Prince William is leaving the military after more than seven years of service.
Kensington Palace announced today that he completed his final duties as a search and rescue helicopter pilot with the RAF on Tuesday. According to the palace, he will now focus on royal duties and charity work together with the Duchess of Cambridge. The couple is due to move into a newly refurbished wing of Kensington palace within the next few weeks, along with their baby son Prince George.
Royal watchers have speculated that the next 12 months will be a “transitional” period for William and not the time when he will become a “full time Royal.” William, by joining the military, had carried on a family tradition, but it looks like he is carving out his own path.
During his three-year tour, William took part in 156 search and rescue operations, with 149 people being rescued and logging in 1,300 flying hours. William was known as Flight Lieutenant Wales and was based at RAF Valley on Anglesey. According to the Ministry of Defense, the prince finished his last shift at 9:30am on Tuesday morning and was presented with a small selection of gifts from his fellow SAR aviators, including a plinth-mounted control stick.
He plans to expand his work in the field of conservation, particularly in respect of endangered species, through the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
Kensington Palace said in a statement: “His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge is to leave operational service in the Armed Forces. He completes his Tour with the Royal Air Force Search and Rescue Force at RAF Valley, Anglesey, after more than seven-and-a-half years of full-time military service. He will continue to support the work of the Queen and the Royal Family through a programme of official engagements, both at home and overseas, with The Duchess of Cambridge. The Duke will work closely over the next 12 months with the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. He will expand his work in the field of conservation, particularly in respect of endangered species.”
An announcement will be made about his decision within the next 12 months. Until then, it looks like Prince George will get to see a lot more of his daddy!
Photo credit: Pacific Coast News via Crown Copyright.