Day two of Royal Visit Pakistan began today, after The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived in the country late last night. Due to security reasons, the couple’s plans have been kept tightly under wraps.
The Duke and Duchess, with Kate wearing a traditional blue Kurta and scarf, began the day at the Model College for Girls (which also teaches young boys) in Islamabad. Here they toured classrooms and met with students of all ages and teachers. The point behind the visit was to champion the importance of good quality education for all and to also highlight how girls can benefit from education and professional careers.
They also learnt more about the ‘Teach for Pakistan’ programme, a teacher training programme modelled on Britain’s ‘Teach First’ scheme, which is focused on improving teaching quality within schools that serve families from disadvantaged backgrounds.
During the visit, Prince William was told how the pupils were all fans of his mother. One hearing that, he replied: “You were, really? Oh that’s very sweet of you. I was a big fan of my mother too. She came here three times. I was very small.”
The Duke also spoke to teachers about mental health and how “In the UK we’re trying to make sure mental health is part of education as well.”
It was then off to north of Islamabad, to the foothills of the Himalayas, where William and Kate visited Margalla Hills National Park. There, the couple were meeting with children from three local schools.
After a change of clothes, it was off to meet Prime Minister Imran Khan at The Prime Minister’s House. The former cricket player-turned political leader of Pakistan, was a friend of William’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. Three months before her death in 1997, Diana visited a cancer hospital in Lahore as a guest of Khan’s and his then-wife Jemima. Diana also took William to visit the Khans during their visits to the UK.
During their visit, where they had lunch with the Prime Minister, William reminded Kahn how he had told him years ago that he wanted to be Prime Minister of his country – and now he is. The pair also spoke about his career as a test cricketer, both saying it was not an easy role.
Reporters were only allowed into the meeting for a few seconds, where they heard the Prime Minister speak about Diana. They also spoke about some of the events they will be attending, and places they will visit.
After leaving The Prime Minister’s House, which is actually not used by Khan as his official residence, the couple traveled to the Presidential Palace. There, the couple met with President Arif Alvi and First Lady Samina Alvi. The couples spoke about Prince Charles’ and The Queen’s previous visits and also the first engagement to Islamabad Modern College, with Kate saying: “It’s really great, a very positive environment for children”.
Of course, the Duchess is keenly focused on young people and their mental health through her charitable works.
Tonight, there was a turn up for the books when William’s fashion was all anyone could talk about! He and Catherine arrived at the National Monument in Pakistan in a tuk tuk, and all eyes were firmly on William when he emerged from the vehicle wearing a traditional sherwani – a knee length coat worn for formal occasions.
The emerald couple were at the monument for a reception hosted by the British High Commissioner, Thomas Drew. During the event, William gave a speech where he highlighted the relationship between Pakistan and the UK. He also referenced his grandmother and his parents as he spoke of their past visits, saying: “Looking out, one would have seen the beginnings of a city under construction, yet to become the great capital that it is today. And with successive visits by my mother and my father, this view has continued to change, with the city constantly growing and with it my family’s affection for Pakistan.”
And so day two, the first full day of the Cambridges’ visit to Pakistan, drew to a close. We still don’t know what engagements will be carried out tomorrow but, if today is anything to go by, we will be in for another treat!