ISLAMABAD – The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Catherine, began the first day of their Pakistan tour with a visit to a school and spending time with children on activities related to environment protection.
The royal couple also met Prime Minister Imran Khan, an old friend of William’s late mother Princess Diana, and other officials.
In the Islamabad Model College for Girls, the royals sat on tiny benches of the school as they talked and joked with the schoolgirls.
One of the girls told William that she was a “big fan” of his mother Diana. The prince responded by saying with a smile that he was also a big fan of his mother, local media reported.
Later, the Duke and Duchess headed to the Margalla hills, located in the foothills of the Himalayas, and joined children from four schools in activities designed to educate them about the importance of saving the environment.
William and Kate met Pakistani President Arif Alvi afterward before lunching with Prime Minister Khan.
The cricketer-turned-politician is an old family friend of the prince, with the two having played cricket together when William was young.
Khan was a friend of Diana, who made her second visit to the country in 1996 to participate in collecting funds for a cancer hospital established by the former sports star.
“Imran Khan commended the visiting dignitaries for raising awareness of the issues being faced by the modern world like climate change, inequality, and education. The prime minister also lauded the royal couple for promoting positive activities in Pakistan and their interaction with young Pakistanis,” a statement from the prime minister’s office said.
Khan, according to the statement, apprised them of his domestic priorities and Pakistan’s perspective on the external environment, including relations with India post Aug. 5 and support for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.
Kate appeared to win the hearts of many Pakistanis on Monday by opting to wear a blue salwar kameez, the most popular dress in the country, reminding people of similar attire worn by Diana during her visits to the country.
Maheen Khan, the designer of Kate’s dress, tweeted that it was “an honor to have been asked to create this outfit for the duchess.”
The royal couple arrived in Pakistan on Monday and are set to travel more than 1,000 kilometers across the country, with stops in the capital, the eastern city of Lahore and the mountainous northern region to experience “Pakistan’s rich culture, its diverse communities, and beautiful landscapes,” as per an official statement.
The detailed itinerary of the Duke and Duchess has not been made public due to security concerns, which have been in focus ahead of the visit.
“This is the most complex tour undertaken by The Duke and Duchess to date, given the logistical and security considerations,” the Kensington Palace said.
This is the first Pakistan visit by British royals since 2006 when the Prince of Wales Charles and his wife Camila visited the country.