – an economic, cultural and political powerhouse, and an established democracy under the rule of law."

kate middleton gala1 © Photo: PA

The pair were treated to musical and dance performances

He concluded by saying: "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; no one can come without a sense of excitement about all that India has achieved in the past and the extraordinary promise it holds for the future."

The lavish gala was held to celebrate Mumbai's film and creative industries and was hosted by The British High Commission in partnership with The British Asian Trust, of which Prince Charles is founder and President.

It raised money for three charities that the Duke and Duchess had met earlier in the day – Magic Bus, Doorstep, and Childline. William and Kate met representatives from each organisation during a visit to Oval Maidan, where they also took part in a game of cricket.

Their first engagement of the day was a more solemn affair, as the couple paid tribute to victims of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks. William and Kate viewed a memorial at the hotel they are staying in, the Taj Palace Hotel, which was targeted in the attacks.

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