Friday, 4 October 2019

The Cambridges' Pakistan Tour Will Be "Most Complex" to Date

With just ten days to go until the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's official visit to Pakistan, their Communications Secretary Christian Jones (a role held by Jason Knauf until recently when he was appointed Royal Foundation CEO) held a press briefing at Kensington Palace this afternoon. Normally this close to a tour beginning we see the full itinerary, with details of almost all engagements planned for the trip. Whilst reporters present know the itinerary, it is strictly embargoed for security reasons. Instead, information on events will only be made available on a day-to-day basis during the tour. The Duke and Duchess will spend five days in the south Asian country from Monday 14 to Friday 18 October. As expected, they will not be taking the children. George and Charlotte will be at school, and it is thought they will be looked after by Nanny Maria Teresa and the Middletons.


Mr Jones said the visit, which is being undertaken at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, "is the most complex tour undertaken by the Duke and Duchess to date, given the logistical and security considerations".


It will mark both William and Kate's first official visit to the country, and Kate's first Commonwealth tour in over three years. I've been long awaiting such a visit by the couple. There is something incredibly special about the monarchy's connections to all fifty-three Commonwealth countries: fond memories of royal visits dating back generations, a continuation to forging links and partnerships between countries, and a very important tradition of the Royal family being maintained. It's very much a celebration of the UK's links with that particular country which is why these trips are so important from the Government's perspective.


The links with Pakistan are extensive - the British High Commission in Islamabad being one of the UK’s largest diplomatic missions in the world.


Whilst the itinerary is under wraps, Christian Jones revealed core areas of focus:

'Whilst The Duke and Duchess’s programme will pay respect to the historical relationship between Britain and Pakistan, it 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.
Throughout the tour, Their Royal Highnesses will visit programmes which empower young people, and organisations 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 UK’s top priorities in Pakistan. The Duke and Duchess are looking forward to spending time meeting young Pakistanis, and hearing more about their aspirations for the future.'

Climate change will feature heavily on the agenda. The Duke and Duchess will see first hand how climate issues are affecting Pakistan, and efforts being undertaken to combat the challenges presented. They will also learn more about the "complex security picture" in Pakistan and meet security personnel who will share their experiences. The Palace added: "As with previous overseas visits, the Duke and Duchess have asked that this tour allow them opportunities to meet as many Pakistanis as possible. 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."


Harper's Bazaar reports:

'William and Kate won’t be traveling alone. Flying with the couple on the Royal Air Force Voyager, a team of 14 will ensure everything runs meticulously to plan. Amongst the entourage are private secretaries Catherine Quinn and Simon Case and head of communications Christian Jones, with four other team members, two assistant private secretaries, two program coordinators, a palace assistant, an orderly, and a privately-funded hairstylist, believed to be Amanda Cook Tucker, for the duchess.'

During a visit to the Aga Khan Centre on Wednesday, William and Kate met with the High Commissioner of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, His Excellency Mohammad Nafees Zakaria and Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Thomas Drew at Kensington Palace.


Victoria Murphy reports:

'Previously, the Queen visited the country in 1961 and 1997, and Princess Diana traveled there on a solo trip in 1991. When the Cambridges’ visit was first announced in June this year, the High Commissioner for Pakistan to the United Kingdom, Mohammad Nafees Zakaria, said the people of Pakistan “warmly welcome the announcement.”
He continued, saying that they "still cherish and fondly recall" the visits by the Queen and described the upcoming trip as a “reflection of the importance the United Kingdom attaches to its relations with Pakistan. The two countries enjoy historical links which both sides wish to strengthen further.”

The late Princess Diana visited Pakistan several times, notably supporting Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital which was built by the Imran Khan, who was married to Diana's dear friend Jemima Goldsmith. Mr Khan is now the Prime Minister of the country, and it would seem very fitting for William and Kate to retrace Diana's footsteps with the PM.

Embed from Getty Images

In terms of clothing for the tour, I think we'll see a mix of Kate's favourites with pieces from Pakistani designers. I imagine there are at least a couple of formal black-tie events, which mean gown appearances. As green is the colour of Pakistan's flag, I expect we'll see it incorporated in the wardrobe, as we did at Wednesday's reception.


It's also likely we'll see Kate in a traditional shalwar kameez (a long tunic/dress worn with trousers). Diana favoured mixing shalwars with other pieces from her wardrobe during tours.

Embed from Getty Images

The statement closed with: "Their Royal Highnesses are looking forward to building a lasting friendship with the people of Pakistan." Reporters Rebecca English and Omid Scobie received the itinerary today and described it as "fantastic". I'm very much looking forward to seeing it all unfold!


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Will we see Kate before the tour? I think she may have an engagement with one of her patronages on Wednesday. I don't want to say too much as it appears to be embargoed, but yes keep an eye on Wednesday. In the meantime, have a lovely weekend!

23 comments:

  1. Charlotte, I've been wondering if the very bad Dengue fever epidemic that Pakistan is experiencing right now will have any effect on the tour. Have you heard anything about it?

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  2. I seriously don't understand why they agreed to go to Pakistan. I believe the risks are too great. I wish them safe travel.

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  3. I'll be following your reports of this tour with great interest, Charlotte.

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  4. Tammy from California5 October 2019 at 06:26

    This is a very intriguing trip. In my opinion, a tough country to visit for security reasons and political reasons, but if anyone can do it, the Cambridges can!

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  5. jawairia Rasheed latest_genius@yahoo.com5 October 2019 at 07:48


    I want to meet Royal couple in Pakistan.

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    1. I hope you get the chance jawairia!! Good luck! cc

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  6. Just wondering - why are certain events (even in the UK) embargoed??? Don't they want to showcase these places?

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    1. If people know beforehand where the royals will be (especially the young ones) crowds will turn up. And not all events are suitable for crowds, sometimes for security reasons, sometimes there isn’t space, sometimes it will disrupt the people working there and sometimes because the purpose of the visit is not media attention but the people who are there.
      So embargoed events mean the media can prepare beforehand but there won’t be any crowds.

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  7. Beautiful post! Thank you!

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  8. Anna, thank you so much for your comment. It seems the engagement is embargoed, so full details can't be revealed until Wednesday.

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    1. Oh, one of the royal reporters posted it on twitter, so I thought it was known.

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    2. I think he deleted it pretty quickly. It should be an interesting engagement :)

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  9. How lucky we all are that it will be such a complex tour. Empowering women and meeting all variety of people, wow, can't wait!

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  10. Pray for safety and mission of the tour to be accomplished. Thanks, Charlotte.

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    1. That is a very important lesson I learnt during the recent Sussex tour. Often I did not recognize my own country in what was written. I suppose a bit of over exaggerating always sells more stories.
      But I will keep it in mind when I read about other countries royals visit.

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  11. With almost all details embargoed this is promising to be a challenging tour for you to cover, Charlotte. I hope you can at least relax this week to prepare for all the frantic research you going to do next week.

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  12. Pakistan is a very safe country, it’s not what media projects. As for dengue fever, it’s currently hitting many countries including Middle East. Looking forward to a great trip

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    1. I posted this in the wrong place.

      That is a very important lesson I learnt during the recent Sussex tour. Often I did not recognize my own country in what was written. I suppose a bit of over exaggerating always sells more stories.
      But I will keep it in mind when I read about other countries royals visit.

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  13. What a great post, Charlotte thank you so much! Can hardly wait to see what happens and who they meet - and to see some of the country, as you invariably give us some descriptions of what’s going on where. Your blogs are certainly my happy places!

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  14. What a nice post! This tour may be very memorable for the Cambridges in that it is not only complex, interesting, but somewhat sentimental! Love the pictures of Diana and hoping that we will see Kate in traditional Pakistani dress during the tour!! These posts always are informative and make me do a little bit of my own research before the tour. Would love to see Mr. Khan and the Cambridges retrace Diana's steps. Looking forward to the trip! cc

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    1. I am expecting maybe one event that is very reminiscent of Diana, but I also have the feeling that since the India tour (which had lots of sentimental Diana) the Cambridges have move on slightly. I am not suggesting that they could ever forget her, merely that their focus have shifted forward towards their future role as king and queen and not so much backwards anymore. Just the feeling I get.

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    2. I think you are probably right RachelZA about one event with a sentimental nod to Diana, but fully agree with you that the Cambridges have moved forward in their purpose. India was even perhaps the more sentimental tour for them, but somehow seeing the picture of Diana with her friend, and Mr. Khan evoked a nostalgia in me that made me think of how it must be for William. I think William and Kate are doing a good job of respecting Diana's memory, yet forging their own path, as they should. cc

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  15. Some of the comments on this page about Pakistan are really ignorant bordering on prejudiced. A while ago, I read another comment by a reader about how uncomfortable she was when the royals visit their former colonies and have photo ops in slums and how patronizing it felt. I agree with that and may I just respectfully remind the people who posted negative comments about Pakistan that whatever Pakistan is going through is the result of the dreadful legacy of the British Raj, and later the American Proxy wars. So yeah, it might seem strange that they have decided to visit Pakistan, but they need to confront the reality of what their country has brought upon other poorer nations around the world. It would be unwise to just visit Australia and Canada and similar Euro-centric countries and never step out of their comfort zone. Also, I spent 22 years in Pakistan before I settled in the US...I was never mugged, or molested, or threatened, or saw a bomb blast, or kidnapped or killed...not once! Only saw these things like you...on tv.

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