William and Kate kick off Pakistan tour with visit to school

The Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to a government-run school in Islamabad Credit: Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror/PA

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited a government-run school in Pakistan’s capital during the first stop in their tour of the country.

William and Kate toured the school in Islamabad, which educates young people between the ages of four and 18.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who are strong advocates of girls' education, were greeted by teachers and children.

Wearing a royal blue traditional kurta and trouser, Kate sat with children in a classroom, as Prince William shook hands with a teacher.

The Duchess of Cambridge meets staff and pupils at the school. Credit: Owen HumphreysPA

According to the United Nations annual Human Development report, most Pakistani girls will drop out after primary school and on average go to school for seven years.

Barely 27% of girls in Pakistan attend secondary school, the report said, compared to nearly 50% among boys.

The royals arrived in Pakistan on Monday night. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA

Taliban militants in Pakistan violently oppose girls' education and shot Malala Yousafzai, now a leading girls' education global activist who attends Oxford University in Great Britain.

Militants in recent years have damaged girls' schools in the northwest, including the Swat Valley which is the home of Yousafzai.

The British High Commission said UK aid in Pakistan has helped more than 5.5 million girls get a quality education since 2011.

The royals with pupils at the school. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA

William spoke about the importance of young people learning about mental health during the visit.

It marked the start of the royal couple’s first full day of engagements after arriving in the Commonwealth country on Monday evening.

The Duchess of Cambridge laughs with pupils. Credit: Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror/PA

The duke is expected later to make a speech at a special reception hosted by the British High Commissioner to Pakistan.

In his address, William is expected to say that the UK will continue to support the Commonwealth country as a “key partner and friend” during a visit which hopes to strengthen ties between the two nations.

The school visit came at the start of a five-day visit to Pakistan. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA

“We share unique bonds and so it will always be in our best interests for Pakistan to succeed,” the duke is expected to say.

“You can always rely on the UK to keep playing an important role as a key partner and friend.”

The five-day visit, at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, will be their “most complex” tour to date, according to Kensington Palace, due to security concerns and political tensions in the region.

The Duchess of Cambridge. Credit: Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror/PA

Details of engagements are being released each day due to security concerns, the palace added.

The tour comes amid heightened political tensions between neighbouring countries Pakistan and India over the disputed region of Kashmir.

Prince William is expected to make a speech later on today after visiting the school. Credit: Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror/PA
The royals talk to school staff. Credit: Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror/PA

Later, the royal couple met Pakistan President Arif Alvi at the Presidential Palace in Islamabad.

The tour, which wraps up on Friday, hopes to strengthen the relationship between the UK and Pakistan.

With Brexit looming, London is aiming to consolidate its international relationships with the visit, while Islamabad is keen to promote itself as a tourist destination amid concerns over security.

The Duke of Cambridge with the Pakistan president Arif Alvi. Credit: Arthur Edwards/The Sun/PA

William and Kate are the first royals to officially visit the Commonwealth country since the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visited the region in 2006 – which was seen as the most perilous royal tour for some time.

It is the first royal visit to Pakistan in 13 years. Credit: Arthur Edwards/The Sun/PA