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'My family has a long and proud connection with India'

Transcript of a speech by The Duke of Cambridge at charity reception and dinner in Mumbai, Sunday 10 April 2016.

Ladies and Gentlemen, namaste.

It has been a wonderful and colourful evening, and a real treat to be welcomed to India in this way.

Thank you to all the performers and all those behind the scenes.

And thank you also to The British Asian Trust, the charity founded by my father The Prince of Wales, for their support to the British High Commission in putting on this event.

Before I begin, Catherine and I would like to offer our condolences to all those affected by the terrible fire at the temple in Kollam. I know that all of you in this room will join us in those sentiments.

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.

My family has a long and proud connection with India, and although our relationship has evolved, my family’s high regard for India – the largest country in the Commonwealth – remains unchanged.

It seems fitting that Catherine and I start our journey from here, a short distance from the place marked by the famous Gateway of India, where so many people, including my great-great-grandfather, have arrived.

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.

Our first day in India has introduced us to those contrasts:

the ancient Banganga water tank, sitting in the middle of a modern, bustling city full of ambitious people;

And tonight’s stunning event, full of the vibrancy of the world-class creative and commercial industries in Mumbai;

and earlier today, playing cricket with young boys and girls, enthusiastic and hopeful about their futures, perhaps one day to make it to the World Twenty-20 final – following in England’s footsteps perhaps?

And yet India is also a country of challenges. Catherine and I are therefore so pleased that tonight’s event will raise considerable sums for Childline India, Magic Bus and Doorstep, three Indian charities working to overcome severe problems that many young people face to fulfil their potential – problems which I know you recognise and are determined to fix.

Tomorrow, Catherine and I are meeting some of India’s best young entrepreneurs before going onto Delhi, Assam and Agra. This will give us the opportunity to witness at first hand the partnership between our two nations.

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.

Thank you once again for your very warm welcome tonight.

Bahoth Dhanyavaad.

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