William and Kate begin Pakistan tour with visit to school


The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are embarking on the first full day of their tour of Pakistan by highlighting the importance of education with a school visit The couple are visiting the Islamabad Model College for Girls in the capital, touring classrooms and posing for a group picture with some of the young students, ranging from kindergarten age students to sixth formers The visit is designed to champion the importance of quality education, and highlight how girls benefit from pursuing higher education and professional careers Kate dazzled crowds as she stepped out in a traditional blue kurta and scarf by local designer Maheen Khan, while William opted for a casual shirt and trousers to stay cool in the Pakistan heat  The Cambridges pulled up tiny chairs so they could sit and chat to pupils in their classroom at the school, which also teaches young boys    The couple are visiting the Islamabad Model College for Girls in the capital, touring classrooms and posing for a group picture with some of the young students, ranging from kindergarten age students to sixth formers Kate looked relaxed as she stepped out of the royal car wearing a stunning blue traditional kurta and a pair of nude heels  Natural: Kate looked happy and relaxed as she chatted to children in the classroom Her own children are at school in London The Cambridges were delighted to meet children as they lined up to greet them in the playground in Islamabad  Kate watches the children playing in the playground at the Islamabad Model College for Girls in the Pakistani capital  The Cambridges looked keen to begin chatting to pupils at the school in central Islamabad, which teaches boys and girls The Government-run school in central Islamabad, which educates students between the ages of 4 and 18, was established in 1978 It currently benefits from the ‘Teach for Pakistan’ programme, a fast-track teacher training programme modelled on the UK’s successful ‘Teach First’ scheme, which is focused on improving the quality of teaching in schools which serve families from disadvantaged backgrounds  Mohammed Sohailkhan, area education officer, explained 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 realisation 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, noteably in terms of sending girls away to college But these barriers are slowly being broken down. ‘ A little boy from the school in Islamabad looks shy as Kate leans in to talk to him at his classroom table this morning  Kate showcased a dazzling pair of earrings that matched her royal blue kurta and scarf designed by Maheen Khan  Hello! Kate shakes the hand of a teacher at the Islamabad Model College for Girls this morning as they prepare to speak to pupils A warm welcome: William shakes the hand of one of the teachers at the Islamabad Model College for Girls in the capital  William and Kate are pictured entering a classroom at the Government-run Islamabad Model College for Girls in Pakistan this morning Getting involved: William and Kate quickly took seats at tiny chairs to speak to the children at the Islamabad Model College for Girls Pleased to meet you: William sat at the children’s table to talk to girls and boys at the school in central Islamabad  Kate beamed as she sat at the children’s table to hear about what they have been learning at school in Islamabad  The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are embarking on the first full day of their tour of Pakistan by highlighting the importance of education for girls after arriving in Islamabad last night   The Kensington Royal Instagram released this picture of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arriving in Pakistan and it immediately had thousands of likes  The Duchess is pictured receiving flowers (left and right) from adoring visitors as she landed in the country on Monday eveningAt an evening reception later on today, the couple’s first full day of engagements, the duke is set to say in a speech that the UK will continue to support the Commonwealth country as a ‘key partner and friend’ Pakistan visit arranged around George, Charlotte and Louis  While William and Kate have decided not to take their three children – Prince George, six, Princess Charlotte, four, and one-year-old Prince Louis – with them to Pakistan, their parents’ five-day tour has still been designed with the youngsters in mind The duke and duchess’ 9.35am departure on the British government’s official Voyager plane from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire yesterday morning was timed so that they could see their children off to school first, sources have revealed And the trip will conclude on Friday evening so that they can spend the weekend with their young brood It is all part of a concerted attempt by the couple and their staff to finely balance their growing official duties on behalf of queen and country with family time, say aides While they are away Kate’s parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, will be helping long-term nanny Maria Borrallo with childcare responsibilities After their official welcome, William and Kate headed off in a heavily-guarded convoy to their base for the week, the High Commissioner’s official residence in the capital, Islamabad William was expected to spend the evening working on a major speech to be delivered today in which he is set to highlight the ‘unique bonds’ between the two countries, particularly the 1 5 million people of Pakistani origin living in the UK, saying:’Pakistan is the world’s sixth largest country bye population It has an unbelievably diverse geography that spans deserts to glaciers and everything in between It is the birth place of the youngest ever Nobel Peace prize winner.’We share unique bonds and so it will always be in our best interests for Pakistan to succeed Not least because of the 1.5 million people living in the Uk with Pakistani origin and the fact that the Uk is one of the biggest investors in Pakistan’s economy ‘You can always rely on the UK to keep playing an important role as a key partner and friend ‘The couple are also, for the first time, taking their own medic as part of their official entourage , a friend from William’s days working as a pilot for East Anglian Air Ambulance Only the Queen (when she travelled abroad) and the Prince of Wales have a doctor accompany them on foreign tours The visit hopes to strengthen ties between the two nations. The UK is seeking to improve its international relations with Brexit looming, while Pakistan hopes to promote itself as a tourist destination amid security fears ‘Pakistan is the world’s sixth largest country by population,’ the duke is due to say  ‘It has an unbelievably diverse geography that spans deserts to glaciers and everything in between It is the birth place of the youngest ever Nobel peace prize winner.’We share unique bonds and so it will always be in our best interests for Pakistan to succeed Not least because of the 1.5 million people living in the UK with Pakistani origin and the fact that the UK is one of the biggest investors in Pakistan’s economy ‘You can always rely on the UK to keep playing an important role as a key partner and friend ‘ More than 1,000 Pakistani police officers have been deployed to secure the couple’s safety during their travels across the country All details of their engagements will be released by the palace on the day for security reasons William and Kate were greeted off the plane by Pakistan’s foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and his wife at the Pakistani Air Force base in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad, on Monday night After their official welcome, William and Kate headed off in a heavily-guarded convoy to their base for the week, the High Commissioner’s official residence in the capital, Islamabad William was expected to spend the evening working on a major speech to be delivered tomorrow in which he is set to highlight the ‘unique bonds’ between the two countries, particularly the 1 5 million people of Pakistani origin living in the UK.The couple’s presence in Pakistan – the first royal visit since Charles and Camilla undertook a lengthy tour in 2006 – has sparked a major security operation involving more than 1,000 local police officers due to the ongoing threat of militant terrorism in the Muslim-majority state Pakistan has, in recent years, been damaged by allegations that the country’s military leadership have sponsored Taliban forces in neighbouring Afghanistan and turned a blind eye to support for Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was found living in a compound in Abbottabad in 2011 It is hoped that a successful tour by the Cambridges will help Prime Minister Imran Khan’s efforts to restore his country’s reputation internationally The former international cricketer, who has known William since he was a child and was a friend of his late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, will be meeting with the couple this week William and Kate’s travels will span more than 700 miles, taking in both the cities of Islamabad and Lahore, as well as vast mountainous regions in the north and west of the country The trip has been designed to showcase the best modern Pakistan has to offer and emphasise the ongoing political, cultural, social and economic ties it enjoys with the UK, highlighting Britain’s continuing role on the international stage away from the Brexit crisis Rising tensions with India over the disputed region of Kashmir and continuing concerns over Islamic terror groups means that details of the couple’s engagements are being kept under wraps until the last possible moment But aides say the couple are still immensely looking forward to the ‘challenging’ visit, saying: ‘They are now in their late 30s and ready to take on these more complex and demanding tours on behalf of the British Government ‘ Kate (left) and William will be following in the footsteps of both the Duke of Cambridge’s parents, as Diana (right), Princess of Wales, made the journey several times through her charity work Kate speaks to a young girl as she is handed flowers by her as she arrives (left) and Duchess of Cambridge smiles as she arrives at Kur Khan airbase and looks delighted to be thereThe couple are keen to meet as many Pakistanis as possible – particularly young people – and highlight work being undertaken to improves access to education for girls and young women, climate change and the ‘complex’ security picture The visit will also no doubt prove to be an emotional one for the prince His late mother dated British-Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan for two years before her death In 1997 She famously visited the country with her friend Jemima Goldsmith, the British heiress who was then married to Imran Khan, to meet Hasnat’s family in 1996  Authorities in Delhi and Islamabad both claim the Himalayan region in full, but each controls a section of the territory, recognised internationally as ‘Indian-administered Kashmir’ and ‘Pakistan-administered Kashmir’ Skirmishes between the two sides at the de-facto border have increased this year, causing troop and civilian casualties Pakistan has seen a number of security incidents in recent months, including a bombing outside a shrine in central Lahore, as well as an attack by armed militants on the Pearl Continental Hotel in Gwadar, Balochistan Duke of Cambridge Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton are welcomed by Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi (left) at Nur Khan Airbase in Rawalpindi The Duchess of Cambridge (middle) and The Duke of Cambridge were welcomed on Monday evening by Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi (left) at Nur Khan Airbase in Rawalpindi Prince William, centre right, and theDuchess of Cambridge (centre left) are welcomed by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi (Right) upon their arrival at the Pakistan’s Nur Khan military airbase in Rawalpindi The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Aga Khan Centre in London at the beginning of October – ahead of their trip to Pakistan The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet with guests during the special event hosted by the Aga Khan in London at the beginning of October  RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 2 Next The Queen swaps her 2 5lb Imperial Crown for a lighter tiara. 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Childhood sweethearts reveal they got DIVORCED so they could Share this article Share Pakistan tour is a sign of the Queen’s ‘terrific faith’ in Kate, royal author claims The Duchess of Cambridge has ‘won people over’ by ‘doing her duty and never putting a step wrong’, according to a royal author Ingrid Seward, editor of Majesty magazine, said that while Kate Middleton, 37, hadn’t had an easy time at the beginning of her time with the royal family, she has ‘won people over’ by working hard and making few mistakes The royal commentator also suggested the royal tour of Pakistan, which starts today, was an indication of the respect the Queen had for Kate She told Hello! magazine: ‘The Pakistan Tour is very serious and politically sensitive and it’s a great honour that she and William have been asked to do it The Queen has obviously got a terrific faith in their ability to do it brilliantly ‘And Ingrid suggested the royal trip was coming at a very happy time in the Duchesses’ life, pointing to her ‘family unit’ and successful summer of projects as evidence   With Brexit looming, the tour comes as London hopes to bolster its international relationships, while Islamabad is keen to promote itself as a tourist destination amid concerns over security and violence in the region It will span more than 620 miles of the country, including the capital Islamabad, the city of Lahore, the mountainous countryside in the north and border regions to the west  Their itinerary includes a range of occasions and locations.William and Kate are expected to meet leaders from government and well-known cultural figures and sporting stars, as well as visiting programmes which empower young people They will also cover how communities in Pakistan are responding and adapting to climate change, and are due to spend time understanding the ‘complex security picture’ of the region Their tour of Pakistan comes more than 13 years since the last royal visit, seen as one of the most perilous royal foreign tours for some time, when the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall travelled to the country in 2006  William and Kate are following in the footsteps of both his parents, as Diana, Princess of Wales, made the journey several times through her charity work   Prince Charles and Camilla arrive at Islamabad Airport at the start of their official visit to Pakistan in October 2006 Charles and Camilla tour the ruins of houses in Pattika, Pakistan, in November 2006 – a year after it was hit by an earthquake Charles holds a traditional Pakistani hat known as a ‘Tasher’ he was presented with as Camilla laughs in Islamabad in 2006 The image of the Princess cuddling a gravely ill seven-year-old boy Mohammed Ashrif in 1996 was among Diana’s favourites and she kept a copy of it alwaysAn image of the Princess cuddling a gravely ill seven-year-old boy was among Diana’s favourites and she kept a copy of it always It was taken amid the chaos of a Pakistan cancer hospital in 1996 and was a reflex action on her part  The little boy did not once look at her because he was blind and had just weeks to live To Diana, the picture represented everything about how she wished to be seen: compassionate and ready to break down the barriers of protocol The Princess visited the country three times, once when married to Prince Charles and twice more after her separation when she was in love with the Pakistan-born heart surgeon Hasnat Khan At the time, she was considering marriage to him and even moving to his homeland.During her trips, she would slip away privately to meet his family but there will be no such cloak-and-dagger antics for Prince William It is far more likely that he and Kate will follow the template of Diana’s 1991 tour, her first solo visit representing the Queen to a Commonwealth country The couple have left their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, at home during their visit The Princess visited the country three times, once when married to Prince Charles and twice more after her separation when she was in love with the Pakistan-born heart surgeon Hasnat Khan 

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