Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

William and Kate enjoy colourful welcome in Pakistan mountain settlement

William and Kate watched a traditional dance by the Kalash people, and were presented with hats and scarves.

(Samir Hussein/PA)
(Samir Hussein/PA)

By Emma Bowden and Laura Elston, PA

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been given a colourful welcome to a settlement of the Kalash people on their tour of Pakistan.

William and Kate watched a traditional dance and were presented with vibrantly coloured hats and scarves, with the duchess’s colourful beaded headwear featuring a large fuschia feather.

bpanews_31786c36-ac10-4505-9fdc-23753fc8ec2a_embedded247179356
The Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to a settlement of the Kalash people in Chitral, Pakistan (Samir Hussein/PA)

The couple made the journey to the Hindu Kush mountains in northern Pakistan to learn about the community and its heritage and traditions, as well as how climate change is affecting the region.

William and Kate were welcomed with clapping and cheering after the whole village turned out to meet them on Wednesday afternoon, their third day in the country.

The Kalash people are a non-Muslim minority population whose religion predates Islam.

They are culturally and ethnically distinct descendants of Indo-Aryan tribes.

During the celebration, Kate appeared to tease her husband about his own dance moves, telling a group of dancers: “I’m sorry he didn’t dance too!”

The duchess spoke to some of the dancers through an interpreter, before trying her hand at the local dialect of Kalasha, asking how to say: “Thank you so much for these amazing gifts.”

The couple also visited a village destroyed by flooding in 2015, and met survivors of the disaster.

They travelled to Bumburet, in the Chitral region, where they watched an emergency response drill which included demonstrations of how members of the community carry casualties over a river.

bpanews_31786c36-ac10-4505-9fdc-23753fc8ec2a_embedded247182125
William and Kate speak with flood survivors (Neil Hall/PA)

Buildings and farmland in the valley were destroyed by boulders tumbling down with the flood water, which meant local farmers had to sell their livestock, the duke and duchess were told.

Earlier William said more education, awareness and political action was needed to tackle climate change as he and Kate visited a melting glacier.

The duke and duchess overlooked the northern tip of the Chiatibo Glacier in Broghil National Park, and were shown how it has retreated rapidly in recent years due to global warming.

It was the first time the couple had seen a melting glacier.

Accompanied by glacier expert Furrukh Bashir, the duke said communities “vulnerable to change” needed “more education, more awareness and political action”.

“The young are starting to get engaged in it,” he said, adding that a “positive conversation” around climate change was required.

His geography background was also mentioned during the visit in the snowy mountain peaks, prompting amusement.

The duke said: “Dr Warren, my geography teacher, would be well impressed that I’m back at a glacier after all these years.”

“I’ve been very impressed by William’s geography,” a smiling Kate said.

Glaciers in the mountain range – which joins together the Hindu Kush, Karakoram and the Himalayas – provide water for 1.6 billion people.

Global warming has seen the Chiatibo Glacier retreat by 10 metres a year due to higher temperatures melting the ice.

During the visit, the duke told reporters: “The young are getting very engaged in what’s going on and I think it’s fantastic we can come together.

“If we take too long about this, we will lose some of the precious things we care about.”

bpanews_31786c36-ac10-4505-9fdc-23753fc8ec2a_embedded2923534
Kate and Diana, who is pictured in 1991, in similar hats during visits to Chitral (Sam Husssein/Martin Keene/PA)

The royal party arrived by helicopter to the remote location in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province.

Kate followed in Diana’s footsteps when she was presented with a traditional Chitrali hat and embroidered coat, just like the princess was in 1991.

William, who also received a hat and coat, was given a book commemorating his mother’s visit 28 years ago.

PA

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph