The royal mom and husband Prince William kick off their third day in India with a sweet visit to a boys' school

By Simon Perry
Updated April 12, 2016 07:35 AM
Credit: Dominic Lipinski - Pool/Getty Images

Princess Kate‘s third day in India took her from a sweet visit with a children’s charity to a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Kate and Prince William were again greeted in traditional style with red tika dots and flower garlands as they arrived at the Salaam Baalak Trust in New Delhi, a charity that rescues and supports children arriving in the city alone or living on the streets, often in the railways.

“What can we do to help?” asked Prince William. The reply from the charity’s director, Sanjay Roy: “Spread the word.”

Kate showcased her artistic ability for 12-year-old Shansad Abdul.

Having been presented with some of the boys’ drawings, Kate asked, “Did you do this? It’s beautiful, well done. Shall I do a drawing for you?”

The picture she sketched was of a house that vaguely resembled the couple’s Norfolk home, Anmer Hall.

Shansad told reporters, “She was a very good lady and very happy to sit and draw with me.”

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Of his own story, he said, “I ran away from home because my family are very poor and couldn’t look after me.” After living at a railway station, he was brought to the charity by Childline, a non-profit that helps kids in distress.

The royal couple also met the charity’s founder Praveen Nair, 85, who used money from her daughter’s Oscar-nominated film Salaam Bombay to establish it 28 years ago.

Mrs. Nair was impressed with Will and Kate’s interest. “It’s really very heartening to see well-to-do people are aware of the problems and they come and see it for themselves,” she said.

“It’s very fulfilling for me, the staff and the kids to come and see us. It’s very good for the children as it makes them feel important and goes a long way to building their self-confidence.”

The charity is a partner of Childline, which the couple had already met with in Mumbai on Sunday.

“People think of them as street kids, beggars, thieves but they are just children,” said Roy. “They deserve an education, future and a life. They have a right to a childhood.”

Outreach workers briefed the couple on how they respond to calls for urgent care and try to identify vulnerable young children as soon as they arrive in the city.

Dr. Amit Sen, who started the charity’s mental health program, explained why this support is vital to help children coping with the trauma of life on the streets adapt to life in a nurturing environment.

“Their Royal Highnesses were interested to see children’s mental health being treated as a key priority in helping children to seek physical healthcare, shelter, and eventually education,” the couple’s office said in a statement.

Later on Tuesday, Kate changed into a $1,100 lace gown by British designer Alice Temperley for lunch with the Indian leader.