The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Prince William and Kate Middleton, during their packed day-long trip to Lahore on Thursday, visited the iconic Badshahi Mosque.
The royals toured the mosque and courtyard, before joining a discussion with religious leaders on promoting interfaith harmony. They also listened to the recitation of the Holy Quran.
The couple changed into formal attire for the visit to the mosque with William sporting a suit and tie and Middleton, who earlier in the day was seen in an embroidered white Pakistani ensemble, donning a green tunic, trousers and dupatta.
The Badshahi Mosque located within the Walled City was also visited by William’s grandmother Queen Elizabeth when she was in the country with husband Prince Philip in 1961, and his mother Diana during her 1991 tour.
They later paid a visit to the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, where they were welcomed by the hospital's CEO Dr Faisal Sultan and other senior officials.
At the hospital, they met children suffering from cancer and also visited the department hosting the hospital's radiation machine.
William's late mother, Diana, who was a friend of Prime Minister Imran Khan, visited Pakistan twice — 1996 and 1997 — to help raise awareness and funds for the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital.
In the evening, the Royal Air Force plane carrying the royal couple was forced to abort a landing in Islamabad twice and return to Lahore after being caught in a severe thunderstorm.
Birthday party, cricket on agenda
The couple — who are the first royals to officially visit Pakistan since Prince Charles and his wife Camilla visited the region in 2006 — were received by Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and Governor Chaudhry Sarwar upon arrival at the Lahore airport on Thursday morning.
The guests were also presented souvenirs by Buzdar and Sarwar after an official meeting.
William and Kate then visited the SOS Children's Village, where, according to APP, they took part in a storytelling session and interacted with the staff and children.
Prince William and Middleton also attended a birthday party for three children at the SOS Village. The duchess spoke briefly at the event and wished the children 'happy birthday' in Urdu.
Afterwards, the duke and duchess went to the National Cricket Academy where both of them tried their hand at batting.
After the game, the couple received some gifts — including a cricket bat for their children. An official told them, “You must apologise to Prince Louis because the bat is bigger than he is”, according to People magazine.
The duke and duchess arrived in Islamabad for their maiden visit to Pakistan on Monday night. Their second day was a busy one, which started with a visit to a girl's college in the capital and then Margalla Hills, where they attended an event regarding environmental protection. The couple was hosted by President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Aiwan-i-Sadr and Prime Minister House, respectively.
In the evening, they attended a star-studded reception, hosted by British High Commissioner to Pakistan Thomas Drew, at the National Monument where William, in his first official address, paid tribute to all the people who "endured sacrifice and helped build Pakistan to the country it is today".
On the third day of their five-day trip, the royals paid a visit to Chitral district to observe the effect of climate change in the region.
During the visit, the couple flew to the Baroghil Valley National Park in the extreme north and the Bumburate Valley in the south where they mingled with the Kalasha community.
Upon reaching the Bumburate Valley, the couple was given a red-carpet reception by the Kalasha community — led by MPA Wazir Zada — from where they drove to a number of sites devastated by flash floods in 2015. The royal couple was told about the causes of the natural disasters in the region.
With additional reporting by Umer Farooq in Lahore.