The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit Pakistan this Autumn, becoming the first members of the royal family to travel there for 13 years. William and Kate and their entourage are likely to undergo hostile environment training before making the trip, which is expected to last around a week.
In a statement, Kensington Palace said: "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will undertake an official visit to Pakistan at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The visit will take place in the Autumn." The tour is a major diplomatic event for the couple and a sign of their growing seniority within the royal family.
The royal couple are heading to Pakistan later this year
It follows William's five-day visit to Jordan, Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories last year. The Foreign Office currently advises British visitors to Pakistan to be vigilant against terrorist attacks and the risk of kidnapping and warns against all travel to several parts of the country, including the southern city of Peshawar.
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But in a sign that the threat may be easing, British Airways last month resumed direct flights to Islamabad more than a decade after halting the service following a deadly bomb attack in the city.
Speaking at a British Council event in the city last month, British Deputy High Commissioner Richard Crowder described relations between Pakistan and Britain as "friendly and deep".
William and Kate will not be taking their children on tour
The Duke and Duchess are following in the footsteps of the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, who visited Pakistan in 2006 despite the high threat from terrorism and sectarian violence there.
They visited the capital, Islamabad, as well as areas devastated by the 2005 earthquake, in which more than 75,000 people were killed and more than 2.5 million were left homeless.
Their visit came amid heightened security in the wake of the July 7 2005 terror attacks in London, after it emerged that two of the suicide bombers had undergone training in Pakistan.
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Kate will be required to dress modestly during the visit – the Foreign Office recommends visitors cover their shoulders and legs in public, while women should cover their heads when entering mosques or other holy places, or travelling in rural areas. She may opt to wear the salwar-kameez, a long shift over trousers, which is the national dress of Pakistan.
Diana photographed with Imran Khan and his wife Jemima in Pakistan in 1997
Following the announcement below the High Commissioner for Pakistan, Mohammad Nafees Zakaria, said: “The Government and the people of Pakistan warmly welcome the announcement of the Royal Visit by Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Pakistan this year. The people of Pakistan still cherish and fondly recall the visits of Her Majesty The Queen to Pakistan during 1961 and 1997. The upcoming Royal Visit is a reflection of the importance the United Kingdom attaches to its relations with Pakistan. The two countries enjoy historical links which both sides wish to strengthen further.”