In Autumn, besides the Sussex family going on tour to South Africa, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will also go on tour, but to a more hostile environment. Prince William and Kate will be visiting Pakistan, becoming the first royals to travel there in 13 years, and are expected to stay there for around a week.
In a statement, Kensington Palace said: “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will undertake an official visit to Pakistan at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The visit will take place in the Autumn.” Although it doesn’t seem like much, the trip packs a major diplomatic meaning and is just another sign of the couples growing seniority within the royal family.
Last year Prince William undertook a similar riskier trip when he visited Jordan, Israel and occupied Palestinian territories. At the moment the Foreign Office advises British visitors to Pakistan to be vigilant against terrorist attacks and the risk of kidnapping and warns against all travel to several parts of the country, including the southern city of Peshawar.
But with the danger seemingly easing, British Airways have resumed direct last flights to Islamabad last month, after having stopped their services to the city for a decade after a deadly bomb attack.
Speaking at a British Council event in the city last month, British Deputy High Commissioner Richard Crowder described relations between Pakistan and Britain as “friendly and deep”.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will follow in the footsteps of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, who despite high terrorism threats and sectarian violence, visited Pakistan in 2006. They visited the capital, Islamabad, and the areas affected by the 2005 earthquake most, in which more than 75,000 people were killed while 2.5 million were left homeless. Their visit came in a time when security heightened and was at an all-time high, as it followed the July 7th 2005 terror attacks in London, as it was revealed that two of the suicide bombers had undergone training in Pakistan.
For her visit, Kate will have to dress modestly-the Foreign Office recommends visitors cover their shoulders and legs in public, while women should cover their heads when entering mosques or other holy places, or when travelling in rural areas. Her best choice might be the salwar-kameez, a long shift over trousers, which is the national dress of Pakistan.
Following the announcement below the High Commissioner for Pakistan, Mohammad Nafees Zakaria said:
“The Government and the people of Pakistan warmly welcome the announcement of the Royal Visit by Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Pakistan this year. The people of Pakistan still cherish and fondly recall the visits of Her Majesty The Queen to Pakistan during 1961 and 1997. The upcoming Royal Visit is 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.”