Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William are set to visit Pakistan in the autumn, in the first royal visit to the country in 13 years. Although the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will not be bringing their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, excitement is building for the “historic” tour to the Commonwealth country. Pakistan has a fraught history with the Commonwealth, having only been reinstated to the association in 2008, and currently the Foreign Office warns against foreigners travelling to the country which continues to suffer terror attacks regularly.
Podcast “Pod Save the Queen” is hosted by Ann Gripper and feature the Daily Mirror’s Royal Editor Russell Myers.
In last week’s episode, Mr Myers spoke about why the Duke and Duchess’ Pakistan tour will be so significant.
He said: “It’s hugely important, hugely historic.
“Probably the biggest trip in terms of the pressure that comes with it, the security aspect and the region.”
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
The Cambridges went on royal tour to Canada in 2016
He also added that Kate has not been on royal tour since 2016.
The royal editor also compared William and Kate’s tour to Harry and Meghan’s upcoming tour to South Africa, with Archie, and Harry’s subsequent plans to visit Botswana, Angola and Malawi.
He said that the two royal tours exemplified how the two princes are carving out their own royal roles.
Mr Myers commented: “Harry and Meghan are going to go into this Commonwealth role, and then you’ve got William being prepped to be this world leader, essentially.
“[He is] meeting with people in these sorts of regions and being incredibly statesmanlike.
“Hugely important for both of them, I think.”
Ms Gripper added: “From a security point of view it will be challenging, for example, the cricket team doesn’t tour Pakistan at the moment.”
England’s cricket team have played against Pakistan in neutral venues in the United Arab Emirates since 2005 due to safety concerns.
Kate Middleton and Prince William had some shorter royal engagements in Germany and Poland in 2017
Mr Myers praised William’s visit to Israel-Palestine in 2018
Pakistan itself has not hosted any international cricket on home soil since a terrorist attack in 2009 injured six Sri Lankan players and killed two civilians.
Mr Myers explained that hostile environment training would be given to all reporters covering the royal tour to Pakistan, especially as this is not something that royal reporters would regularly train for.
He added: “It can’t be understated how risky it is to go to.”
Mr Myers also added that Charles and Camilla’s trip to Pakistan’s capital Lahore in 2006 “was fraught with security issues”.
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall had to cancel their planned trip to Peshawar at the last minute, amid fears of anti-western riots after an air-strike on suspected Islamic militants on the Pakistan Afghanistan border.
He also made reference to Prince William’s politically sensitive visit to Israel and Palestine in 2018, which was the first official royal visit to the region.
Mr Myers said: “It was a fantastic occasion, he absolutely smashed it.
“He was absolutely exemplary, it was a political hot potato at every twist and turn.
Kate wore shalwar kameez in Kuala Lumpur and drew comparisons to Princess Diana
Princess Diana and Jemima Khan visit a Pakistani children’s hospital in 1997
“He’s well read, you could tell that he had been very diligent over many months to make sure that he was aware of the nuances of political situation over there, I thought it was very impressive.”
The tour also links to Princess Diana’s work in the region.
She famously visited Pakistan accompanied by Imran Khan and his then-wife Jemima Goldsmith.
The former international cricketer is now president of the country, after he took office in August 2018.
Mr Myers concluded: “The tour is really, really something to look forward to. Very special.”
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