Why Kate Middleton and Prince William Ended Their Pakistan Tour Surrounded by Puppies
The royal couple returned to Islamabad to conclude their Pakistan tour on Friday, about 18 hours after the plane was scheduled to land. Terrifying electrical storms battered their Airbus A330 RAF Voyager jet, forcing them to return to Lahore, where they had spent Thursday, after aborted landings at two airports near Islamabad.
The couple, whose Cocker Spaniel Lupo was the first new member of their household before they welcomed their three children, enjoyed the chance to take yellow Labrador puppies called Sky and Salto out on an agility course.
The royals were at the Army Canine Centre in Islamabad, which mirrors the U.K. Defense Animal Training Centre in the English Midlands. In a relationship that goes back a decade, Britain has been helping the Pakistan Counter Improvised Explosive Device program as it aims to take on the ongoing security challenges of the region.
Part of that alliance with the U.K. is the breeding and training of dogs to identify explosives. Pakistani officers say the dog program has been a huge success, finding 19 tons of explosives and 700 homemade bombs in the past three years. Bomb incidents have fallen 30 percent since 2015.
“The whole week we have been hearing about security in Pakistan and it’s really brought home to Catherine and I the importance of the relationship between the UK and Pakistan,” William told reporters, before adding that people don’t generally realize the huge importance of the relationship or the effort that goes into sustaining it. “A lot of lives have been lost by the Pakistanis in securing large parts of this country over the years and those sacrifices from the Pakistanis should be acknowledged. It’s been a huge, huge undertaking for them.
WATCH: Breaking Down Why William and Kate Made an Official Visit to Pakistan
“Actually what happens here in Pakistan directly correlates to what happens on the streets of the U.K.,” he added. “We are involved with the Pakistanis for a very good reason, it will actually keep people safe back in the U.K.”
Kate said they were “hugely grateful” to the RAF pilots and crew who looked after the Royal couple on their aborted flight from Lahore to Islamabad on Thursday night.
“It was bumpy up there,” Kate told reporters on Friday. “But we were looked after so wonderfully by the RAF, who did a great job liaising with everyone and got us home safely. So I’m hugely grateful to everyone.”
The royal mom wore a black Beulah London Papilio jacket over a white pants ensemble with flats for the final outing.
“She is a wonderful British ambassador and looks so elegant and chic in our Papilio coat today,” Natasha Rufus Isaacs, co-founder of Beulah label, tells PEOPLE.