Will and Kate to be guarded by 1,000-officer ‘ring of steel’ for Pakistan visit

Kate Middleton and Prince William will be protected by a huge 'ring of steel' consisting of 1,000 police officers when they visit Pakistan next week.

The royals will be afforded an unprecedented level of security during their five-day trip which seeks to forge closer links between the UK and the Commonwealth's second largest country.

Details of the trip are tightly guarded and will only be revealed to local media at the last minute, emphasising concerns about a possible security threat from Islamic militants.

The Palace described it as one of the most difficult royal tours undertaken by the Cambridges in a statement released ahead of the trip.

William, 37 and Kate arrive on Monday and will travel to the mountainous north, the capital Islamabad and the city of Lahore, with a focus on climate change, access to education and security.

During the visit, they will also meet the Oxford-educated Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan.

The former cricketer had a close friendship with Princess Diana and has known William for most of his life.

William and Kate, 37, have left their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, behind for this visit.

It will be the first visit to Pakistan by members of the royal family in more than a decade, after royal heir Prince Charles and his wife Camilla in 2006.

The visit, at the request of the British foreign office, represents a soft power push, foreign policy experts and officials say.

"This is the most complex tour undertaken by the duke and duchess to date, given the logistical and security considerations," their communications secretary said.

"This is a goodwill visit, and they want to promote good relations between Pakistan, England and our new generation," Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters.

Particularly important, officials and members of the tourism industry say, is the chance for Pakistan to revive international tourism, once heavily dependent on British visitors but almost wiped out after the 9/11 attacks and a series of suicide attacks.

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