The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were forced to change their schedule on the penultimate day of their Pakistan tour after their plane got caught in a thunderstorm on their way back to Islambad after spending the day in Lahore, on Thursday. The couple stayed at the Pearl Continental Hotel overnight following two aborted landings by the RAF Voyager pilot. British High Commission officials were quick to find the couple a hotel room, along with their entourage, security team and around fifty journalists - almost 100 rooms in total.
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Royal correspondent Rebecca English wrote on Twitter: "Mid-air drama as the RAF Voyager carrying the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had to abandon its landing in Islamabad and return to Lahore due to terrible storms. The pilot tried to land twice, at two different airports, amid horrendous lightening and turbulence, but was forced to return Lahore for safety reasons." She added: "Fortunately William has taken it in his stride - he just came back down the plane to see if we were ok and joked that he was flying!"
Following the frightening experience, Prince William and Kate privately thanked their RAF pilots and praised royal aides and British High Commission officials for immediately coming up with an emergency backup plan. William, 37, also personally insisted that journalists travelling on the royal tour, who were also on the flight, came with them to the hotel.
Earlier on, whilst on board the flight, Prince William checked on travelling media, and made a reference to his time as an air ambulance pilot. "I was flying," he reassuringly joked. One passenger said it was a "pretty serious storm", describing the flight as a "rollercoaster". Another said: "It was pretty hairy at times. The plane was making large jerking movements as we tried to battle through the wind. It was a relief to land safely in Lahore."
Prince William and Kate left Lahore on Friday morning
Royal reporter Emily Andrews tweeted: Prince William came back to check everyone was OK and joked that the extreme turbulence was due to him flying the [plane] (he's an experienced pilot). He also joked we could all go out for a night out in Lahore together! The @RoyalAirForce captain did a great job in [Thunder]."
Their stay at the five-star hotel no doubt surprised guests as they departed on Friday morning. A crowd gathered in the foyer as William and Kate embarked on the last day of their tour. The RAF Voyager landed in Islamabad after midday on Friday - some 18 hours after it was originally scheduled to arrive. The couple's visit to a military post in the Khyber Pass - on the border of Afghanistan - was called off due to lack of time following the unexpected overnight stay.
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