British royal couple miss school visit in smog-hit New Delhi

Britain's Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, visit the India Gate war memorial in New Delhi, India, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. The royal couple have begun a two-day visit to the smog-choked Indian capital aimed at strengthening ties with India ahead of a gathering of leaders from Commonwealth nations next April in London. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

NEW DELHI - Britain's Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, on Thursday cancelled a visit to a school in the smog-choked Indian capital as authorities announced a slew of new measures to combat the crippling air pollution that has engulfed the city.

New Delhi authorities closed schools to protect children from the soaring air pollution. Charles and Camilla, however, carried out the rest of their engagements Thursday, including a visit to the India Gate war memorial honouring Indian soldiers who died during World War I.

They arrived in India on Wednesday for a two-day visit. New Delhi is the last stop on the royal couple's 11-day Asian tour, with earlier visits to Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei.

The government's air quality index remained in the "severe" category for a third day.

In a speech at a British High Commission reception, Charles said his visit to New Delhi was important ahead of a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London next April.

The Commonwealth, he said, is a microcosm of what the whole world faces in terms of climate change and resource depletion.

He said the most vulnerable peoples and communities face water, energy and food insecurity.

The Commonwealth is a grouping of 53 member states, mostly former British colonies.

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