Royal fan urges Harry, Meghan to have India honeymoon, many kids

PHOTO: Reuters

MUMBAI - Mumbai cafe owner Boman Kohinoor, arguably India's biggest fan of the British royal family, wants Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to honeymoon in India and have lots of children.

The 95-year-old, who met Harry's older brother William and wife Catherine when the royal couple visited India's commercial capital last year, said he was delighted to hear news of the engagement.

"I wish them a very long and happy married life. And may all their troubles be little ones," the sprightly nonagenarian told AFP at Mumbai's famous Britannia & Company restaurant where his love of British royalty is plain to see.

On one wall hangs a large framed photograph of Queen Elizabeth II, next to a portrait of Indian independence hero Mahatma Gandhi.

Attached to a banister on the second floor of the cafe, which dishes up lip-smacking Parsi and Irani cuisine, is a giant cardboard cut-out of a grinning William and Kate, their arms linked.

Kohinoor spent around 10 minutes with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace hotel in April 2016 after they became aware of a social media campaign encouraging them to meet him.

Kohinoor, clutching a photo of the three of them from that meeting, said he now hoped to meet Harry, 33, and American actress Markle, 36, after they get married at Windsor Castle next spring.

"I hope they will visit me or I will invite them to visit me. My invitation is open for all of the royal family," he explained, adding that he would serve them Britannia's famous berry pulao, a popular Parsi dish.

Britain's Prince Harry to marry Meghan Markle

  • Britain's Prince Harry is to marry his US actress girlfriend Meghan Markle early next year it was announced Monday, with the Queen leading a chorus of approval and best wishes for the couple who got engaged in secret earlier this month.
  • "His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle. The wedding will take place in Spring 2018," Clarence House, Prince Charles's office, said a statement.
  • The couple's engagement was sealed in London and the prince then informed his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, close members of the royal family and had also sought the blessing of Markle's parents.
  • "The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh are delighted for the couple and wish them every happiness," said a message on the monarch's official Twitter page.
  • The couple will live at Nottingham Cottage in London's Kensington Palace, where his brother William and his pregnant wife Kate live with their two children.
  • Harry's 36-year-old bride-to-be is best known for her role as a lawyer in the hit television show "Suits".
  • Reports that Markle, who is expected to become a duchess, was moving her two dogs -- Guy and Bogart -- to London further fuelled rumours of the first royal wedding since William and Kate in 2011.
  • The actress's parents Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland said in a statement they were "incredibly happy" and wished the couple "a lifetime of happiness."
  • "Our daughter has always been a kind and loving person," they said. "To see her union with Harry, who shares the same qualities, is a source of great joy for us as parents."
  • Prince Harry revealed Monday that he proposed to US actress Meghan Markle over roast chicken, and said she would be "unbelievably good" at her new royal role despite its pressures.
  • The couple said they were enjoying "a cosy night" at home in his cottage in the grounds of Kensington Palace earlier this month - "trying to roast a chicken" - when he got down on one knee.
  • "She didn't even let me finish, she said, 'can I say yes? can I say yes?' and then there were hugs," Harry said in the couple's first interview since the announcement of their engagement earlier Monday.
  • They revealed they knew little about each other when they were set up on a "blind date" by a mutual friend.
  • Harry said he had never heard of Markle, while the actress added she was largely ignorant about the British royal family and just asked of their friend, "is he nice?" The date went so well they immediately met up again before going camping together for five days in Botswana just a few weeks later.
  • "Then we were really by ourselves, which was crucial to me to make sure we had a chance to get to know each other," Prince Harry said.
  • They spent the first few months after that staying in, cooking dinner and watching television to avoid any public attention.
  • Bookmakers have already started taking wedding related bets, with Westminster Abbey a firm favourite to host the event and fashion label Alexander McQueen favourite to design the dress.

Mumbai's Parsi settlers were Zoroastrians from Persia. In Britannia, which was opened by Kohinoor's father in 1923, the Union Jack hangs alongside the Indian tricolour and the flag of Iran.

Kohinoor, who has written regular letters to Queen Elizabeth over the years and would like the return of British colonial rule in India, encouraged Harry and Meghan to spend their honeymoon there.

"There are many places they can visit. We have got one of the wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal," he said, adding he was "very excited" about the prospect of watching the wedding on television.

Kohinoor, who makes no attempt to hide his dislike of Harry's father and heir to the throne Prince Charles, said he was not overly familiar with Markle's work but was aware she is American and divorced.

He said he was convinced she would "make a good wife".

"Mrs Simpson was American and she was also a divorcee but it doesn't matter. What matters is that they should be happy together," he said, referring to Wallis Simpson who married King Edward VIII after he abdicated in 1936.

Kohinoor, who has a granddaughter named after Harry's mother Princess Diana, advised the prince and Markle to have several children. "It will be cheaper by the dozen!" he laughed.

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