THE Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are to visit the Taj Mahal, where Princess Diana famously signalled that her marriage to Prince Charles was over.
In 1992 the Princess posed for pictures on her own in front of the world’s most romantic building to send a message that she and her husband were drifting apart.
Almost a quarter of a century on, her son will visit the same spot with his own wife, creating a new and rather happier royal moment at the UNESCO world heritage site in India.
Kensington Palace announced that the Duke and Duchess will visit India and Bhutan for an official tour starting in Mumbai on April 10.
They will travel to New Delhi, the Kaziranga National Park and Thimphu, capital of the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan before finishing their visit at the Taj Mahal on April 16. Their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, will not accompany them on the tour.
It will be the first time either the Duke or the Duchess have visited either country.
The Taj Mahal was built in white marble between 1631 and 1648 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
The Prince and Princess of Wales’s 1992 tour to India was a disaster from the Prince of Wales’s point of view. The Princess visited Agra on her own because her husband was 1,200 miles away at a business leaders’ forum in Bangalore.
When she was asked by the media what she had thought of the Taj Mahal, the Princess said: “It was a healing experience, very healing.” Asked what she meant by that, she replied: “Work it out for yourself.”
She had effectively confirmed that her marriage was falling apart, and later in the tour she humiliated her husband by turning her head away as he tried to kiss her on the cheek, so that he ended up kissing her awkwardly on her ear.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have already shown they are not afraid of visiting places associated with the Duke’s parents, despite their reluctance to be compared with them. During a tour of Australia they posed in front of Uluru, formerly known as Ayers Rock, on the same spot as Prince Charles and Princess Diana years before them.
Kensington Palace said the royal visit would focus on young people, sport, entrepreneurship, urban poverty relief, the creative arts and rural life.
In Bhutan they will meet the the young and glamorous King and Queen of Bhutan, dubbed the William and Kate of the Himalayas.
A spokesman for Kensington Palace said: “The Duke and Duchess are very much looking forward to their tours of India and Bhutan. Their visit to India will be an introduction to a country that they plan to build an enduring relationship with.
“They will pay tribute to India’s proud history, but also are keen to understand the hopes and aspirations of young Indian people and the major role they will play in shaping the 21st century.
“Their visit to Bhutan will allow them to continue a relationship between two Royal Families by meeting the King and Queen. The Duke and Duchess have heard many wonderful things about the country and are grateful to have this opportunity to get to know the Bhutanese people.
“This tour, coming shortly before The Queen’s 90th birthday, will also allow The Duke and Duchess to pay tribute to Her Majesty’s huge contribution to diplomacy in Britain and the Commonwealth.”