The Day 4 of Royal Visit Pakistan ended with two iconic visits. After visiting SOS Village and National Cricket Academy, Duke and Duchess had a quick outfit change and headed to Badshahi Mosque. They were received by Imam Abdul Kabir Azad and the Honorary Consul, UK Fakir Aijaz Uddin.
The royal couple toured the iconic mosque and attended an inter-faith meeting to understand how they are promoting interfaith harmony within their communities.
Badshahi Mosque is the most iconic Islamic site in Lahore, set in the heart of the Walled City. The mosque is renown for the carved marble and elaborate plasterwork that are used throughout the mosque’s interior.
Built by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1671 the mosque is an important example of Mughal architecture, with an exterior that is decorated with carved red sandstone with marble inlay.
It remains the largest mosque of the Mughal-era and is the second-largest mosque in Pakistan.
During the visit, William and Catherine were given a brief history of the building before they sat down for a Prayer from the Holy Quran in Arabic.
The couple was joined by Sarfaraz Peters – the moderator of the Church of Pakistan and the Bishop of Peshawar, Azahar Ali Abidi – a Shi’a academic, Ramesh Singh – a member of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, Dr Ramesh Kumar – Patron in Chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council and Dr Ayesha Leghari – a Suni Muslim scholar.
A beautiful picture of William and Catherine during the meeting. From Daily Mail’s report,
Dr Ayesha Leghari said afterwards that the couple had been ‘interested and empathetic listeners’, saying: ‘You have people who are interested listeners and people who are also empathetic and they were very empathetic. We were really pleased. They were very responsive and very charming.’
When they left they were told by Honorary Consul, UK Fakir Aijaz Uddin, ‘If there’s one word to describe your visit it is ‘joy.’ You have radiated joy wherever you have been .’ And the duke said, ‘We are very happy people.’
The last stop of the day was a bit emotional moment for Prince William. They visited the famous Shaukat Khanum hospital – a state-of-the-art cancer facility located in the centre of the city.
William’s mother, Diana Princess of Wales, visited Pakistan on two occasions specifically for the hospital- in 1996 to raise funds for the hospital and 1997 to inaugurate the hospital. Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre is Pakistan’s largest tertiary care cancer hospital.
Built by Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician and current Prime Minister Imran Khan, the hospital came into life after his mother Mrs Shaukat Khanum succumbed to cancer in 1985. During his mother’s illness, he also witnessed the plight of poor cancer patients in Pakistan’s hospitals, and deeply felt the need for a specialized cancer centre in his country.
At the hospital, the royal couple toured the children’s ward and spend time with patients undergoing treatment at the hospital and spoke to their families.
In the children’s ward, the royal couple met Wafia Rehmani, a seven-year-old girl from over the border in Afghanistan, who has a kidney tumour. Wafia presented a matching toy tiara to the Duchess and hosted a toy tea party on her bed. Wafia wants to be a doctor. She showed William and Catherine her toy medical set. From People’s report,
Her father calls her ‘princess,’ and she likes to wear a crown. Now she is looking forward to meeting a real princess,” her brother, Hedyatullah Rehmani, said as they waited for the couple to arrive at the children’s chemotherapy ward.
This tiara donned tea party actually beat all the dazzling tiaras of royal jewel vault. Catherine fulfilled the little girl’s wish and it was such a precious and emotional moment to see.
Duke and Duchess also played with 5-year-old Muhammad Samir in the chemotherapy ward of the hospital. Samir is being treated for Hodgkins Lymphoma. Prince William played with the little boy’s fishing game as the pair competed to hook fish.
Duke and Duchess talked to the patients family members.
When William’s mother Diana visited the children’s cancer hospital in Lahore in 1996 & 1997, she was shown around by Dr Aasim Yusuf who was also on duty today to show the royal couple around.
Dr Yusuf very generously shared some of the pictures from Lady Diana’s visit. Continuing from People’s report,
Recalling Princess Diana’s visits, Yusuf said: “We were all struck by how friendly she was. How she was able to put everyone at ease. We were all very nervous about what we should say and what she would ask and how we should address her. The minute she came into the room, she lit up the room obviously and also she was just so friendly and down to earth. You could tell that she was genuinely interested in the people she was meeting.”
Now showing her son around made him feel “a lot older”, Yusuf joked. “It’s a great honor and a privilege for us to be welcoming Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge today. It’s a special honor that they have chosen to come and see our hospital again.”
Coming to Duchess’ second look of the day. I personally like her this look the most out of all the traditional looks she had donned so far during the Pakistan tour.
Duchess wore a really elegant bespoke turquoise and gold French-Chiffon Shalwar Kameez and matching headscarf by Maheen Khan. Known as Pakistan’s Coco Chanel, Maheen Khan was discovered by Duchess’ stylist at O’Nitta in London who is the exclusive stockist of Pakistani’ designer in the UK.
A closer look at the outfit. The Kameez features silk gold thread Swarth phulkari embroidery on its front and matching details on the sleeves and dupatta.
Walking barefoot into the Badshahi mosque in Lahore on Thursday with Prince William, Kate wore a handcrafted teal and gold outfit by local designer Maheen Khan, an off-the-rack piece purchased at O’nitaa, a boutique in London’s Chelsea neighborhood.
“It couldn’t be more perfect!” Onita Prasada, the store owner, tells PEOPLE. “The whole thing just frames her body so beautifully. I love the way she wore the scarf, and the silk gold thread edging just reflects off her face so beautifully.”
Made from French chiffon, the shalwar kameez is hand embroidered in gold-colored silk by the tribespeople of Swarth in Pakistan. Worn with a bespoke scarf, or dupatta as it is locally known, the designer made it especially for Kate, to exactly match the outfit purchased from O’nitaa.
“Normally this would take about three months to make because of all the intricate embroidery,” explains Prasada.
Catherine paired her look with Catherine Zoraida Gold Fern Hoop Earrings.
After the busy day in Lahore, William and Catherine along with their team and royal press pack were supposed to be in Islamabad by evening. But due to the adverse weather conditions, the pilot of the RAF Voyager could not land the aircraft even after two tries. So the aircraft headed back to Lahore where the royals and company will be spending a night. About the incident the Telegraph reported,
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had their RAF Voyager plane diverted during the fourth day of their Pakistan tour as the flight was buffeted by an electrical storm.
The Royal couple and their entourage of aides, diplomats and press were jolted by heavy turbulence as the aircraft returned from a day in Lahore.
The pilot spent an hour circling the capital, Islamabad, and twice failed to land because of the storm.
A decision was eventually made to return to Lahore, where the couple had spent the day visiting a cricketing academy, historic mosque and cancer hospital.
Back on the tarmac in the city, the Duke walked through the plane to see if the press were fine and joked that he had been flying the plane. The duke is a former air ambulance pilot.
‘The Duke’s immediate reaction was that nobody was being left behind, we were all in it together. He was adamant about that,’ a source said.
The mid-air drama occurred yesterday evening as their RAF Voyager plane attempted to land in the capital Islamabad.
In all the airbus was in the air for more than two hours in total, either circling or trying to land through the ‘serious storm’, with passengers describing the flight as a ‘rollercoaster’.
‘It’s the worse turbulence I have ever encountered,’ said one of the experience, which saw passengers lifted off their seats and others experience severe nausea.
William, who went to check on travelling media, made a reference to his time as an air ambulance pilot, joking: ‘I was flying!’
One passenger said it was a ‘pretty serious storm’, describing the flight as a ‘rollercoaster’.
Another said: ‘It was pretty hairy at times.
‘The plane was making large jerking movements as we tried to battle through the wind. It was a relief to land safely in Lahore.’
Lightening could be seen flashing violently around the right-side of the plane as the pilot did his best to land both at the main international airport in Islamabad and then the Pakistan Air Force Base Nur Khan, Rawalpindi.
But in the end he was forced to announce that the aircraft would be returning to its departure airport to refuel and allow senior High Commission staff, police and royal aides what step to take next.
After landing, William, who asked travelling media how the were feeling and even joked: ‘I was flying!’ The duke is a former air ambulance pilot.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been flying around Pakistan each day on the British Government’s official Voyager aircraft, courtesy of the Royal Air Force.
Tomorrow is the last day of the visit and so far we do not have any indication whether any engagement is scheduled for Friday or not. Duke and Duchess are scheduled to arrive back in the UK by afternoon. I will leave you with this stunning picture of Catherine from Mosque visit.