Prince William is expected to tell a reception in Islamabad that Pakistan can always "rely on the U.K." for friendship and the economic role it plays

By Simon Perry
October 14, 2019 05:01 PM

Kate Middleton and Prince William will celebrate the “unique bonds” that Britain has with Pakistan during their groundbreaking tour this week.

William is expected to tell a reception in Islamabad on Tuesday that the country, where the couple landed earlier today, can always “rely on the U.K.” for friendship and the economic role it plays.

The royal couple will cover 620 miles over the next four days and will visit the cities of Islamabad and Lahore — and also witness how parts of rural Pakistan are coping with the effects of climate change. William will tell an audience in the capital that the country has an “unbelievably diverse geography that spans deserts to glaciers and everything in between.”

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Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty

And, he notes, it is the “sixth largest country by population” and the birthplace of the “youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner” in Malala Yousafzai.

“We share unique bonds so it will always be in our interest for Pakistan to succeed. Not least because of the 1.5 million people living in the U.K. with Pakistani origin and the fact that the U.K. is one of the biggest investors in Pakistan’s economy,” he adds. “You can always rely on the U.K. to keep playing an important role as a key partner and friend.”

On Monday, the couple stepped off the British Government’s Royal Air Force Voyager plane at the Pakistani Air Force Base Nur Khan in Rawalpindi — just outside the capital, Islamabad — where they were met by the British High Commissioner, Thomas Drew.

Kate arrived in a culturally inspired look — a twist on the traditional shalwar kameez. The royal opted for a stunning aqua blue bespoke flowing top and fitted pants by Catherine Walker (one of her go-to designers and a favorite of Princess Diana), which she paired with nude heels.

The royal parents left children Prince George, 6, Princess Charlotte, 4, and Prince Louis, 1, at home in London — but Kate and William made sure they dropped their two eldest off at school before boarding the plane to Pakistan. Wherever they can, the royal parents try to timetable their travel before any public event around seeing George and Charlotte off to school or welcoming them back.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Kate Middleton
| Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty

The visit will focus on programs “which empower young people, and organizations that help ensure they have the best possible start in life. Access to quality education, particularly to girls and young women is one of the U.K.’s top priorities in Pakistan,” the couple’s spokesman said in a briefing before the tour.

“The Duke and Duchess are looking forward to spending time meeting young Pakistanis, and hearing more about their aspirations for the future.”