UK royal couple returns home after 5-day visit to Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD (AP) — Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate wrapped up their five-day visit to Pakistan on Friday, in which they dined with the prime minister and made an emotional tour of a cancer hospital previously visited by William’s mother, the late Princess Diana. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are heading home to Britain.

The only wrinkle in their trip came Thursday evening, when severe weather caused the Royal Air Force Voyager aircraft had to abort two landing attempts in the capital, Islamabad. They were forced to return to the eastern city of Lahore, calling off their scheduled visit to the Khyber Pass region bordering Afghanistan. Britain’s Press Association termed it a “pretty bad storm.”

William and Kate had toured the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre on Thursday. It was started in the early 1990s by the cricket-hero-turned-politician Imran Khan, now Pakistan’s prime minister, whose first wife Jemima Goldsmith was a friend of Princess Diana.

Earlier that day, the royal couple played cricket with children and members of Pakistan’s cricket team at the National Cricket Academy.

According to the Press Association, William told reporters that “the whole week we’ve been hearing about security in Pakistan and it’s really brought home to Catherine and I the importance of the relationship between the UK and Pakistan.”

Britain ended its colonial rule over the Indian subcontinent in 1947 and divided it into two nations, India and Pakistan.

The royal couple also toured Pakistan’s northern mountains and glaciers Wednesday, getting a look at how the South Asian country is addressing problems related to the climate change crisis.

They met with members of the non-Muslim Kalash community, who presented them with traditional coats, hats and scarves before enjoying performances of traditional dances and music by local residents.

William and Kate are strong advocates of girls’ education, and their first engagement was a visit to a school for girls in the capital, followed by a tour of the nearby national park at Margalla Hills.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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