The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s royal tour of Pakistan, which was described as their most ‘complex’ yet due to security risks, has been hailed as an unqualified success. Achieving their aim to strengthen Britain’s bond with the nation, the five-day visit also allowed Kate to blossom in the spotlight. Her colourful outfits showcased her flair for diplomatic dressing, surprise budget fashion choices and touching tributes to Diana, Princess of Wales, who visited the country three times. The duchess also did her bit for international relations, mixing UK brands with pieces from local Pakistani designers.
Kate and William, both 37, looked more in love than ever during the tour, sharing moments of affection and humour, suggesting that the romance in their relationship is still ‘intense’, according to body language experts.
William showed his compassion when the tour party and media experienced terrifying ‘roller coaster’ turbulence during a storm on a flight from Lahore to Islamabad. Even seasoned flyers on board were reportedly gripping armrests as the plane ‘bucked and fell’. The duke, who’s a qualified helicopter pilot, rushed to ensure the other passengers were safe before joking that he’d actually been flying the plane!
The day they flew out, William and Kate had timed their departure to allow them to drop off their two older children, Prince George, six, and Princess Charlotte, four, at their private school in Battersea, south London. Their youngest child, 18-month-old Prince Louis, was being looked after by the children’s nanny Maria Borrallo, while Kate’s parents Michael and Carole Middleton also
pitched in to help.
KATE’S HIGH STREET HEELS
For the second day of the tour, Kate looked lovely in a blue kurta by Maheen Khan for a visit to Islamabad Model College for Girls. She shunned designer footwear for a pair of £23.99 shoes from
New Look, which subsequently sold out! The sensible duchess later changed into a pair of £185 Russell & Bromley suede flats for a visit to the Margalla Hills, in the foothills of the Himalayas.
During the day, while chatting to students, William let slip that he wanted to be a brain surgeon when he was younger.
He then added: “Actually I changed a lot as I got older but I always wanted to learn to fly. I love flying, I feel very free. I like learning a skill, I enjoy that.”
He also made a touching comment about his late mother, Diana. Told by a group of girls that they were ‘big fans of hers’, he replied: “Oh that’s very sweet of you. I’m a big fan of my mother too!”
Prince William paid tribute to those
who’ve lost loved ones ‘through terror and
hatred’, and referred to the ‘unique bond’
shared by the UK and Pakistan, urging the
two nations to ‘work together’
In another conversation, he complimented Kate on her science knowledge and told pupils: “We’re trying to learn Urdu as we go. We only know a few words, but we hope to get better.”
At the Margalla Hills National Park, they heard about the conservation work. On being shown a picture of local wildlife including leopards, porcupines and a monitor lizard, William remarked: “George would love that!”
A female research associate who told the couple she was the only woman working in her department reported that Kate hinted at a Plan B career change when she replied: “That’s sad. If I could be here, I could join you!”
KATE BOWLS OVER HER HOSTS
Sporty Kate couldn’t contain her giggles as she took to the crease at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore. Wearing a white shalwar kameez by Gul Ahmed and a shawl by Maheen Khan, she changed her Gianvito Rossi pumps for a more sensible pair
of white plimsolls before trying her hand at batting and getting caught out twice in the 30°C heat. William was more successful playing the national game of Pakistan, hitting a six as Kate proudly applauded. William said he hadn’t played cricket since school, while Kate said she was a fan but particularly enjoys tennis and swimming.
The couple, who’d arrived in the capital of Punjab on the RAF Voyager, were given three cricket bats to take home for their children, even though they were all bigger than little Prince Louis himself!
While in the city, Kate and William also attended a birthday party at the SOS Children’s Village, where William entertained the children with a finger puppet and Kate impressed them with her
use of Urdu in a speech. She talked about the “vital role of mothers” and the meaning of family, saying that it’s not just about blood relations but that it’s the “quality of those relationships that matters”. William was chuffed when a little boy guessed his age to be 21, laughing: “I’ll take 21, that’s good!”
KATE’S GREEN CREDENTIALS
Joining Prime Minister Imran Khan in the capital Islamabad, Kate decided to honour Pakistan’s national colour as she stepped out in a gorgeous green Catherine Walker fit-and-flare tunic. She incorporated pieces by local Pakistani designers, choosing white trousers by Maheen Khan, a chiffon dupatta scarf by Satrangi and earrings by Zeen. Again she’d switched up her hairstyle, swapping
her usual bouncy blow dry for a half-up, half-down style for the first time on the tour.
William was delighted to have lunch with old family friend Imran. The former cricketer, who was once married to Diana’s close confidante Jemima Khan, welcomed the royal pair to his official
residence. The two men reminisced about the time Imran told 11-year-old William that he hoped to hold office one day, an ambition he achieved last year. Diana had been a guest of Imran’s in Pakistan several times over the years and he hosted her during her final visit the year of her tragic death.
“We’re trying to learn Urdu as we go.
We only know a fewwords, but we hope to
The Cambridges earlier met with the president of Pakistan Arif Alvi and his wife Samina Alvi at the Presidential Palace in Islamabad.
A WARM WELCOME
The Cambridges arrived at Nur Khan Airbase in Islamabad after their long-haul flight aboard the RAF Voyager plane. Kate’s graceful ombre outfit by Catherine Walker which faded from white to rich turquoise, was very reminiscent of one by the same designer worn by Diana, Princess of Wales on her last official visit to the nation in 1996.
Kate’s incorporated a straight-legged version of the ‘shalwar’, which are traditionally loose-fitting trousers and the ‘kameez’, or long tunic. The drapes around the neck gave the illusion of a dupatta. She complemented her look with Rupert Sanderson
heels and also a £22 clutch and £8 earrings by local brand Zeen.
The royal pair were greeted by Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, and his wife. The historic visit has been dubbed the duke and duchess’s ‘most complex’ and 1,000 police officers were deployed to protect them. They left the airport in a heavily guarded convoy bound for the High Commissioner’s official residence in Islamabad, their base during the five-day visit.
THE DUCHESS DAZZLES
William made history at a glamorous reception at Pakistan’s National Monument, by being the first royal male to wear traditional Pakistani clothing. ‘He knows how to handle it and carry it,’ said Nauman Arfeen, the man who designed his outfit.
‘I noted he had no fuss and was so comfortable wearing it.’
The duke’s sherwani nearly upstaged Kate’s gorgeous £3,640 Jenny Packham gown, which was green to represent Pakistan’s
Kate and William arrived at the event, hosted by the British High
Commissioner to Pakistan, in a colourful tuk tuk. Taking their lead from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, they opened
and closed their own doors, showing a more down-to-earth attitude than previous royal generations.
William made a speech opening with: “Assalam o Alaikum”, which translates into Arabic as “Peace be unto you”.
He paid tribute to those who’ve lost loved ones “through terror and hatred”, referred to the “unique bond” shared
by the UK and Pakistan and urged the two nations to “work together”, amid an “impending global catastrophe” caused by climate change.
RETRACING DIANA’S FOOTSTEPS
Kate echoed her late mother-in-law’s 1991 visit to the Himalayas by wearing a traditional Chitrali hat just as Diana did
all those years ago. The feathers on the hats are said to symbolise freedom.
Having arrived by helicopter, Kate was given a shawl while William, who also donned the traditional cap, was offered an embroidered white coat, expertly ‘shrobing’ in the style of the Duchess of Sussex.
The pair received a very warm welcome from hundreds of wellwishers as they visited a remote settlement in the Chitral region of the Hindu Kush mountains. They were introduced to a woman called Diana, whose grandmother had met the late
princess years ago. Much to the royal couple’s delight, she revealed that she’d called her own son William!
They learned about the culture of the 3,000-strong Kalash tribe and chatted with locals, before enjoying a dance display. The area is at great risk of flooding with the whole of Bumburet
village swept away in 2015 and they later watched villagers carrying out emergency response drills.
During a visit to view the melting Chiatibo glacier, William said that “more education, more awareness and political action” is desperately needed to tackle climate change. The geography
graduate added: “The young are starting to get engaged in it,” before joking: “Dr Warren, my geography teacher, would be well impressed that I’m back at a glacier after all these years.”
Kate added: “I’ve been very impressed by William’s geography!”
The couple were dressed informally for the trip and Kate’s low-key look included a leather utility vest.
ROYAL COUPLE KEEP FAITH WITH TRADITION
While visiting Lahore, the couple spent time at the Badshahi Mosque. The iconic religious site had previously been visited by the Prince of Wales in 2006, the Queen in 1961. Kate chose a green shalwar kameez, again by Maheen Khan, with a matching
dupatta which she wore as a headscarf. The designer has created costumes for films including Kristen Stewart’s Snow White And The Huntsman and Kate is thought to have acquired the outfit at
O’nitaa in London’s Chelsea before the tour.
“Achieving their aim tostrengthen Britain’s
bond with the nation,the five-day visit also
allowed Kate to blossomin the spotlight.”
The couple took part couple took part in an interfaith discussion and listened to Qur’anic prayer.
Their day ended with a visit to the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital. It was built by Imran Khan after his mother succumbed to the disease and was visited by Diana in 1996 and 1997.
Kate wore a toy tiara as she and her husband partook in a bedside make-believe tea party with a young patient. William also played with a toy fishing game with a little boy being treated for
Hodgkin lymphoma. They were shown around the hospital by Dr Aasim Yusuf, who had also accompanied Diana around the premises during her visits there.
REPORT BY MICHELLE GARNETT