For day two of their tour of Pakistan, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge carried out several engagements in the capital city of Islamabad beginning with a visit to Model College for girls.
William and Kate landed in the country last night with their staff and members of the press in the British Government's Royal Air Force Voyager. Aides told reporters they timed their departure to do the school run with George and Charlotte before leaving. Their return home on Friday has been scheduled to ensure they will be back to spend the weekend with the children.
Due to security reasons, today's itinerary was shared just before William and Kate's engagements began this morning. Following their visit to Model College, it's a nature based engagement with schoolchildren in Margalla Hills. Also on the itinerary: a meeting with the President and lunch with the Prime Minister. This afternoon, the couple will meet staff members from the British High Commission and the day will draw to a close with a glittering evening reception at the Pakistan Monument.
Model College was established over forty years ago. The government run school supports students from the ages of 4 to 18.
William and Kate learned about the benefits of the 'Teach For Pakistan' programme which recruits young graduates and professionals for a two-year Fellowship to teach in schools with a lack of qualified educators. 49% of girls are out of school in Pakistan, it's one of several initiatives in place to tackle the issue.
It's based on a similar programme in the UK called 'Teach First' which has proven very successful. It's interesting to see the link between both countries and recognising the need to address similar problems across the world.
Since 2011, the scheme has recruited over 100 teachers with 7700 students taught and 64 schools supported.
Simon Perry reports:
“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 ahead of the royal tour.
Area education officer Mohammed Sohailkhan also echoed those sentiments to reporters on Tuesday, noting that the quality of education, particularly for girls, varied across the country.
“In recent years there has been gradual progress in understanding how important education is for girls and young women. There is a realization of what it can mean in terms of jobs and prospects,” he said. “I can’t paint you an entirely rosy picture. It does still fluctuate wildly, particularly in rural regions, where there has traditionally been cultural barriers towards this, notably in terms of sending girls away to college. But these barriers are slowly being broken down.”
William told a group of science students he had always wanted to fly. "I changed a lot as I got older but I always wanted to learn to fly. I was flying for a while a actually. I love flying, I feel very free."
The Duchess met a group of kindergarten children.
More from The Telegraph:
Asked by the chattering group of girls what they thought of Pakistan so far, the duchess beamed and replied: "It’s fantastic, this is only day one for us. We are going to the north so we will be interested to explore see the difference."
"Work Hard. Be Smart".
You'll notice the colour of Kate's ensemble matches the uniform.
'Sitting in the classroom with a group of teenagers, Prince William - who will, of course, be king one day - was asked what he had wanted to do when he was younger after Aima, 14, told him that she wanted to be a brain surgeon.
"Actually I changed a lot as I got older but I always wanted to learn to fly. I was flying for a while a actually. I love flying, I feel very free [and) I like learning a skill, I enjoy that. I can relate the science of what you do," he said.
The same student also told the prince that the girls were ‘big fans of your mother’.
Prince William gave a broad, slightly wistful, smile and said: "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. This is my first time and it is vey nice to be here and meet you all."
A 17 minute video from the engagement.
From there, they visited Margalla Hills located at the foot of the Himalayas.
They were joined by children from several local schools participating in the World Wildlife Fund Green Schools programme.
They joined in a range of activities including setting a leopard camera trap and a new initiative to remove harmful plants.
Take a look at the breathtaking Margalla Hills. Spanning over 12,000 hectares, archaeologists have discovered human footprints, over two millions years there, preserved in sandstone. They are home to 300 species of plants - many used for medicinal purposes - and a range of wildlife including the endangered Margalla leopard.
The Duchess selected a traditional royal blue periwinkle silk Kurta with trousers and a scarf by Pakistani designer Maheen Khan. When considering local designers for the Duchess, Khan is very much top of the list. Described by Milan Fashion Week as the "Coco Chanel of the East", the award winning designer has been a dominant force in fashion for decades.
Khan's illustrious career began in the 1970s. She quickly earned the title of "Pakistan's first couturier". She founded couture label Maheen, and high street brand Gulabo, with a determination to create wearable but elegant collections for women. Khan's career has seen her design costumes for Snow White and The Huntsman and Elizabeth starring Cate Blanchett. She was commissioned by Harrods to create a replica of The Queen's coronation dress to mark 60th anniversary celebrations. They ultimately decided not to go with the piece on display - instead presenting it to the British High Commission in Karachi. Khan's also the CEO of Pakistan Fashion Week.
A profile piece on the designer from Aurora:
“It humbles me to realise that I was the one who instigated all this; by default I stepped into this muddy area called fashion. I would never have dreamt that my small initiative would grow into a mega-billion rupee industry.”
It is also her opinion that the industry has become sleazy, too commercial and stagnant. Given that so many new names have entered the market recently, I asked her how easy it is to become a couturier. Her short reply is: “Do half of them even know what fashion means? They are all seamstresses, exactly where I was in 1972. What do they make that a tailor cannot?”
Khan describes fashion as something new that has never been seen before; it is about introducing a silhouette. “But, of course, none of them will tell you this because they don’t know.”
In her view, it is perfectly okay if someone wants to make pretty clothes and some money out of it, but they should not call themselves designers. “Does every man who builds a house call himself an architect? No. So why does every woman who makes clothes call herself a designer?”
The Duchess accessorised with her £7 Zeen Beaded Chandelier earrings from last night.
For Kate's first engagement, she wore a pair of £24 New Look Block Heel sandals (with thanks to Kate Middleton Style). They are also available in black at Asos.
In Margalla Hills, Kate changed into her Russell & Bromley Xpresso crossover flat shoes.
Following a quick change, William and Kate met the President of Pakistan, Dr. Arif Alvi, at the Presidential Palace.
The Duke and Duchess with the President and First Lady.
Next, the couple attended a luncheon with Prime Minister Imran Khan. Of course the Prime Minister is a familiar face...
Before entering politics, Imran was a very famous cricketer, then married to one of Diana's closest friends Jemima Goldsmith. During Diana's visits to the country, she supported Mr Khan's efforts to build a cancer centre and spent a good deal of time with the couple. It is believed William and Kate will retrace her footsteps later on in the visit.
Below, Diana in Pakistan with Imran Khan and Jemima.
More from ITV:
'Khan was a family friend who, at that time, was the husband of Princess Diana’s close confidante Jemima Khan, now Jemima Goldsmith. Diana would often take her two boys, William and Harry, to play at the Goldsmith’s large property in Richmond Park in south west London.
Jemima’s mother, Annabel Goldsmith, had been in Diana’s life for many years. She was an almost mother-like figure for Diana and someone she looked up to.'
The PM spoke about his own career journey. The Express reports:
“When I went with my mother to see a Test match my cousin was playing and he scored a century and I told my mother I wanted to be a Test cricketer,” Khan said.
“I never realised how difficult it was to eventually become one. Similarly, when I told you that I wanted to succeed I didn’t realise it would take me 22 years.”
Kate interjected “You stuck with it.”
The Duchess changed into a bespoke Catherine Walker tunic and Maheen Khan white trousers for the meetings. Interestingly, Maheen Khan did quite a bit of embroidery work for Catherine Walker over the years. I expect it's likely someone from the Walker brand suggested Khan as a fantastic Pakistani brand to wear during the tour. The vivid grass green hue features in several Catherine Walker pieces, including a coatdress Kate's worn several times.
Kate teamed the look with an $11 Green Chiffon Dupatta by Pakistan based Satrangi (with thanks to Heaven).
And her Zeen Ceramic Drop earrings.
Kate completed the look with her 'greenery suede' Emmy London shoes and clutch.
A brief roundup video from the day.
William and Kate will privately meet British High Commission staff later this afternoon before attending an evening reception at the Pakistan Monument.