Malala invited to Buckingham Palace to meet queen

Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, shot last year by the Taliban for campaigning for girls’ schooling, has been invited to a Buckingham Palace reception to meet Queen Elizabeth II, officials said Sunday.

The queen and her husband Prince Philip will host the event promoting education in Commonwealth countries on October 18.

“We understand that Malala Yousafzai will be attending the Commonwealth Universities and Education Reception at Buckingham Palace,” a palace spokesman said.

Academics and teachers will be among the guests at the October 18 event.

The announcement is the latest in a series of impressive accolades for Malala’s campaign for girls’ schooling.

The 16-year-old is also among the favourites to win the Nobel Peace Prize, which will be revealed on October 11.

On Tuesday, meanwhile, Malala will publish her autobiography “I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban”.

Malala’s first thought was “Thank God I’m not dead” as she woke up terrified in a British hospital after a Taliban gunman shot her in the head, according to extracts from the book published in the Sunday Times newspaper.

The schoolgirl added that she was unable to talk, had no idea where she was and was unsure even of her own name when she emerged from a coma after six days.

The last thing she recalled on October 9, 2012, the day she was shot, was sitting with her friends on a bus as it rounded an army checkpoint on the way to school in the insurgent-riddled Swat Valley in northwest Pakistan.

Friends told her that a masked gunman boarded the bus, asked “Who is Malala?” and then lifted a gun to her head and fired.

Gravely wounded, the Pakistani schoolgirl was flown to Britain for surgery. She returned to school in England last March after recovering from her injuries.