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William and Imran Khan remember speaking of PM’s political ambitions with Diana

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met Mr Khan on the second day of their five-day royal tour of the region.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan (Owen Humphreys/PA)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan (Owen Humphreys/PA)

By Emma Bowden, PA, in Pakistan

The Duke of Cambridge and Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan have reminisced about the ex-test cricketer speaking of his political ambitions more than 20 years ago.

The duke told how everyone laughed at a gathering in Richmond-upon-Thames, south west London, in 1996 when Mr Khan announced his ambition of becoming prime minister to William and his mother Diana, Princess of Wales.

The former international cricketer was a friend of Diana, who had taken the young duke to visit him and his then wife, Jemima Goldsmith.

The pair were reunited on Tuesday in Pakistan as William and the Duchess of Cambridge met Mr Khan on the second day of their five-day royal tour of the region, at the Prime Minister’s official home in the capital Islamabad.

William and Kate are the first royals to visit the Commonwealth country in the premiership of Mr Khan, following his election last year.

Mr Khan recalled a conversation with William about his ambitions of becoming prime minister during their meeting.

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Diana, Princess of Wales (second right) with Imran Khan (left), Jemima Khan and Lady Annabel Goldsmith (right) at Imran’s Cancer Hospital in Lahore, Pakistan in 1996 (PA)

On his younger aspirations of becoming a cricketer, Mr Khan said: “When I went with my mother to see a Test match.

“My cousin was playing and he scored a century and I told my mother I wanted to be a Test cricketer.

“I never realised how difficult it was to eventually become one.

“Similarly, when I told you that I wanted to succeed I didn’t realise it would take me 22 years.”

The duke replied: “Sure. It’s not so easy.”

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Imran Khan playing for Pakistan against England at Lords in 1982.

Kate, wearing white trousers by the Pakistani designer Maheen Khan, an emerald green tunic by Catherine Walker, said: “You stuck with it.”

The duchess also opted by a navy patterned scarf by another local designer Satrangi and earrings by Zeen – a Pakistani jeweller whose earrings she has worn in the past.

Diana visited a cancer hospital in Lahore as a guest of Mr Khan and his then wife, Jemima Goldsmith, in May 1997 – just three months before she died.

William and Kate were also scheduled to attend a private lunch with the Prime Minister.

Earlier on Tuesday they met with President Arif Alvi and first lady Samina Alvi.

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The Duchess of Cambridge during an official meeting with the President of Pakistan Arif Alvi

Welcoming the couple on their first tour of the country, the 70-year-old president recalled running along Victoria Road in Karachi to catch a glimpse of the Queen during her 1961 State Visit.

“It was miraculous to see her,” he told William, who spoke of the Prince of Wales’s visit to Pakistan in 2006.

The duke and duchess began their first full day of engagements by visiting a school in Islamabad, where the duke fondly remembered his mother with a group of students.

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to a school in central Islamabad (Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror/PA)

One of the students at the government-run school, 14-year-old Aima, told the duke that the students were “big fans of your mother”.

“Oh that’s very sweet of you,” William replied.

“I was a big fan of my mother too. She came here three times. This is my first time and it is very nice to be here and meet you all.”

William and Kate will end their second day in Pakistan at an evening reception hosted by Thomas Drew, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan.

The duke will make a speech at the event, where he is expected to say that the UK will continue to support the Commonwealth country as a “key partner and friend” during a visit which hopes to strengthen ties between the two nations.

“We share unique bonds and so it will always be in our best interests for Pakistan to succeed,” the duke is expected to say.

“You can always rely on the UK to keep playing an important role as a key partner and friend.”

PA

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