Queen's Plane Aborts Landing After Lightning Storm on Way to Jubilee

Queen Elizabeth II's private plane was forced to abort its planned landing in London on Tuesday after it encountered a lightning storm, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.

The queen, who had been staying for a brief period on her Scottish Balmoral estate before a busy weekend of events marking her Platinum Jubilee, was flying from Aberdeen to Royal Air Force base RAF Northolt in North West London when it encountered high winds, rain, hail and lightning.

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson confirmed to the Daily Mail that the queen's plane had an aborted landing attempt but that there were no safety concerns for the 96-year-old monarch.

The newspaper reports that the queen's private jet then circled London and the surrounding areas for 15 minutes before a suitable break in the weather made a successful landing attempt possible.

Queen Elizabeth Plane Aborts Landing Platinum Jubilee
Queen Elizabeth II photographed at last public appearance for the Chelsea Flower Show, May 23, 2022. A private plane carrying the queen from Scotland to London for her Jubilee celebrations was forced to abort a landing attempt after flying into a lightning storm. James Whatling/WPA Pool/Getty Images

The queen had journeyed to her Scottish home on Thursday, May 26 and stayed for five nights, though it is believed that she did not use the grand Balmoral Castle designed by her great-great-grandfather Prince Albert in 1856 while she was there, instead using a smaller home on the estate called Craigowan Lodge.

The lodge has been a favorite residence with the queen and her family members throughout her historic 70-year reign. In the early years of their marriage, Prince Charles and Princess Diana spent weekends at the lodge with their young family.

The queen has also loaned the lodge to her daughter Princess Anne who spent her wedding night there in 1992, and also to her cousins the Duke and Duchess of Kent who have also spent holidays there.

It was reported earlier this year that a lift had been installed at the lodge which came after the queen's increasing mobility issues caused her to cancel appearances at high profile royal engagements such as the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey.

The monarch's short holiday before the four days of planned celebrations for her Platinum Jubilee, the first event of its kind in the British monarchy's thousand-year history, has been seen by some as a way for the queen to rest after Buckingham Palace confirmed she continues to experience "episodic mobility problems."

Though the schedule of Jubilee events, including a special Trooping the Colour parade and balcony appearance as well as a pageant, pop concert and service of thanksgiving, have been planned with the queen's attendance in mind, she may choose to send representatives in her place to avoid risking exhaustion or injury.

Craigowan Lodge Princess Diana Prince Charles
The Craigowan Lodge (L) photographed June 30, 1993. And Charles with Diana (R) photographed May 6, 1981. The queen is reported to have stayed at Craigowan Lodge on the Balmoral estate previously used by Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

In a new working model which has been adopted since the pandemic and the queen's experiencing a series of health scares last fall, the monarch's diary is not published in advance and her attendance at events is not confirmed before her arrival. This sees the queen's attendance dependent on how she feels on the day in consultation with her medical team.

In May, the queen made two surprise appearances at events after pulling out of the State Opening of Parliament on medical grounds which saw Prince Charles read the monarch's speech for the first time.

The queen surprised royal watchers when she attended the opening of London's newest railway tube line named in her honor, the "Elizabeth Line," with son Prince Edward, and again made an unexpected appearance at the opening of the Chelsea Flower Show during which she was driven around in a new golf cart dubbed the "Queenmobile."

After successfully landing at RAF Northolt on Tuesday, the queen was driven to Windsor Castle which she has made her permanent base of operations since the pandemic.

The first Jubilee event the queen is expected to attend is the Trooping the Colour ceremony on Thursday after which will be a balcony appearance with members of the royal family who undertake official duties on behalf of the monarch. This stipulation, which is new to this year's balcony plans, rules out Prince Andrew, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle from standing alongside the queen at the palace on Thursday.

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