On royal tours, it is typically the outfits worn by women which make the headlines.

The Duke of Cambridge has proved the exception to that rule on the first full day of his trip to Pakistan, when he arrived for a reception hosted in his honour wearing traditional Pakistani clothing.

William wore a traditional long sherwani buttoned coat and matching trousers. Photo / AP
William wore a traditional long sherwani buttoned coat and matching trousers. Photo / AP

The Duke arrived for the event dressed in a traditional long sherwani buttoned coat and matching trousers, while his wife wore a Pakistan-influence evening dress also in the country's national colour of dark green.

To complete the tribute to their host country, the couple were ferried to the steps of the Pakistan national monument in a brightly painted, three-wheeler rickshaw.

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The reception held by the British High Commission followed a day spent going back to school, visiting a conservation project where camera traps help monitor endangered leopards, and catching up with an old family friend Imran Khan.

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The Duke, 37, made a keynote speech at the event, describing Britain's support for Pakistan's frontline role in the fight against terrorism, urging the two countries to work to meet the challenges they face together.

William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visit the Margalla Hills National Park. Photo / Getty Images
William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visit the Margalla Hills National Park. Photo / Getty Images

And he spoke of the challenges the country faced from its rapidly growing population and the dangers of climate change.

"The challenges ahead are great. But we cannot be daunted, nor distracted."

He went on, "Instead we should draw strength from our shared bonds and heed the words of Muhammed Ali Jinnah as we do so, "My message to you all" he said "is of hope, courage, and confidence".

After praising the progress the country had made since it gained independence, he said: "Delivering a future where Pakistan's great potential can be realised will not be easy or without sacrifice.

"For a country so young, Pakistan has endured many hardships, with countless lives lost to terror and hatred. Tonight I want to pay tribute to all those who have endured such sacrifice and helped to build the country that we see today. "

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He warned of the effect climate change could have on Pakistan, and the mountain glaciers which provide water for hundreds of millions of people.

"Ladies and gentlemen, given the scale and complexities of the challenges that future generations will face, it is clear that we all need to work together."

He added, "And whether it's this generation or the next, I know that the UK and Pakistan will continue to exemplify the very best in international cooperation."

In the most formal part of the day, the Duke of Cambridge was reunited with old family friend Imran Khan as they reminisced over a meeting in which he told Diana, Princess of Wales, he wanted to be Pakistan's Prime Minister.

The Duke recalled gathering in Richmond-upon-Thames in 1996, also attended by Mr Khan's ex-wife Jemima Goldsmith, when the former cricketer announced his political ambitions to the then-teenage Prince William and his mother.

The Prince and Prime Minister were reunited over lunch today in Pakistan, joined by the Duchess of Cambridge for an official engagement.

Mr Khan, who was finally elected Pakistani Prime Minister in July 2018, told them: "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," he said.

" 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."

Prince William, 37, replied: "Sure. It's not so easy."

His wife, who was wearing white trousers by the Pakistani designer Maheen Khan, an emerald green tunic by Catherine Walker and a navy patterned scarf by Satrangi, another local designer, and earrings by the Pakistani firm Zeen, interjected: "You stuck with it."

The Prime Minister was recalling his friendship with Diana when journalists were allowed into his chamber for a few seconds to see the royal couple meeting him today at his official residence in Islamabad.

They spoke about one of the sites the royal couple will visit tomorrow, which will remain a secret until they arrive for security reasons, with Mr Khan saying he thought Diana might have been there before.

It was the second political meeting of the day for the Duke and Duchess, who also spent time with the President of Pakistan Arif Alvi, first lady Samina Alvi, the foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his wife Mehreen, at the Presidential Palace in Islamabad.

Welcoming the couple on their first tour of the country, President Alvi, 70, 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.

'We are trying to learn Urdu as we go on'
In the first engagement of the day, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge went back to school to highlight the importance of education for girls and young women.

Sitting in the classroom with a group of teenagers, Prince William was asked what he had wanted to do when he was younger after Aima, 14, told him that she wanted to be a brain surgeon.

"Actually I changed a lot as I got older but I always wanted to learn to fly. I was flying for a while actually. I love flying, I feel very free [and) I like learning a skill, I enjoy that. I can relate the science of what you do," he said.

The same student also told the prince that the girls were 'big fans of your mother'.

"You were, really?" said Prince William. "Oh that's very sweet of you. I was a big fan of my mother too.

"She came here three times. I was very small. This is my first time and it is very nice to be here and meet you all."

The couple were visiting the Islamabad Model College for Girls, which also accepts younger male pupils, in the country's capital on the second day of their five-day official visit to Pakistan.

The Duke and Duchess are keen to champion the importance of quality education, and highlight how girls benefit from pursuing higher education and professional careers.

The Government-run school in central Islamabad, which educates students between the ages of 4 and 18, was established in 1978.

It currently benefits from the 'Teach for Pakistan' programme, a fast-track teacher training programme modelled on the UK's successful 'Teach First' scheme, which is focused on improving the quality of teaching in schools which serve families from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Inside the school the couple first sat with a group of kindergarten children, aged around four, as they learnt about numbers and counting under a sign which read: Work Hard, Be Smart.

"Well done, very good," said the prince, who introduced himself by shaking each of their hands.

In the science room, the Duke and Duchess spoke at length with an impressive group of 14-year-olds wearing headscarves.

"This is the science class, yes? Some of the girls were saying that science is their favourite subject at school," asked the duchess.

William added: "Do you remember the periodic table ? I know that a long time ago, but Catherine you remember it well, don't you?"

"Do you get to do a lot of experiments?" Kate asked. "Your English is all so good."

Her husband added: "We are trying to learn Urdu as we go on, we only know a few words now, but we hope to get better."

Asked by the chattering group of girls what they thought of Pakistan so far, the duchess beamed and replied: "It's fantastic, this is only day one for us. We are going to the north so we will be interested to explore see the difference."

The duke said: "This is day one but we have been wanting to come for a very time so it's nice to finally be here.

"My mother was here a long time ago, so its very nice, my grandmother was here, my father's been here....a lot of my family members have been here..."

Kate added: "This part of the visit is really important to us, the issue of girls and education."

Asking how easy it is for girls in the region to access education, Prince William seemed delighted to hear that Aima wanted to be a brain surgeon and her friends armies to be poets, lawyers, army officers, teachers - and even a famous cricketer.

Area education officer Mohammed Sohailkhan told reporters that the quality of education - particularly for girls - varies across the country with "gradual progress" being made

Later, in the Margallah Hills National Park, the Duke and Duchess stopped at a visitor centre nestled at the foot of the hills to hear about the park's conservation work and to meet schoolchildren learning about environmental protection.

As the couple were shown a slideshow of animals found in the forested park, including leopards, cape hares, and porcupines, a monitor lizard was flashed up.

"George would love that," the Duke remarked immediately.

During the presentation by Rab Nawaz, senior director of programmes at WWF Pakistan, the Duke was also impressed by remarkable footage from northern Pakistan of a snow leopard chasing a markhor sheep across steep rocky slopes.

"Look at it, it's incredible, absolutely incredible!" the Duke said.

The couple were shown a camera trap strapped to a tree designed to take pictures of some of the animals mentioned, including leopards.

They also met school children who learn about conservation and environmental protection at regular activity classes at the site. More than 50 children sat at tables in small groups working on working on different activities.

At one table, children were painting pictures on the theme of caring for the environment.

"Do you think lots of children care about the environment and care about nature?" the Duchess asked one little boy.

"Very few," the boy replied through an interpreter.

"Is that because they haven't learned about it and haven't seen what you've seen?" she asked.

"Even if they are educated, they just don't care. They will throw trash," he explained.


Before the arrival of the couple, Anis Rahman, chairman of the board at the Margallah Hills National Park, said the children had been chosen from nearby poor villages. Many worked to help support their families while also studying, he said.

"We are protecting the park for them. That's the next generation."