- Rachel Burchfield
Kensington Royal Tour: Day 2 + Happy birthday, Fergie!
First and foremost, happy sixtieth birthday to the Duchess of York! May you have 60 more years of laughter and happiness.
Fergie was, before their falling out, one of Diana’s best friends and certainly one of the only people who could even come close to understanding what Diana’s life in a fishbowl was like. Diana has been top of mind for me all day, as Kate’s fashion in Pakistan is very closely channeling her mother-in-law’s and because William and Kate spent some of day two of their Pakistan tour with Imran Khan, who is now the Prime Minister of Pakistan but back in the 1990s was the captain of the Pakistan national cricket team and married to Jemima Khan, one of Diana’s closest friends (Imran and Jemima have since divorced).
Interesting fact – the love of Diana’s life was actually not Charles (I mean, no real shock there) but was a Pakistan-born heart surgeon named Hasnat Khan (a distant cousin of Imran Khan), who Diana dated from 1995 to 1997, up until right before her death. She was absolutely besotted with Hasnat, who demurred from marrying the Princess of Wales because he wanted to keep a low profile and continue to do the work that really mattered to him without the constant invasion of privacy from the press. There was also the cultural barrier between the two, which I think would be much different today, but back in the 1990s it was not as accepted for the mother of the future king to date someone that was Middle Eastern. After they ended their relationship in June 1997, Diana dated Dodi Fayed allegedly to get back at Hasnat; she never intended for the romance with Dodi to be serious, and, as a matter of fact, when Diana returned from her summer holiday Imran Khan was going to help Hasnat and Diana reconcile. He just never got the chance.
Which brings us to today, and the fact that Diana’s oldest son, William, is now a year older than Diana was when she died that summer of 1997. Imran Khan, a former sports star, is now Prime Minister. (William pointed out that, back in the 1990s, Khan predicted he would be prime minister someday.) And all day, Kate has been dressing in outfits stunningly similar to Diana’s. So, yeah, my head is spinning.
At the meetup with Prime Minister Khan, Kate wore an emerald green tunic by Catherine Walker over cream pants from Pakistani designer Maheen Khan. Kate has become a huge fan of Pakistani jewelry designer Zeen, whose creations she has been wearing heavily leading up to this trip. Kate also wore a printed green scarf by Satrangi.
Before the meetup with Prime Minister Khan, the Cambridges met with Dr. Arif Alvi, the president of Pakistan. They also visited the Islamabad Model College for Girls, where a 14-year-old girl named Aima told William and Kate she was a “big fan” of Diana.
“I was a big fan of my mother, too,” William said.
At that outing, Kate wore a royal blue shalwar kameez, which is the national dress of the country, and a dupatta, again by Maheen Khan.
One program William and Kate learned about at the school was Teach for Pakistan, which helps recruit and encourage graduates and professionals from various fields to become teachers (which sounds strikingly similar to Teach for America here in the States). The visit focused on the power of education, specifically that of girls. Also on Tuesday they visited a school in Margallah Hills at the foot of the Himalayas. There they helped children identify and remove harmful plants that threaten the environment.
For their final engagement of the day, the couple attended a reception hosted by the British High Commissioner at the lotus flower-shaped Pakistan Monument, overlooking Islamabad. They arrived at the party in a colorful rickshaw, and Kate stunned in a sparkly green Jenny Packham dress – another one of her favorite designers. Kate has been and will likely continue to wear a lot of green on this trip in a nod to the flag of Pakistan; I also appreciate how she is wearing a heavy amount of both British designers and Pakistani designers. She is 1,000 percent nailing it.
Side note: I wondered why day one of the tour was so short yesterday. The reason? The couple wanted to be there for George and Charlotte’s school dropoff before departing on the plane to Pakistan and the 4,000-mile flight there. While Mum and Dad are away, who is watching the three Cambridge kids? The kids’ nanny, Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo, and Kate’s parents, Michael and Carole Middleton.
Harry and Meghan were spotted today as well at the WellChild Awards, where Harry got emotional remembering being at the event last year and knowing that his wife was expecting their first child, but no one else did.
“I remember squeezing Meghan’s hand so tight during the awards, both of us thinking what it would be like to be parents one day,” he said. “And more so, what it would be like to do everything we could to protect and help our child should they be born with immediate challenges or become unwell over time. And now, as parents, being here and speaking to all of you pulls at my heartstrings in a way I could have never understood until I had a child of my own.”
Recognize Meghan’s dress? It’s the same one she wore during her engagement interview with Harry in November 2018.