Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were hosted by His Highness the Aga Khan on 2 October 2019 at a reception to celebrate Pakistani heritage and culture.
Many notable members of the British Pakistani diaspora were in attendance, including prominent actor Adil Ray, and conceptual artist Rasheed Araeen, who created the Aga Khan Centre’s bespoke installation ‘Rhapsody in Four Colours’.
The High Commissioners from both the British and Pakistani delegations were also amongst the honoured guests.
The Duke and Duchess were greeted by children from the nearby King’s cross Academy, as well as His Highness, upon their arrival on a chilly but bright October morning.
“A wonderful event”
Joanna Roper CMG
To give the royal couple a flavour of Pakistan, staff at the Aga Khan Centre decorated the atrium space with large-scale images taken on location at various Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) project sites, and a drinks stand was designed to look like a traditional Pakistani truck, complete with tassels and adornments.
Tabla virtuoso, Shahbaz Hussain, and flute maestro, Muhammad Noman, played traditional music and Masterchef winner, Saliha Ahmed, designed a menu of modern cuisine inspired by her Pakistani heritage.
Joanna Roper, the Pakistani High Commission’s Special Envoy for Gender Equality, described the “celebration of Pakistani culture” as “a wonderful event” that would set the tone for the royal couple’s visit to Pakistan.
It was fitting for His Highness to play host to the royal couple, given AKDN’s century of work in Pakistan. Naushad Jivrag, President of the Ismaili Council for the UK, noted that the occasion was a celebration of “the longstanding relationship between the Ismaili Imamat and the British Royal family”.
The royal couple were said to have been delighted with the event, which they found relaxed, informal and a wonderful way for them to be introduced to Pakistani culture. The royal couple will be visiting Pakistan on 14 October for a 4-day tour of some of the country’s most notable sites.
Interested in AKDN’s work in Pakistan?
Read the report or watch the video below for an overview of AKDN’s work in Pakistan for over a century.