The royal itinerary had to be reshuffled after William and Kate flew into a terrifying lightning storm over Islamabad on Thursday

By Simon Perry
October 18, 2019 04:47 AM

Kate Middleton and Prince William arrived back in Islamabad on Friday morning — about 18 hours after they were meant to land.

The royal couple previously attempted to fly to the Pakistani capital on Thursday night but were forced to turn back to the city of Lahore after terrifying electrical storms battered their Airbus A330 RAF Voyager jet.

Kate said she and William were “hugely grateful” to the RAF pilot and crew who looked after the royal couple on their aborted flight.

Kate, who wore a flowing black and white tunic over fitted white pants, told reporters on Friday, “We were looked after so wonderfully by the RAF who did a great job. Hugely grateful to everyone”

“I think it was quite an adventure really, it was pretty bumpy up there. We were looked after so wonderfully by the RAF who did a great job liaising with everyone and got us home safely.”

Kate Middleton departs from Lahore Airport
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Prince William and Kate Middleton depart from Lahore Airport
PA Wire/PA Images

The aborted flight — which normally takes 25 minutes — ended up lasting about two hours as the plane returned to Lahore after trying to land at two airports near Islamabad.

“Those big flashes are the RAF Voyager, carrying William, Kate and traveling media, going through [lightning] – two aborted landings at Islamabad due to the storm and we’re back in Lahore,” tweeted Press Association reporter Emma Louise Bowden.

The couple’s staff and the British High Commission officials hastily rearranged their schedule after the aborted landing, with William and Kate, both 37, carrying out a private engagement in Lahore on Friday morning.

Kate Middleton and Prince William
Peter Nicholls - Pool/Getty Images

The royals left the city on Friday around lunchtime and planned to continue with one of their previously-scheduled visits in Islamabad later. The couple are set to visit a program that trains military dogs to detect explosive devices.

Earlier, William and Kate surprised excited guests in the five-star Pearl Continental hotel when they strolled through the lobby to their official car in order to begin their re-arranged day.

Some of their engagements have had to be canceled because of the travel disruption. They had been due to fly over the Khyber Pass area in the west of the country where Pakistan meets Afghanistan and visit a border post.

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