The King and Queen's state visit to India – day 3

The King and Queen are welcomed by pupils at a school in Mumbai run by the organisation Door Step School.

The King and Queen are welcomed by pupils at a school in Mumbai run by the organisation Door Step School. Photo: The Swedish Embassy in New Delhi

On Monday 2 to Friday 6 December, The King and Queen visited India at the invitation of President Ram Nath Kovind. The aim of the state visit was to strengthen the good relations between the two countries, focusing on issues including trade, innovation, the climate and democracy.

The third day of the state visit began in the city of Mumbai. On arrival, The King and Queen were welcomed by Nand Kumar, a representative of the Government of Maharashtra, and Anna Lekvall, Sweden's Consul General in Mumbai.

The King and Queen are welcomed to the city of Mumbai.

The King and Queen are welcomed to the city of Mumbai. Photo: Mats Nilsson/The Royal Court of Sweden

Bollywood: the world's biggest film industry

Mumbai is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra, and is India's financial and commercial centre. Many large Indian companies have a presence here, together generating around 6 percent of India's total GDP.

Mumbai is also the heart of the Indian film industry, Bollywood. This is the world's biggest film industry, producing up to a thousand films every year. The history of Bollywood dates back to 1899, around ten years before Hollywood started producing films.

Cleaning Versova Beach

At Versova Beach, The King and Queen were welcomed by lawyer and environmental activist Afroz Shah, who spoke about the beach cleaning project in Versova.

The King and Queen with Afroz Shah, who started Versova Beach Clean Up – the world's largest beach cleaning project.

The King and Queen with Afroz Shah, who started Versova Beach Clean Up – the world's largest beach cleaning project. Photo: The Swedish Embassy in New Delhi

The United Nations Environment Programme has called Versova Beach Clean Upexternal link, opens in new window the world's largest beach cleaning project. The project was started by Mumbai-based lawyer and activist Afroz Shah in 2015, and received the UN's Champions of the Earth Award in 2016. The project is run entirely by volunteers, who come together each year to clean up the beach.

The King and Queen take part in beach cleaning in Versova.

The King and Queen take part in beach cleaning in Versova. Photo: The Swedish Embassy in New Delhi

Before the clean-up project began, Versova Beach was seen as one of Mumbai's dirtiest beaches. 20 million kilograms of waste have been gathered up until last year, and it is now being reported that turtles are returning to the beach. Sweden has been involved in the project by teaching local school pupils about the Keep Sweden Tidy project.

The King and Queen with volunteers working to clean the beach.

The King and Queen with volunteers working to clean the beach. Photo: The Swedish Embassy in New Delhi

Lunch with the Governor of Maharashtra

On arrival at the Governor of Maharashtra's official residence, The King and Queen were welcomed by Governor Shri Bhagat Singh Koshyari and Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis, who hosted lunch.

The King and Queen at the Governor of Maharashtra's official residence.

The King and Queen at the Governor of Maharashtra's official residence. Photo: The Swedish Embassy in New Delhi

The Governor of Maharashtra is appointed by India's central government, and Bhagat Singh Koshyari took office in September this year. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was elected in 2014, and is one of India's young leading politicians.

Maharashtra is India's leading industrial state, where more than a hundred Swedish businesses operate. Around 35,000 people are employed here by Swedish businesses, making Maharashtra the second largest Indian state in terms of jobs created by Swedish companies. Thirty-eight Swedish companies have their Indian head offices in Mumbai.

The King and Queen with Bina Seth Lashkari, founder of the Door Step School.

The King and Queen with Bina Seth Lashkari, founder of the Door Step School. Photo: The Swedish Embassy in New Delhi

Visit to the Door Step School

The King and Queen were given a traditional aarti tikka welcome, with a mark on the forehead and a garland of flowers. There then followed a presentation of the school and a guided tour of the classrooms, where The King and Queen had the opportunity to meet some of the pupils. The King and Queen also visited pupils at the School on Wheels bus, a mobile classroom for street children created by the Door Step School.

The King and Queen meet the school's pupils.

The King and Queen meet the school's pupils. Photo: The Swedish Embassy in New Delhi

The Door Step School is a voluntary organisation founded in 1988, offering education to the most vulnerable and often forgotten children of families in slum areas. The work of the organisation focuses on the problems associated with unemployment, wasted resources and stagnation within the public sector. More than 50,000 children have taken part in the initiative since it was launched, and the organisation works in both Mumbai and Pune.

Tekla

In the afternoon, The King and Queen visited a workshop and dialogue about Tekla, a project established by the Swedish Institute and KTH Royal Institute of Technology. The aim of the project is to get young girls interested in science, technology, engineering and maths. This is done through Tekla festivals, at which girls have the chance to take part in workshops on coding and technology. Tekla festivals have previously been held in Stockholm, Washington DC, New York and Brasília.

The workshop in Mumbai was arranged in association with the Indian Atal Innovation Mission.

The workshop in Mumbai was arranged in association with the Indian Atal Innovation Mission. Photo: The Swedish Embassy in New Delhi

Visit to the memorial to the victims of the 1998 Mumbai attacks

On 26-29 November 2008, terror attacks were carried out at six locations in Mumbai. One of these was the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. The attacks left 174 dead and more than 300 injured, and have had a major impact on Indian society.

The King and Queen honour the victims with a floral wreath.

The King and Queen honour the victims with a floral wreath. Photo: The Swedish Embassy in New Delhi

Photo: The Swedish Embassy in New Delhi

The General Manager of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Tajinder Singh, welcomed The King and Queen outside the monument, after which The King laid a floral wreath to honour the victims of the terror attacks. The King and Queen then signed the memorial book.

The King and Queen with hotel manager Tajinder Singh during the signing of the memorial book.

The King and Queen with hotel manager Tajinder Singh during the signing of the memorial book. Photo: The Swedish Embassy in New Delhi

Discussions on Swedish and Indian trade

In the evening, The King attended a meeting with Indians and Swedes in leading industrial positions. During the meeting, The King and the participants gained an insight into the Indian business climate and economy. Together, they discussed issues such as boosting trade and investments between the two countries.

Museum visit

In the evening, The King and Queen visited Mumbai's largest museum, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya. The museum was founded in the early 1900s in honour of Britain's King George V.

Today, the museum houses around 50,000 historic artefacts from India and other countries, divided up by art, archaeology and science. During their visit, The King and Queen were given a guided tour of historic sculptures. Later that evening, a dinner was held in the museum