William and Kate arrived back in India today after spending a few days in Bhutan. There was no arrival ceremony on the tarmac at Agra. Instead, the couple went for lunch at the Oberoi hotel.
At approximately 3.40pm local time, the couple arrived at the Taj Mahal.
The Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum built in the 1600s. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of India’s most iconic attractions and regarded as one of the “Wonders of the World”.
The couple chose to visit the famous landmark to mark the last day of the Royal Tour.
In soaring 40+ degree heat, the couple toured the Taj Mahal gardens before pausing to sit on the same marble bench that Princess Diana sat on 24 years ago:
Diana visited the landmark alone in 1992 at the height of speculation over her marriage to Prince Charles. Nine months later, the couple separated.
From Kensington Palace ahead of the tour:
“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. He feels incredibly lucky to visit a place where his mother’s memory is kept alive by so many who travel there. “
According to The Mirror, a source close to William revealed that the Prince does not really remember his visit visiting the Taj Mahal, and that this visit was about creating new memories for his family. In fact, palace officials tried to play down the moment, saying the couple only wanted to pose on the bench because it was what “all tourists do when visiting the Taj Mahal.”
William and Kate only sat on the bench briefly – around 25 seconds or so.
According to reporters live at the scene, William joked with photographers and well-wishers nearby.
Kate said that visiting the Taj Mahal is “the perfect thing to do” ahead of their 5th wedding anniversary later this month. The landmark is regarded as a symbol of enduring love.
Before departing, the couple signed the visitor’s book. We have a short video below:
— Rebecca English (@RE_DailyMail) April 16, 2016
And thanks to The Times of India’s Correspondent Arvind Chauhan, we can take a look at the couple’s signatures:
— Arvind Chauhan (@arvindcTOI) April 16, 2016
Kate opted for a blue and white patterned dress by Indian-born designer Naeem Khan.
Kahn now lives in America, but according to Vogue.com, he travels a lot for both business and pleasure and it is his “globe-trotting adventures [that inform] his collections.”
The dress is from Kahn’s 2015 Resort collection, though if you look carefully, you can tell Kate did not buy the piece ‘off-the-rack.’ Her dress is slightly longer than the model’s, with an extra panel of embroidery at the bottom. This suggests Kahn made the dress bespoke for Kate:
The Telegraph have since published an interview with the designer, he explains that he didn’t know Kate would wear his dress for the iconic photograph today, but says this has been his “happiest morning”:
“My son got married last night and The Duchess of Cambridge wears Naeem Khan in India. I am in Heaven.”
Read the full article about Kate’s dress and interview with Naeem Khan here.
Eagle-eyed fans will notice Kate is wearing the dark blue earrings that she picked up from the gift shop in Bhutan yesterday:
Finally, Kate wore her Ray-Ban sunglasses. I’m not sure if they’re the regular or folding Wayfarers at this point – as soon as I know, I’ll update.