Pakistan welcomed the British royal couple, Prince William and Kate Middleton, Monday evening. This is the couple’s first trip to Pakistan.
The British royal couple landed at Rawalpindi’s Nur Khan Airbase. They were welcomed by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his wife. British High Commissioner in Pakistan Thomas Drew was also present on the occasion.
A red carpet was rolled out for the prince and princess.
The royal couple flew into the country in the RAF’s Voyager aircraft with an entourage of 14, including their private secretaries Simon Case and Catherine Quinn and communications secretary Christian Jones, Hello reported. Another four members of the communications team, two assistant private secretaries, two programme coordinators, a PA, an orderly and a hairdresser will also join them.
People across Pakistan have been anxiously preparing for the prince and the princess.
The security for this week’s visit to Pakistan, by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, is the highest of any royal tour since the Queen’s visit to Ireland. The Sun reported that the couple will be guarded by 1,000 police officers during their five-day tour.
The Duchess of Cambridge wore a sea-green shalwar kameez and the Duke a dark suit with an electric blue tie. They were presented with flowers after they landed in a British government plane.
Details of the five-day visit are being kept under wraps. Security is expected to be tight for the couple’s first official trip to Pakistan, and the first visit by a British royal since William’s father Charles and his wife Camilla came in 2006.
In addition to Islamabad they are set to visit the ancient Mughal capital of Lahore, as well as the mountainous north.
Kensington Palace has called the trip “the most complex tour undertaken by The Duke and Duchess to date, given the logistical and security considerations”.
Swat’s royal family want the British royal couple, Prince William and Kate Middleton, to visit its historic White Palace, the same place where Queen Elizabeth II stayed during her visit to Pakistan in 1961. “We know the duke and duchess have a tight schedule, but still hope they are able to visit this place,” said Prince Miangul Sheharyar Ameer Zeb of the Swat’s royal family.
Zeb said the queen had accepted the then president Ayub Khan’s invitation to visit Pakistan on the condition that he would give her a tour of Swat. The Queen stayed at the historic White Palace suite along with her husband, Prince Philip, for three days when they visited the Wali of Swat, Miangul Jahanzeb Khan, in 1961.
Rabia Zakir, an artist from Islamabad, has drawn a portrait of the royal couple’s wedding picture.
She hopes to present it as a “welcoming gift” to the guests.
A Rawalpindi rickshaw driver has decorated his ride for the royal couple.
He has painted British and Pakistani flags on his vehicle.
In Chitral, female footballers have invited the royal couple to play football with them.
The duke and duchess of Cambridge will also meet Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi during their four-day visit.
“Over the course of the visit, Their Royal Highnesses will meet a wide variety of people, including children and young people, leaders from government, business and the charity sector, inspiring conservationists, and well-known cultural figures and sporting stars,” the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge said in a statement.
Their trip will largely focus on showcasing Pakistan as it is today – a dynamic, aspirational and forward-looking nation. “From the modern leafy capital Islamabad to the vibrant city of Lahore, the mountainous countryside in the North, and the rugged border regions to the West, the visit will span over 1000km, and will take in Pakistan’s rich culture, its diverse communities, and its beautiful landscapes,” reads the statement.