- Rachel Burchfield
Kensington Royal Tour: Day 4 ends in terrifying fashion
Were it not for a quick thinking and capable pilot, today’s blog post could have turned even more terrifying than it already is to write these words.
William and Kate were flying from Lahore – where they had been all day doing engagements – to their home base in Islamabad when a terrifying electrical storm hit. Lightning struck violently and the duke and duchess’ plane bumped and rolled side to side. The flight, which was only to take 25 minutes, took two hours, and the plane – an RAF Voyager – ultimately could not land in Islamabad despite attempts at two different airports; they were forced to divert back to Lahore.
William – an experienced pilot himself – joked after landing in Lahore that he was the one flying the plane.
Absolutely terrifying – and so grateful everyone is okay.
As frightening as the day ended, it began joyfully as the couple visited SOS Children’s Village in Lahore, a charity that provides a home and family structure to over 150 boys and girls. While there, they celebrated the birthdays of three children – Iman, turning 12; Ibrahim, turning six; and Daniyal, turning eight. They played music, games, and ate traditional Pakistani cakes before singing “Happy Birthday” to the special three. At the event, Kate wore a cream shalwar kameez by Gul Ahmed and a shawl by new favorite designer Maheem Khan.
Kate gave her first speech of the tour, which she began in Pakistan’s native language, Urdu.
“Assalam O Alaikum. Iman, Ibrahim, aur Daniyal apni salgirah pur bulanay ka bohat shukira. (Hello. Peace be upon you. Iman, Ibrahim, and Daniyal, thank you for inviting us to your birthday celebration.) We have been really moved and touched by what we have seen and by the happy home you have made. I’m aware that many of you have experienced extremely difficult times in your lives. But it is inspiring to see how you have used your strength and positivity to help transform the lives of so many young children here. Being here in Pakistan this week, William and I have seen on several occasions how family is at the heart of your culture. Parents, children, aunts, uncles, grandparents all play important roles – you have reminded us exactly what family means. You have shown us too that it is not simply a term that describes the relationship between blood relatives. Instead it describes those special bonds we share with those who make us feel safe and supported. It is the quality of those relationships that matters. Earlier this year I talked about the fact that it takes a village to raise a child. The village we have seen here today is the best representation of that ideal that I could have possibly imagined. Together as a village you are transforming children’s lives and providing them with strong foundations to support all their families. You have created a home where children are giving the love, protection, and support that will enable them to have a fairer chance in life. Here women who were once vulnerable now play the most vital of roles as mothers and it is most heartening to see that you are not doing this alone.”
From there, William and Kate went to the National Cricket Academy and played a game of cricket there. Cricket is Pakistan’s national sport and it is especially popular in Lahore. Kate, a natural sportswoman, seemed to have a great time.
Continually keeping Diana’s memory alive, it was on to a mosque and cancer hospital that Diana visited during her trips to Pakistan in the 1990s. In a moment that made me choke up, Kate and a young patient, Wafia, wore matching plastic tiaras as the little girl hosted a tea party for the Cambridges from her hospital bed.
At the Badshadi mosque, William and Kate toured the mosque and the courtyard before joining a discussion with faith leaders to talk about how they promote interfaith harmony. Kate wore another shalwar kameez, this time a turquoise French chiffon one with gold embroidery. Her headscarf was by Maheen Khan. She was barefoot.
Tomorrow is the last day of the Kensington Royal Tour. Praying for good weather and safe flights as they travel back home to London. We’ll recap day five tomorrow.