Prince William and his wife Kate met Pakistani leaders, had a ride in three-wheeler rickshaw, and spent an evening with celebrities to cap off day one of their royal visit.
William wore a traditional sherwani, a long black overcoat with loose local trousers, and Kate wore a long gown to the event.
Politicians, military and civilian government officials, sports and show business stars gathered at the Pakistan Monument – a site atop a hill in Islamabad for cultural activities – to meet the royal couple.
The trip, which focuses on climate change and access to education, has been described by palace officials as the most complex the couple have undertaken due to security issues.
The royal couple touched down at the Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) Nur Khan Airbase in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad, on Monday evening, where they were received by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, British High Commissioner to Pakistan Thomas Drew, officials from the Foreign Office, and top government officials.
Earlier yesterday the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met Pakistan’s president and prime minister to begin their visit after arriving in the country overnight for their first ever trip.
Prime Minister Imran Khan received the royals at the outer gate of his secretariat building in Islamabad, spokesman Nadeem Afzal said.
The red carpet was rolled out in the corridors of the secretariat to welcome the royal couple, television footage showed.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were greeted with handshakes by a smiling Khan, who first met William when the prince was a young boy, on the steps at the Prime Minister’s House in the capital.
Pakistani media simultaneously aired archive images of Diana with Khan – then a World Cup-winning cricketer who had just launched his political career – during her own visits to Pakistan more than 20 years ago.
Khan hosted a lunch for his guests, Afzal said.
President Dr Arif Alvi and his wife held a separate meeting with the royals at the Presidential Palace.
William and Kate met students at an Islamabad Model College for Girls, discussing education with a group of older students and visiting the classrooms of younger students.
A video tweeted by a British reporter accompanying the couple showed William smiling as he was told the girls were “big fans” of his mother, who died in a car crash in 1997.
“That’s very sweet of you,” he could be heard saying in the video. “I was a big fan of my mother too.”
Education official Khadija Bakhtiar told AFP that the couple helped some of the students solve problems.
William and Kate spent roughly half an hour at the government-run school before they were waved off by smiling students.
As they left, a group of girls sang one of Pakistan’s national songs and the couple greeted preschoolers who had lined up to chant “bye bye”.
They then visited the Margallah Hills National Park on the edge of Islamabad, which is under threat from poaching, wildfires, invasive species and littering.
William and Kate participated in a charity event organised for young people later in the evening.
For the morning events, the duchess wore a periwinkle blue silk shalwar kameez, the national outfit of Pakistan consisting of a loose tunic that is worn over trousers.
Many on social media and in the fashion industry had been hoping she would don the outfit, which William’s late mother, Princess Diana, had worn during visits.
The designer, Maheen Khan said on Twitter: “It is an honour to have been asked to create this outfit for the Duchess.”
The Duchess of Cambridge’s fashion choices, including a bright green tunic over white pants to meet with the Prime Minister, appeared to echo many of the colours and outfits worn by Diana.
After spending a day in the capital, the royal couple is set to head to the eastern city of Lahore, where visits are scheduled to a 17th-century mosque and a fort.
They will also visit an academy for cricket, a sport that unites Britain and Pakistan.
The royals are due tomorrow in the mountainous town of Chitral in the north to meet communities facing the challenge of climate change, according to the British high commission in Islamabad.
The red carpet was rolled out to receive William and Kate at the airport on Monday evening, with several ministers, diplomats, government officers and security officials lined up to welcome them.
Members of the British royal family have visited Pakistan in the past, with the last trip by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, Charles and Camilla, in 2006.
Diana had also visited Pakistan three times in 1990s.
Queen Elizabeth II visited Pakistan in 1961 and 1997.
Foreign policy experts and officials have said the trip, made at the request of the British Foreign Office, represented a soft power push, which may help both sides further their diplomatic aims.
It comes as Britain seeks to reinvigorate its foreign relationships as the deadline looms for its departure from the European Union, while Pakistan works to repair its global image to boost tourism and investment.
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