Why William's meeting with Imran Khan will trigger memories of almost 25 years ago, writes Chris Ship

When a young Prince William met Imran Khan many years ago, the famous cricketer said he would one day be Pakistan’s Prime Minister.

William didn’t believe him. He was about 11 years old at the time.

On the second day of their tour,the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travelled to the prime minister’s official residence in Islamabad to meet one Imran Khan.

It’s one of the reasons why the five-day tour William and Kate are undertaking in Pakistan this week will trigger memories from nearly a quarter of a century ago.

Shortly before Diana’s death, Pakistan took an unexpectedly prominent role in the late Princess’s life.

Imran Khan was married to Jemima, a close friend of William's late mother, Diana. Credit: AP

Khan was a family friend who, at that time, was the husband of Princess Diana’s close confidante Jemima Khan, now Jemima Goldsmith.

Diana would often take her two boys, William and Harry, to play at the Goldsmith’s large property in Richmond Park, south-west London.

Jemima’s mother, Annabel Goldsmith, had been in Diana’s life for many years.

She was an almost mother-like figure for Diana and someone she looked up to.

What put Diana and Jemima Khan on a similar path was their choice of partner.

Diana spent the last two years of her life in a relationship with Dr Hasnat Khan, a British-Pakistani heart surgeon, who she met in London.

In fact, they broke up just weeks before her death in Paris in 1997.

Before then, she travelled to Pakistan three times.

With Imran and Jemima, Diana campaigned to raise funds for a children’s cancer hospital in the city of Lahore.

And she also went to meet the parents and family of partner, Hasnat.

Diana wanted to know if she could make her relationship with the surgeon a long-lasting one.

William and Kate are on a five-day tour of Pakistan. Credit: PA

She asked her friend, Jemima for advice on how to make it work - given they were both in relationships men from a different culture.

Diana was even wondering if she could make Pakistan her new home.

So, there will be much for William and Kate to discuss with the country’s prime minister today, aside from the usual conversations about politics and diplomacy.

The Cambridges don’t intend to overly dwell on Princess Diana and her legacy this week.

Yes, it is a legacy he jointly owns with his brother Harry.

And William knows his mother will be remembered for the many good things she did as well as the complex relationships she had.

But the duke and duchess want to forge their own path here and look forward to their own relationship with Pakistan - as well as the UK’s future partnerships here.

It won’t all be about looking back on what happened nearly 25 years earlier.

But most people will forgive William if, on occasions in Pakistan this week, he will pause and remember his mother’s connections with this vibrant country.