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Prince William and Kate play cricket and visit children's hospital on royal visit to Pakistan

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge continued their tour of Pakistan in Lahore Thursday with activities including cricket, a visit to a children's hospital, and a stop at a historic mosque. The duchess championed the role of women and mothers as the couple echoed the work of William's mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.

William and Kate visited Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, which Diana twice visited and raised funds for shortly before her death in 1997.

The couple met Wafia Rehmani, an Afghan girl being treated for cancer, who wore matching tiaras with the duchess as she hosted a toy tea party for the royal couple on her hospital bed. Wafia, 7, has a kidney tumor and is on her second round of chemotherapy. Doctors said they are optimistic about her recovery.

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit Lahore
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, meet with cancer patient Wafia Rehmani, 7, while on a visit to Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital in Lahore, Pakistan, on October 17, 2019. Getty

The royal couple also played with 5-year-old Muhammed Sameer, who was being treated at the hospital for Hodgkins lymphoma. When the couple arrived at his bedside they were told the boy, from Attock district in Pakistan, wants to join the army. The duke picked up Muhammed's toy planes and a toy tank. "Do you want to be a soldier?" William asked.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was a close friend of Princess Diana, founded the charity hospital after his mother, Shaukat Khanum, died from cancer in 1985. William and Kate visited with Khan on Tuesday.

Dr. Aasim Yusuf, chief medical officer at the hospital, guided Princess Diana around the hospital for her two visits in 1996 and 1997 and today showed her son around.

Recalling Diana's visits, he said: "We were all struck by how friendly she was. How she was able to put everyone at ease. We were all very nervous about what we should say and what she would ask and how we should address her. The minute she came into the room, she lit up the room obviously and also she was just so friendly and down-to-earth. You could tell that she was genuinely interested in the people she was meeting."

Now showing her son around made him feel "a lot older," he joked. "It's a great honor and a privilege for us to be welcoming Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge today. It's a special honor that they have chosen to come and see our hospital again."

Prince WIlliam and Kate visit Imran Khan in Pakistan

Earlier in the day, the couple visited the SOS Children's Village, a charitable organization supporting over 150 orphaned young girls and boys from babies to age 18.

There, they watched a musical storytelling session, during which one of the children guessed the duke's age as 21. "I'll take 21, that's good!" joked William, who is 37. Afterwards, the couple were invited to celebrate three of the children's birthdays, helping them cut the cake.

In her first speech of the tour, the duchess began in Urdu: "Assalam O Alaikum. Emaan, Ibrahim aur Daniyal apni salgirah pur bulanay ka bohat shukria," which translates as: "Hello, peace be upon you. Thank you for inviting us to your birthday celebration."

She added: "Being here in Pakistan this week, William and I have seen on several occasions how family is at the heart of your culture. ... Here, women who were once vulnerable, now play the most vital of roles as mothers and it is most heartening to see that you are not doing this alone."

Their next stop was the National Cricket Academy, where the couple met some of Pakistan's budding young male and female cricketers.

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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, wields a cricket bat during a visit to the National Cricket Academy in Lahore, Pakistan, on October 17, 2019. Reuters

Both took a turn at batting, with William hitting a six while Kate was caught out twice. Some of Pakistan's biggest cricketing legends also joined the couple, including Waqar Younis, the former captain of the Pakistan cricket team, who was umpiring and was excited to see the couple as he had already met the queen twice.

"I'm glad that they came — it was a great encouragement for these young kids," Younis said. As for their cricket skills, he joked: "They probably need some homework! William told me he has played a lot of tennis — and that he really only played cricket when he was younger. But he said he can work on it!"

William and Kate were also presented with three cricket bats for their children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. William joked about the gift for 18-month-old Louis, saying: "He'll grow into it!"

Later, Kate donned a headscarf as the couple visited the Badshahi Mosque, to the west of the historic Lahore Fort. They were given a history of the building before sitting cross-legged with faith leaders for a group discussion on how they are promoting interfaith harmony within their communities.

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit Lahore
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, visit Badshahi Mosque in Lahore during their royal tour of Pakistan on October 17, 2019. Getty

William is said to have asked a question of the group about how interfaith issues are promoted amongst young people. Dr. Ayesha Leghari, a Sunni Muslim scholar, said afterwards that the couple had been "interested and empathetic listeners," adding, "They were very responsive and very charming."

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