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Controversies and security scares of past royal tours to Pakistan

Diana, Princess of Wales, the Queen and Charles and Camilla all carried out high-profile trips.

The Princess of Wales and Jemima Khan pull scarves over their heads during a reading from the Koran at the Shaukat Khanum Hospital in Lahore (John Giles/PA)
The Princess of Wales and Jemima Khan pull scarves over their heads during a reading from the Koran at the Shaukat Khanum Hospital in Lahore (John Giles/PA)

By Laura Elston, PA Court Reporter

As the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge head to Pakistan for an official tour, here’s a look at some of the other royal visits to the region that have hit the headlines.

– Diana

Diana, Princess of Wales, travelled to Pakistan several times through her charity work.

Her last trip was in May 1997, just three months before she died, when she visited a cancer hospital in Lahore as a guest of former Pakistan cricket captain Imran Khan and his then wife Jemima.

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Diana meets a cancer patient at the Memorial Cancer Hospital in Lahore in May 1997 (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

In 1991, when the princess visited the city’s Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, her short skirt sparked outrage among hard-line mullahs.

She had worn an above-the-knee green wrap-around dress.

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The Princess of Wales, barefoot and in her above-the-knee dress, receiving a prayer shawl at the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore (Martin Keene/PA)

Some Muslim leaders were so angered that they filed a criminal prosecution against the prayer leader and argued he had should have given her trousers to cover her legs.

They were ordered to stop wasting the judge’s time.

– The Queen

The Queen last travelled to the state in 1997, igniting controversy when she called on Pakistan and India to settle their differences in an address to parliament in Islamabad.

The then Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, who was accompanying the royal party, sparked furious rows after allegedly offering Britain’s help as a mediator in the highly-sensitive issue of Kashmir.

The Queen showed her respect when she visited the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad by swapping white heeled shoes for navy blue socks and covering her hat with a white scarf.

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The Queen wearing black socks and a white headscarf as she toured the Shah Faisal Mosque in Islamabad (John Stillwell/PA)

Even in socks, the Queen still wore her white gloves and carried a white leather handbag.

The tour in October 1997 came less than two months after Diana’s death and the Queen paid tribute to her former daughter-in-law’s charity work in Pakistan in a speech at a state banquet in Islamabad.

– Charles and Camilla 

When the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visited in 2006, they were forced to pull out of a visit to Peshawar in the North-West Frontier Province due to fears over their safety.

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The Prince of Wales watches as the Duchess of Cornwall wears a hat given to her as a present from the villagers of Nansoq in northern Pakistan (John Stillwell/PA)

Their carefully-planned excursion near the border with Afghanistan was cancelled at the last minute when the Pakistani military carried out a deadly strike on a religious school in the region, which was accused of being used as an al-Qaida training camp.

The air attack killed scores of people, sparking unrest and mass demonstrations.

PA

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