-- Prince William and Kate visited the Taj Mahal today, completing one of the most anticipated stops of their week-long trip to India and Bhutan on behalf of Her Majesty's Government.
William, 33, and Kate, 34, toured the majestic landmark and posed for photos. She wore a gold and diamond necklace gifted to her from the Queen of Bhutan and a dress by Naeem Khan, an Indian-American fashion designer.
The duke and duchess' pilgrimage to the Taj Mahal evoked memories of William's late mother, Princess Diana, who visited the same spot in 1992. In what has become one of the most iconic photographs of her life, Diana sat alone at the monument of love, as the Taj Mahal is known, while the Prince of Wales attended an event elsewhere in India.
That image, etched in the public's mind, represented the collapse of the Wales' marriage. Within the year, Prince William's parents, Princess Diana and Prince Charles, announced their separation.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge created "new memories" on their trip to India and Bhutan, their first royal trip to the countries. Unlike William's parents, whose itineraries were largely separate, William and Kate are a couple very much in love who saw the two countries together.
The significance of William and Kate's visit to the Taj Mahal was acknowledged in a statement on the royals' website prior to their departure.
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," the statement read. "He feels incredibly lucky to visit a place where his mother’s memory is kept alive by so many who travel there."
The statement continued, "24 years on from her visit to the Taj, The Duke and The Duchess are looking forward to seeing this beautiful place for themselves and creating some new memories as they say thank you to the people of India at the conclusion of this tour."
After their visit to the Taj Mahal, William and Kate will fly back to the United Kingdom to be reunited with their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Prince William said he and his wife missed them.
"Massively, of course," he said. "We're looking forward to seeing them."
The royals spent the past days in Bhutan, where they completed an hours-long hike to the Tiger's Nest Monastery, met with the country's king and queen, and tried their hand at Bhutan's national sport, archery.
The couple started their tour in India, where they spent time meeting with local villagers, going on a safari, attending a gala, visiting national landmarks, and raising awareness around the plight of endangered animals.