The Prince of Wales has received a birthday present in miniature from a group of Indian schoolchildren – bonsai fairy gardens.
Charles spent his 71st birthday in Mumbai, meeting youngsters supported in their education by a charitable foundation working in collaboration with his British Asian Trust.
The children had been stumped over what to give the future king but came up with the idea of a present featuring the stories of Hindu deity Krishna, told with tiny figures in three bonsai gardens.
Their school has been supported by the Piramal Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Piramal Group led by Indian billionaire industrialist Ajay Piramal.
His wife, Dr Swati Piramal, said: “What can you give a prince? What can the kids give him? So they thought of the bonsai gardens.”
She said one tiny garden tells the story of Krishna stealing butter, the second depicts the deity being born in a jail and his father escaping with him as a baby, and the last describes his time as a cow herder.
Dr Piramal said: “He really loved it when I showed it to him, because of course in England there’s a culture of fairy gardens, there are gnomes, but this is unique because this is Krishna’s fairy garden.”
Charles’s two-day trip to India ended with a garland of flowers being placed around his neck and he clasped his hands in the traditional Hindu Namaste greeting when a boy gave him a flower.
The children sang Happy Birthday to the prince as he cut a large chocolate cake.
He offered one young girl a piece of chocolate sponge from the end of the knife, and could not resist licking his fingers afterwards.