Kate Middleton and Prince William Visit Children's Cancer Hospital Visited by Princess Diana

Prince William retraced some of the steps of his late mother Princess Diana when he and wife Kate Middleton visited a cancer hospital in Pakistan on Thursday.

The couple headed to the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital in Lahore, which Diana visited in the last years of her life.

Founded by former cricketer Imran Khan in memory of his mother, the hospital was a focus for Diana. She made a trip in 1996 and then another just three months before she died in 1997. William and Kate’s visit comes two days after the couple met Prime Minister Imran Khan, who shared memories of Diana with the couple.

While the visits Diana made were to help Khan with ongoing fundraising for the cancer clinic, she also had other motives for visiting Pakistan in the last two years of her life. The princess was in love with Pakistani heart surgeon Dr. Hasnat Khan, who she had met in London and was secretly dating until the summer of 1997.

Kate Middleton and Prince William

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“Diana went to Pakistan to help raise funds for Imran’s hospital, but both times she also went to meet his family secretly to discuss the possibility of marriage to Hasnat.,” Khan’s ex-wife Jemima Goldsmith told Vanity Fair in 2013.

Princess Diana at the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital  in 1997
Princess Diana cradles sick children during a visit to the hospital in 1996

During their outing on Thursday, William and Kate visited the children’s ward to spend time with patients undergoing treatment at the hospital, and spoke to families.

The royal parents played with 5-year-old Muhammad Samir in the chemotherapy ward of the hospital. Samir is being treated for Hodgkins Lymphoma. William played with the little boy’s fishing game as the pair competed to hook fish.

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Wafia Rehmani, 7, wore matching toy tiaras with Kate as she hosted a toy tea party on her bed. Wafia, who is from over the border in Afghanistan, has a kidney tumor. She wants to be a doctor and also showed the royal couple her toy medical set.

When Princess Diana visited the children’s cancer hospital, she was shown around by Dr Aasim Yusuf. He also toured the cancer unit to William and Kate.

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Prince William and Princess Kate have been in Pakistan since Monday evening and their tour will see them covering 620 miles as they build “a lasting friendship with the people of Pakistan,” their spokesman says. Before they head home on Friday they hope to have showcased the “dynamic, aspirational and forward-looking nation . . . and Pakistan’s rich culture, its diverse communities, and its beautiful landscapes.”

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