Slum children bemused by William and Kate's 'fairy tale' lifestyle


India's slum children have a burning question to ask the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge when they arrive in Asia on Sunday - why do you live in such a big house?

William and Kate are making their first trip to India and over the coming days will experience everything from Bollywood glamour to the country's passion for cricket - as they develop a "personal relationship" with the world's largest democracy.

Highlights of the tour will include them seeing the Taj Mahal - famously visited by Diana, Princess of Wales - where the royal couple hope to create "new memories''.

And they will pay their respects to India's founding father Mahatma Gandhi at the place where he was assassinated in New Delhi in 1948.

Security has already been tightened ahead of their arrival following a police warning of a possible terror threat, according to reports from Indian media, in Mumbai and New Delhi where they will visit.

The royal couple will sit down for informal talks with India's prime minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, but it is not known if William will raise the issue of the threat to British steel workers employed by Indian conglomerate Tata.

Youngsters from poverty-stricken homes are excited about the prospect of meeting William and Kate who start their seven-day tour of India and Bhutan in Mumbai.

Schooled by the Door Step School, which provides classes for children who work to help support their families, 25 of the pupils will be among youngsters from other charities who will attend an open-air cricket event with the Cambridges tomorrow.

One little girl - 10-year-old Saniya Puniya Chauhan - summed up the feeling of her classmates, who go to school in a slum close to Mumbai's financial district, when she marvelled at the size of the Cambridges' home after being shown pictures on the internet.

Speaking through an interpreter she said: "I'm wondering how can they live in such a big house, how big is their house and how do they call each other, and what do they call."

The youngster who lives with her parents and six siblings in a one room home which is around 8ft square added: "I'm wondering what kind of clothes they wear and how do they speak in such a big house."

The Cambridges' main home is their mansion Anmer Hall in Norfolk and they also have a London base - an apartment in Kensington Palace.

Bina Sheth Lashkari, founder of the Door Step School which caters for three to nine-year-olds, said many of the children had many questions for the royal visitors after viewing pictures of the couple on the internet.

She said: "We went online and showed them some of the pictures. When they saw them they had a large number of questions.

"They said if it was the same princess from the fairy tales. One of the girls asked if she has big hair like Rapunzel."

Her organisation runs around 70 schools in Mumbai and Pune, which provides classes that fit around the working lives of the children who earn can earn 200-300 rupees a day (£2-£3) doing menial jobs like gutting fish, or sell goods at traffic lights.

Her students will meet William and Kate at Mumbai's famous Oval Maiden public park on Sunday, where the royal couple will join youngsters playing cricket and meet representatives from three charities - school transport organisation Magic Bus, the Door Step School and India's Childline.

Indian cricket hero Sachin Tendulkar is also expected to be among the guests on the pitch.

Later in the evening William and Kate will meet Bollywood royalty when they attend a fundraising reception and dinner staged in Mumbai - the home of India's famous film industry - to celebrate the city's movie and creative industries.

Film star Shah Rukh Khan - known as King Khan by his fans - and Tendulkar will walk the welcoming red carpet as will Bollywood actor Aamir Khan, actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and other movie celebrities including Rishi Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan and Farhan Akhtar.

The event is expect to raise up to six figures for the three charities that will take part in the cricket event.

The Cambridges' seven-day trip to Asia will also see the royal couple visit the mountainous kingdom of Bhutan where they will meet the nation's glamorous King and Queen.

King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema have attracted the attention of royal watchers across the globe since their marriage in 2011, and even been compared to William and Kate.