It's their very first visit to India - and it's been a long time coming. Prince William said at a charity dinner in Mumbai last night that after he got married, his new bride said the first place she wanted to visit was India. "Five years and two children later, we have made it - and we are honoured to be here." And we assume a little overwhelmed. Right?
After all, this is the first time they have left Prince George and Princess Charlotte for this long, the itinerary is merciless, and, well, there are all those changes. Her Royal Highness, though, has more than held her own. In fact, in a couple of ways (that stylish swing with the bat didn't hurt) she's actually done a bit of a Diana, in that she, much more than her husband, is the one who's really charming the crowds. First, the simple unexpected decision to wear the relaxed, largely all-access Anita Dongre. (A nice little lesson for those of us on the fashion beat - we had spent the last week speed dialing Manish Malhotra and Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla.)
And then, of course, the big night where they had to deal with Bollywood in all its glory. An endless stream of celebs poured in to stand in line, shake hands and try for their selfies. (Only if they were in the background though, TRHs do NOT pose for selfies, you see!)
Tuxedoes, ties, towering heels-B-town (for the most part) brought it's A game. Shah Rukh Khan snappy in white. Karan Johar giggling with him in trademark black. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan kept it simple and striking in Sabyasachi. Note to Ash's stylist: she always looks her best when she keeps it simple, all the better to let that face shine. Parineeti Chopra was determined (and who could blame her) that everyone see and appreciate how much weight she's lost, and that peekaboo Manish Malhotra worked, for the most part. Madhuri Dixit, well, dressed as Madhuri Dixit always does. Shilpa Shetty was a little more shiny in Monisha Jaisingh but if you compared her to the performances that followed, she was as sedate as an afternoon snooze.
Sonam Kapoor was a bit of a surprise. The fashion maven who never gets it wrong actually kind of did. It may have sounded good on paper, pairing straight-laced Elie Saab with a maang tikka, but somehow on the carpet it was both washed out and a wash out.
Those who got it right: well, the gathered British media gave a gasp of collective appreciation when Jacqueline Fernandes entered, ravishing and regal in deep red Manish Malhotra.
As for us, we have to give the vote to Alia Bhatt: that Roman Holiday-style skirt, a nod perhaps to another Royal, was a very nice touch.