Royal couple experience Kalash culture, Chitral climate change


PESHAWAR: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Prince William and Kate Middleton arrived in Chitral on Wednesday morning on the third day of their five-day trip to Pakistan for visiting the foothills of the Hindu Kush mountain range.

The visit is part of their agenda to explore Pakistan, meet the people of the country and witness the effects of climate change.

Upon arrival, the royal couple was gifted traditional hats and a book of photos commemorating the first trip of late Princess Diana to Pakistan in 1991.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge followed the footsteps of Lady Diana as they flew north to the Hindu Kush mountain range, a few miles from the Afghanistan border.

“Fantastic,” the prince remarked as he sifted through the pages of the book. The residents also gifted an embroidered coat to Prince William and a shawl to Middleton.

In Kalash valley, the royal couple met locals and spent time with children. They also enjoyed performances of traditional dances and music by the local people. “They were very happy, meeting and shaking hands with everyone,” a district administration official said of the royal couple.

The couple met with environmental experts to discuss the melting before going on to spend their afternoon with the Kalash tribe.

On the third day of their five-day official visit, the couple donned traditional Pakistan outfits as they stepped out in the district hoping to “highlight the effects of climate change” by witnessing one of the glaciers melting for themselves.

William had told a reception held in Islamabad last night: “Tomorrow [today] we will be seeing some of these impacts first hand and meeting some of the communities adjusting to the new realities and new challenges that climate change has brought to their towns and villages.”

They will also see how severe flash flooding caused by melting glaciers has affected a nearby valley as they visit a village and meet people whose buildings and farmland were destroyed by heavy flooding in 2015, Hello! reported.

Meanwhile, the duchess was seen accompanied by a royal doctor, fuelling speculations that she may be pregnant with her fourth child. Alex Apati of Ladbrokes (a royal betting company) revealed: “Plenty are convinced Kate is either already or soon to be pregnant, and we’ve slashed odds on a 2020 royal baby as a result.”

William and Kate arrived in Islamabad on Monday night. They were received by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his wife Mehriene Qureshi at the Nur Khan Airbase in Rawalpindi.

During the meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan, thirty-seven-year-old William reminded the premier that the late Diana had taken him to meet Khan and his then-wife Jemima Goldsmith in London, back in 1996. He further shed light on the conversation they had shared back then with Khan expressing his ambition of holding the prime minister’s office in Pakistan — a thought that had also ignited ample laughter from all around back then, William added.

British High Commissioner to Pakistan Thomas Drew was also present on the occasion.

The five-day visit, which will end on Oct 18, has been organised at the request of the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.