Celebrities flock to Indian business scions’ lavish wedding

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Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton poses with Isha Ambani (L) daughter of Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries, and his wife Nita Ambani at Swadesh Bazaar, a curated showcase of traditional Indian crafts and art forms, in Udaipur, in the desert state of Rajasthan, India, December 9, 2018. (REUTERS)
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A view of the illuminated City Palace, one of the venues for the pre-wedding celebrations of Isha Ambani, daughter of the Chairman of Reliance Industries Mukesh Ambani, is seen in Udaipur, in the desert state of Rajasthan, India, December 9, 2018. (REUTERS)
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In this Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018 file photo, singer Beyonce arrives to perform at the wedding of Isha Ambani, the daughter of India's richest mogul, and Anand Piramal, the son of one of India's biggest industrialists, at the airport in Udaipur, India. (AP)
Updated 12 December 2018
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Celebrities flock to Indian business scions’ lavish wedding

  • The extravagant wedding of Indian actress Priyanka Chopra and American singer Nick Jonas earlier this month — attended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — was straight out of a Bollywood film

NEW DELHI: In a season of big Indian weddings, the marriage of two business scions on Wednesday is set to be the biggest of them all.
Isha Ambani is the Ivy League-educated daughter of Mukesh Ambani, chairman and majority stakeholder in oil and gas giant Reliance Industries, whose net worth Forbes estimates at over $43 billion.
Her groom, Anand Piramal, is the son of Indian industrialist Ajay Piramal, whose namesake conglomerate is estimated to be worth over $10 billion.
At one of the couple’s pre-wedding events on Sunday, Beyonce performed for a star-studded gathering at a 16th-century palace in the Indian city of Udaipur. Guests included Hillary Clinton and a host of Bollywood A-listers.
The competitiveness of India’s wintertime wedding season is growing more extreme, exacerbating the pressure on regular Indians to go into debt to finance elaborate weddings, according to Archana Dalmia, a social activist in New Delhi.
“A farmer might commit suicide because he can’t save enough money to get his daughter married,” she said.
The extravagant wedding of Indian actress Priyanka Chopra and American singer Nick Jonas earlier this month — attended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — was straight out of a Bollywood film.
So-called dowry deaths — brides killed when their families fail to meet in-laws’ dowry demands — constitute a substantial share of all female homicides in India, a 2018 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report found.
While opulence has always been a feature of Indian weddings, families used to hand down bridal saris as heirlooms. No more, Dalmia said.
“This generation is very different. Priyanka Chopra will never be able to wear it again and she won’t be able to pass it down,” Dalmia said.


UK’s Prince Philip, 97, back driving — without seatbelt

In this file photo taken on December 25, 2012 Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh waves to well-wishers as he leaves following the Royal family Christmas Day church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk, in the east of England, on December 25, 2012. (AFP)
Updated 27 min 4 sec ago
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UK’s Prince Philip, 97, back driving — without seatbelt

  • The prince walked away from Thursday’s crash shaken but uninjured, according to a passer-by who helped him out of the vehicle

LONDON: Britain’s Prince Philip has been spoken to by the police for driving without a seatbelt — just two days after the 97-year-old survived a car crash.
Images published in newspapers on Sunday appeared to show Queen Elizabeth II’s husband behind the wheel of his replacement sport utility vehicle.
The Duke of Edinburgh was pictured driving the new Land Rover Freelander on his wife’s private Sandringham estate on Saturday.
The prince was involved in a car crash on Thursday near the country residence in Norfolk, eastern England, in which his Freelander flipped over. The other vehicle involved, a Kia, contained two women and a nine-month-old baby.
The crash happened as the royal patriarch pulled out of a side road onto a busy main road.
A Norfolk Constabulary spokeswoman said the force was aware of the photographs taken on Saturday and that “suitable words of advice have been given to the driver.”
She said: “This is in line with our standard response when being made aware of such images showing this type of offense.”
The prince walked away from Thursday’s crash shaken but uninjured, according to a passer-by who helped him out of the vehicle.
The passenger in the Kia suffered a broken wrist and the driver sustained cuts to the knee.
In a statement on Friday, Norfolk Constabulary said: “As is standard procedure with injury collisions, the incident will be investigated and any appropriate action taken.”