William and Kate enjoy colourful welcome in Pakistan mountain settlement
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been given a colourful welcome to a settlement of the Kalash people on their tour of Pakistan.
William and Kate watched a traditional dance and were presented with vibrantly coloured hats and scarves, with the duchess’s headwear featuring a large fuschia feather.
The couple made the journey to the Hindu Kush mountains in northern Pakistan to learn about the community and its heritage and traditions.
The Kalash people are a non-Muslim minority population whose religion predates Islam.
They are culturally and ethnically distinct descendants of Indo-Aryan tribes.
William and Kate sat on a wall in the village square, surrounded by local children, as they watched the celebrations.
The couple also visited a village destroyed by flooding in 2015, and met survivors of the disaster.
They travelled to Bumburet, in the Chitral region, where they watched an emergency response drill which included demonstrations of how members of the community carry casualties over a river.
They spoke with Diana – a young woman from the area who was named after William’s mother Diana, Princess of Wales.
Through a translator, it was explained after the duke and duchess had left that Diana’s grandmother travelled to Chitral to meet the princess during her visit in 1991.
“Princess Diana was visiting at around the time she was born, which is why she got named Diana,” the translator said. “And now her son is now William.
“Her grandmother went to meet Princess Diana in Chitral, her mum was unable to travel because she was expecting her.”
The young woman is part of an emergency response team of volunteers – now funded by UK aid – who saved lives in 2015.
Earlier William said more education, awareness and political action was needed to tackle climate change as he and Kate visited a melting glacier.
The duke and duchess overlooked the northern tip of the Chiatibo Glacier in Broghil National Park, and were shown how it has retreated rapidly in recent years due to global warming.
It was the first time the couple had seen a melting glacier.
Accompanied by glacier expert Furrukh Bashir, the duke said communities “vulnerable to change” needed “more education, more awareness and political action”.
“The young are starting to get engaged in it,” he said, adding that a “positive conversation” around climate change was required.
His geography background was also mentioned during the visit in the snowy mountain peaks, prompting amusement.
The duke said: “Dr Warren, my geography teacher, would be well impressed that I’m back at a glacier after all these years.”
“I’ve been very impressed by William’s geography,” a smiling Kate said.
Glaciers in the mountain range – which joins together the Hindu Kush, Karakoram and the Himalayas – provide water for 1.6 billion people.
Global warming has seen the Chiatibo Glacier retreat by 10 metres a year due to higher temperatures melting the ice.
The royal party arrived by helicopter to the remote location in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province.
Kate followed in Diana’s footsteps when she was presented with a traditional Chitrali hat and embroidered coat, just like the princess was in 1991.
William, who also received a hat and coat, was given a book commemorating his mother’s visit 28 years ago.