William makes Indian pancake, royal couple meet 'awestruck' fan

[NEW DELHI] Britain's Prince William tried his hand at Indian cookery Monday after he and wife Kate met perhaps their biggest fan in the country - a dream come true for the 93-year-old.

The Duke of Cambridge spoke with entrepreneurs and inventors in the financial capital Mumbai before making the Indian pancake known as a dosa, using an innovative automatic device called DosaMatic.

After watching a demonstration, William gladly poured some batter and waited for the dosa to cook before tasting a bit and declaring it "not bad", although the Duchess could not be tempted to take a bite.

"The Duke said he would love to have the machine in his palace," Eshwar Vikas, device inventor and chief executive of Mukunda Foods, told reporters afterwards.

Day two of their tour of the Indian subcontinent came after the royal couple met Boman Kohinoor, owner of Mumbai's most famous Parsi cafe, on Sunday evening.

Mr Kohinoor, 93, has a strong claim to be India's biggest fan of the British royal family - giant cardboard cutouts of William and Kate adorn his restaurant - and he told AFP on Friday he was desperate to meet them.

His dream came true after William and Kate were made aware of a social media campaign with the hashtag #WillKatMeetMe, with Kensington Palace tweeting that the couple had been "very touched" and invited him to their hotel.

He spent 10 minutes chatting to them at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel before they enjoyed a glittering charity ball with Bollywood stars.

"I was awestruck. I never expected the prince to be so charming and Princess Kate so beautiful," Mr Kohinoor told AFP at his restaurant, clutching a photograph of the three of them.

Mr Kohinoor, who gave Kate a bouquet of yellow flowers, admitted he was slightly nervous - although not too much on account of his age.

"I wished them a very rosy future and I sent my good wishes for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and I also requested them to kiss Prince George and Princess Charlotte for me," he added.

On Monday William also got behind the wheel of a racing car simulator as he and Kate chatted with entrepreneurs in Mumbai. The prince met employees of Mahindra Racing, which manufactures Formula One-style electric cars, and tested their latest invention.

William rounded off the morning's event by making a short speech to launch an awards programme for Indian startups called the Tech Rocketship Awards.

After walking onto the stage he started by bowing slightly as he put his hands together and said "Namaste (greetings) Mumbai".

"Catherine and I are very impressed by the energy and ideas we have just seen. Being here today, it is clear that India is leading the way in so many areas of innovation and technology," he said.

"Your ability to innovate is not just good news for India but it's great news for the world. With one sixth of the world's population, young innovators like you must play a major role," William added.

The 33-year-old then pressed a button to officially launch the programme, setting off exploding confetti.

"All this innovation and we get this!" William joked to laughing quests.

The couple later flew to New Delhi where they laid a wreath at India Gate to honour fallen soldiers, and visited a museum dedicated to Indian independence hero Mahatma Gandhi.

They will lunch with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday before heading to Kaziranga National Park in the country's remote northeast to see endangered rhinos.

The couple will also spend two days in Bhutan, where they will meet the Himalayan nation's king and queen and embark on a six-hour hike.

They return to India to finish their tour in Agra on Saturday by visiting the famous Taj Mahal.


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