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William and Kate make colourful entrance in auto rickshaw at Islamabad reception

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travelled in the colourful cart to the historic Pakistan Monument in Islamabad.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive for a reception in Islamabad, Pakistan (Owen Humphreys/PA)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive for a reception in Islamabad, Pakistan (Owen Humphreys/PA)

By Emma Bowden, PA, in Pakistan

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived in style to a special reception in Pakistan – opting for an auto rickshaw as they wrapped up the second day of their royal tour.

William and Kate travelled in the colourful cart to the historic Pakistan Monument in Islamabad on Tuesday evening for an event hosted by Thomas Drew, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan.

The duke demonstrated the UK’s support for the Commonwealth country, telling the reception that Pakistan could rely on Britain as “a key partner and your friend”.

The five-day visit, at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, seeks to strengthen ties between the two nations.

Kate wore a glittering emerald dress by Jenny Packham, while William wore a similar-coloured traditional sherwani buttoned coat by Karachi-based designer Naushemian.

In his address to the reception, arranged to showcase the best of Pakistani culture, the duke recognised the troubled past of Pakistan.

“Delivering a future where Pakistan’s great potential can be realised will not be easy or without sacrifice,” he said.

“For a country so young, Pakistan has endured many hardships, with countless lives lost to terror and hatred.

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The Duke of Cambridge speaks at a reception at the National Monument in Islamabad (Chris Jackson/PA)

“Tonight I want to pay tribute to all those who have endured such sacrifice and helped to build the country that we see today.”

William called on the two nations to “continue to exemplify the very best in international co-operation”, while acknowledging that “the challenges ahead are great”.

At the end of his speech, the duke quoted Muhammad Ali Jinnah – a lawyer, politician and the founder of Pakistan.

“But we cannot be daunted, nor distracted,” he said.

“Instead we should draw strength from our shared bonds and heed the words of Muhammad Ali Jinnah as we do so, ‘My message to you all’ he said ‘is of hope, courage, and confidence’.”

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The Duchess of Cambridge wore a Jenny Packham dress (Owen Humphreys/PA)

A busy itinerary on their first full day in the capital Islamabad saw the royal couple meet Prime Minister Imran Khan and visit two education programmes, including a government-run school for students aged between four and 18.

The meeting between the duke and Mr Khan saw the pair reminiscing 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.

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William and Kate with Prime Minister Imran Khan at his official residence in Islamabad (Andrew Parsons/PA)

Recalling 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.”

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

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The duchess during a visit to a government-run school in central Islamabad (Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror/PA)

Earlier on Tuesday, Kate and William met President Arif Alvi, who recalled running along Victoria Road in Karachi to catch a glimpse of the Queen during her 1961 state visit.

The royal couple’s first engagement saw one of the students at the government-run school, 14-year-old Aima, tell 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.”

PA

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