New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, on Monday visited Gandhi Smriti here and paid tributes at the ‘Martyr’s Column’ — the spot where Mahatma Gandhi fell to an assassin’s bullets in 1948.
The British royals arrived at Gandhi Smriti on the Tees January Marg after laying a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti — the eternal flame memorial dedicated to the ‘Unknown Soldier’ — at India Gate.
Dressed in a elegant white dress, the Duchess and the Duke of Cambridge are perhaps the first royal couple to visit Gandhi’s memorial and pay tributes. Gandhi Smriti, however, could not confirm this.
The couple was accorded a traditional welcome with a stole each of handspun khadi, and were shown around the museum which houses articles related to the Father of the Nation.
Gandhi Smriti director Dipanker Shri Gyan, who gave the royal couple a guided tour of the museum, said: “They told me they were surprised by his simple living; that such a man had such a simple life.”
Mahatma Gandhi lived at the complex for 144 days before he was assassinated there on January 30, 1948.
According to a British High Commission official, the couple asked several questions about the spinning wheel that Mahatma Gandhi used and is put on display there.
They were also inquisitive about Mahatma Gandhi’s statue at the complex’s entrance, and were told it was a symbol of peace.
Inscribed on the bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi, standing with a boy and a girl besides him, is his famous quote: “My life is my message.”
The Duke and the Duchess also met around 30 schoolchildren, who sang ‘bhajans’ that gave the message of peace, as propagated by Gandhi.
The royal couple later attended an official garden party reception at the British High Commissioner’s official residence here to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday.
On Sunday, the royal couple attended a welcome charity dinner hosted by the British High Commission in Mumbai.
The high-profile dinner was attended by the Who’s Who of Bollywood, who rolled out the red carpet for the royal couple.
Prince William and Kate are scheduled to have lunch with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.