THE Duke and Duchess of Cambridge walked in Princess Diana’s footsteps when they visited the stunning mountains of northern Pakistan today.
William and Kate were given a ceremonial welcome when they landed at Chitral airport to refuel en route to a glacier in the Hindu Kush. The royal couple were given traditional Chitrali caps – the regimental caps of the Chitral Scouts, part of the Pakistani army. Diana was pictured in a similar cap when she visited the region in 1991.
Men wear the traditional hats but Kate, 37, was given one as a VIP. She was also given a shawl, while William received an embroidered cloak
He and Kate travelled to the stunning mountains of northern Pakistan in an effort to throw the international spotlight on the stark effects that climate change and global warming on the communities that call the region home.
They wanted to focus on initiatives equipping inhabitants of the region with the tools they need to adjust to the changing landscape and weather patterns of the area.
The future King and Queen went to the remote Chiatibo Glacier in Broghil National Park, situated in the Chitral District of Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province.
Kate Middleton donned a hat similar to that worn by Diana (Image REUTERS)
They walked around the northern tip of the glacier to see how it has retreated in recent years as a result of global warming.
It was the first time the Duke and Duchess had seen a melting glacier. Aides said they hoped their visit would shine a light on the very real consequences of global warming, and its devastating effects on our planet.
William, 37, said “more education, more awareness and political action” was needed to tackle climate change.
In between the snowy peaks of the mountain range, 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 degree was also mentioned during the engagement, prompting amusement from the couple.
Princess of Wales wears a Chitrali hat and embroidered coat during her visit in 1991 (Image PA)
William 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.
William appeared eager learn more about the glacier, asking expert Dr Furrukh Bashir about the glacier’s size and flooding.
He asked: “Do the glaciers flood at any time of year?”
The Duchess wore a long taupe-coloured skirt and a darker coloured shirt under a leather vest for the visit.
Kate Middleton and Prince William are on day 3 of the royal tour of Pakistan (Image REUTERS)
Kate Middleton was wearing a traditional Chitrali cap (Image REUTERS)
Kate Middleton and William were in the remote Chiatibo Glacier in Broghil National Park (Image REUTERES)
Duke and Duchess are following in Diana’s footsteps by visiting the same region she did in 1991 (Image PA)
She opted for flat knee-high brown boots suitable for the rocky terrain, and accessorised with gold earrings and a beige pashmina, while William wore a teal shirt and beige chino trousers.
They arrived by helicopter to the remote location in the Chitral district in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province.
Glaciers in the mountain range which joins together in northern Pakistan – the Hindu Kush, Karakoram and the Himalayas – provide water for 1.6 billion people.
There are more than 5,000 reasonable sized glaciers in the area but nearly 70% of them are retreating, according to Dr Bashir, of the Pakistan Meteorological Department.
A glacier – made of highly compressed snow, which turns to ice – needs more snowmelt than snowfall and low temperatures found at a high altitude, he said.
Global warming has seen the Chiatibo Glacier retreat by some 10 metres per annum due to higher temperatures melting the ice.
Kate opted for flat knee-high brown boots suitable for the rocky terrain, and accessorised with gold earrings (Image REUTERS)
The first threat from the glacier melting is flooding to communities down stream, while the second is removing the water supply completely – which provides for 200 million people in Pakistan.
“Scientific communities have agreed global warming is causing glacial retreat,” Dr Bashir said.
“These glaciers are retreating and telling you that climate change is real, global warming is real.
“A quarter of humanity are dependent on these glaciers.”
The duchess wore a long taupe-coloured skirt and a darker coloured shirt under a leather vest for the visit (Image REUTERS)
In a speech on Tuesday evening, the Duke urged the UK and Pakistan to “work together” amid an “impending global catastrophe” over climate change.
On the visit of the royal couple, Dr Bashir said: “They are highly influential people and they have a permanent position.
“If we convince them that this is happening because of climate change, global warming, greenhouse gases.
“Hopefully they will advocate to reverse global warming and climate change.”
Following the glacier excursion, the couple will remain in the region to meet with communities affected by climate change.
They are expected to watch emergency response drills in a village in Chitral, which saw extensive damage from flooding in 2015.
Source: EXPRESS CO UK