The Duchess debuted a new label and also engaged in some diplomatic dressing for today’s event at the Aga Khan Centre in King’s Cross, London.
Above you see the Aga Khan welcoming Kate and William to the Centre, described as “a place for education, knowledge, cultural exchange and insight into Muslim civilisations.” A video from Richard Palmer of the royals arriving.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet the Aga Khan in London ahead of their visit to Pakistan later this month. Kate is wearing an ARossGirl dress and earrings by Pakistani designer Zeen. pic.twitter.com/f4vyVVb432
— Richard Palmer (@RoyalReporter) October 2, 2019
Some background on the Aga Khan: his full name and title are Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini, Aga Khan IV, KBE, CC. He is the 49th hereditary Imam, or spiritual leader, of 12 to 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims. He is also a philanthropist, businessman, and racehorse owner; he was appointed Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2004. Below, HM and the Aga Khan at a Windsor Castle dinner she hosted to mark his Diamond Jubilee in 2018, celebrating 60 years as the 49th hereditary Imam.
Today’s event was organized in co-operation with the High Commission of Pakistan and the Aga Khan Development Network, one of the largest private charities in the world. An AKDN news release describes the network as “a group of development agencies which has improved living conditions and opportunities for millions of people in Africa, South and Central Asia and the Middle East. Active in over 30 countries, including in some of the world’s most remote regions.
As most will recall, this engagement comes just ahead of the Duke and Duchess’s tour of Pakistan beginning October 14th and running through the 18th.
The Centre in London is also home to the Aga Khan Foundation, the Aga Khan University’s Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations, and the Institute of Ismaili Studies. All are described as working to promote cultural understanding and to connect the public to global development issues.
At the event, the couple met a variety of people, including business and community leaders.
Below, the royals are introduced to ‘Naughty Boy’ (the stage name of Shahid Khan, seen lower left ), a songwriter, producer, and DJ born to Pakistani parents just outside London. The PA reports “he thanked the couple for choosing two of his songs for the Heads Together charity campaign in 2016”. In the center, tabla virtuoso Shahbaz Hussain (tabla are small hand drums).
Dr. Saliha Mahmood Ahmed, winner of the BBC’s Masterchef show in 2017 was among the guests and there was quite a conversation about cuisine. Below left, Dr. Mahmood Ahmed in a photo she shared on social media. More from this Press Association story:
The duchess told Dr Mahmood Ahmed she liked spicy food, adding that Princess Charlotte was “pretty good” with heat.
Kate also expressed difficulty in cooking curry as a family, explaining the couple’s three children – Charlotte, Prince George and Prince Louis – usually have theirs with no spice.
“It’s so hard cooking curry in the family, the children have a portion with no spice, yours (the duke’s) is medium, and I quite like it hot,” she said.
Another photo shared by the chef.
The award-winning chef and doctor wrote about today’s reception:
My heart is full of joy today. It was one of the most memorable of my life. I had the privilege of meeting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton and at an event hosted by the magnificent philanthropist himself, His Highness Aga Khan, a kind and generous soul whose aura and charisma filled the room with joy.
I was quite astounded that William and Kate actually like watching @masterchefuk in their busy schedules and even watched some of the 2017 series when I won.
Also at the event, boxer Haroon Khan, seen lower left; comedian, actress, and writer Shazia Mirza is seen in the blue dress.
Now for our look at what Kate wore, a diplomatic display ahead of the Pakistan tour. We start with her dress; a shade that is undoubtedly a nod to the primary color of Pakistan’s flag, green.
The piece is part of a collaborative collection from Aross Girl and Soler London. Aross Girl is the line from former Harper’s Bazaar editor Amanda Ross and Soler is the creation of Barcelona-born, London-based designer Alex Al-Bader. The capsule is exclusive to online retailer Net-a-Porter.
Kate’s design is the Amanda style ($556). Crafted of silk georgette, it is maxi-length and features a round neckline with gathers, elasticated waist, self-belt, sheer sleeves, and cuffs with tie fasteners that create a blouson effect. Fully lined, the dress does not have a zipper but slips on over the head.
A closer look at the sash/belt. As one might expect the Amanda is a signature piece for ARoss, offered in different fabrics and lengths.
Thoughts on today’s look from The Telegraph’s Bethan Holt:
The Duchess took the opportunity to make what seemed to be a bold statement of intent about a new tourdrobe strategy to reflect the evolution of her wardrobe in the past year.”
She’d taken her usual midi/knee length down a few inches so that the dress hit at the ankle bone while the sleeves reached to just above her wrist, achieving modesty befitting of a visit to a religious leader.
The Evening Standard noted that “While this is the first time Kate has opted to wear the brand, it is a favourite of the Countess of Wessex, who was most recently spotted wearing a polka-dot midi dress from the collaboration in July this year.”
The heels are a classic point-toe style with a 4.5″ heel; the clutch measures roughly 5″ x 8″ and has a magnetic snap closure. Both items are made of kid suede in a color called ‘greenery.’
Kate wore her hair down with a very loose curl.
Her earrings are by Zeen, the Dazzling Ceramic Drops ($8).
Zeen is a relatively new brand, launched in 2014 by Cambridge, a Pakistan-based retailer.
We’ll leave you with one more photo.
This 1:30 video from the.ismaili is all nat sound offering a good look at the reception.
This piece from TV24 News runs about 30-seconds and covers the couple’s arrival.
ITN’s Royal Family Channel has 5 minutes+ in this video.