Prince William to swap armed forces for royal duties

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge The royal couple attended the inaugural Tusk Conservation Awards in London on Thursday

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Prince William is to leave the military after more than seven years of service, Kensington Palace has announced.

The Duke of Cambridge completed his final shift as an RAF search and rescue pilot on Tuesday.

He will now focus on royal duties and charity work together with the Duchess of Cambridge, a palace spokesman said.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George are expected to move from their Anglesey home to Kensington Palace within the next few weeks.

BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt tweeted that royal officials said the next 12 months would be "transitional" for Prince William. He will not become a "full time royal" at this stage, they said.

Conservation work

The duke, with the Duchess of Cambridge, will continue to support the work of the Queen and the Royal Family through a programme of official engagements - both at home and overseas, the palace added.

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.

Prince William, a cautious royal, has bought himself some more time.

He's second in line to the throne, not the heir, and he's in no rush to become what he once called a "royal ornament".

So, with his military career at an end, the talk is of this being a period of transition and not the moment when William becomes a full time royal.

He's keen to take on what's being called "public service". Other Windsors have tried to escape their inherited straitjacket.

Past plans which never saw the light of day have included Prince Philip working down a mine and Prince Charles working in a factory, becoming Governor General of Australia or Ambassador to France.

But as William adjusts to family life - and life away from the RAF - he knows he has now taken one more "Prince George" sized baby step towards embracing his destiny.

The foundation has partnered with seven of the world's most influential conservation organisations under United for Wildlife, a long-term commitment to preserve the world's natural resources.

Prince William said: "The threats to our natural heritage are extensive, but I believe that this collaboration of the best minds in conservation will provide the impetus for a renewed commitment and action to protect endangered species and habitats for future generations.

"At the root of the illegal wildlife trade, for example, is the demand for products that require the deaths of tens of thousands of these animals every year, pushing them further towards extinction.

"We must work together to prevent this catastrophe and allow our children the opportunity to experience wildlife in its many beautiful and varied forms."

The duke recorded two public messages in London on Thursday focusing on reducing demand for rhino horn and ivory. They will air globally later this year.

The duke and duchess attended the inaugural Tusk Conservation Awards at the Royal Society in London on Thursday evening.

In a speech to guests, Prince William started by joking about spending his first night away from baby son Prince George.

"As you might have gathered, Catherine and I have recently become proud parents - of a baby who has a voice to match any lion's roar," he said.

"This is actually our first evening out without him, so please excuse us if you see us nervously casting cheeky glances at our mobile phones to check all is well back home.

The duke continued: "Like any new parents, our thoughts inevitably turn to the world that our child will inherit.

"It is unfathomable to imagine a world in which children who have been born in the past couple of months may grow up in a world in which rhinoceros have ceased to exist in the wild."

'Immensely special'

The palace said the duke was considering a number of options for public service and will make a further announcement in due course.

Tuesday's final RAF shift brought to an end a three-year posting on Anglesey for the prince.

Kensington Palace Kensington Palace has undergone renovations ahead of the family's arrival

In an interview for the BBC Wales documentary Helicopter Rescue, he said: "There's no greater feeling than when you've actually done some good and saved someone's life.

"I don't think there's any greater calling in life... to be able to see a son or daughter's face when you bring their mother or father back from the edge of death - it's quite powerful."

The head of the RAF, Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford, praised the duke's work in the air force.

Sir Andrew said Flight Lieutenant Wales had been an "integral" part of the RAF's search and rescue force, "often in the most demanding of conditions, [he] has contributed directly to saving lives in the mountains of North Wales and from the ravages of the Irish Sea.

He added: "He has earned the respect of all who have worked with him as a highly professional and competent pilot."

In a speech at the Anglesey Show in August, the duke thanked the island's people for being so welcoming to him and his wife.

Flight Lieutenant Wales

  • 1,301 total flying hours with the RAF
  • 3 years in search and rescue
  • 156 operations
  • 149 people rescued

"I know that I speak for Catherine when I say that I have never in my life known somewhere as beautiful and as welcoming as Anglesey," he said.

"I know that both of us will miss it terribly when my search and rescue tour of duty comes to an end next month and we have to move elsewhere.

"From the bottom of my heart, thank you for making my wife and me so welcome when we arrived here, as you do thousands of visitors each year."

He said the island had been their first home together and would always be an "immensely special place for us both".

Though their main home will be the newly refurbished Kensington Palace, the royal couple are also expected to take up their country retreat Anmer Hall on the Queen's private Sandringham estate in Norfolk later this year.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    An awful lot of money has been invested in training this man (he is just a man like us after all) and now he is to retire. I fail to see the benefits. I have absolutely no malice however I would like to see the monarchy abolished in my lifetime.

  • rate this

    Comment number 106.

    Stay in the armed forces, otherwise you will lose the title of being the royal we have most respect for.

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    I'm pretty proud of our future Monarch, he's served in our armed forces and is now taking up the full time role in supporting our Queen where he'll learn how to be a great Monarch. We should all be appluading him.

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    Thank you for your service Prince William. Good luck for the future.

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    So Kate and him are NEETs then. Sounds like a tough life which none of us can vote him out of. We will never have an equal society until one of the top jobs is open to all and not just who your parents happened to be.

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    I'm no royalist, but can see the logic in this. At some point he is going to be King and it makes sense to prepare in advance. I would have liked to see him stay in the RAF longer, but he has by no means had it easy going through training, exercises & work that SAR & other roles involve (speaking from family experience of the RAF).

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    In other words, a job on easy street. What a scrounger. People on here saying a president would cost more money; what nonsense, pure supposition. What about real democracy? What about undue privilege at the expense of hard working people like me, working in the NHS just about affording to live? Yeah, great system. Don't worry, Willy, we'll cover your costs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    43. rogerout ...I agree with what you saying, but could you perhaps change "England" to "Britain"?

    Yours sincerely,

    everyone in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (who, believe it or not also serve in the BRITISH armed forces).

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    Just now
    I think Prince William should continue in his military career for a few more years yet! I dont see the need for him to take on full-time royal duties until the day Charles becomes King!


    We don't know if Charles will be King yet

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    The dull tone of the Anti-Monarchists.
    William has rescued 149 people during his service. Ask them if it was a waste of money training him. He is a great role model for the younger generations


  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    sounds like he has a nice little job lined up for him?Is it zero contract hours on minimum wage,with no job security,and no prospects?

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    All you moaners! Why not ask yourselves the Kennedy question? What have I done for my country? Then, perhaps, you'll be in a position to question others who HAVE! Don't ask...... I did more than my share!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    Was he ever in it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    Good for him- he has done far more to serve his country than anyone would have expected of him. Now he has a wife and family these need to be his focus. I wish him all the best and as an ordinary person would thank him for his service.

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.

    How can people knock him for flying Search and Rescue? I suggest they go to Snowdonia and see how safe and nice it is when the wind is gusting and visibility is zero. Not a job for the faint hearted!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 92.

    I feel a little sad for him. I may well understand the need for this shift in his responsibilities, but I am sure that he will miss having such a hands-on role. I think his tour of duty in Anglesey is perhaps the closest he will ever come to having a 'normal' life and I wish him every success in his future role/roles.

  • Comment number 91.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 90.

    William seems like a nice bloke and he is a great ambassor to the country. The anti royals woul prefer to have someone like Blair and his wife as president and first lady. Can you imagine Cherie Blair working as hard as the Queen when she is in her eighties?

  • rate this

    Comment number 89.

    I think Prince William should continue in his military career for a few more years yet! I dont see the need for him to take on full-time royal duties until the day Charles becomes King!

  • rate this

    Comment number 88.

    Hey BBC

    still haven't forgotten your disgustingly biased coverage of jubilee, marriage and birth. And I see you've transplanted technique to Syria conflict. EVERYONE does not love the royals and EVERYONE does not want to go to war so stop telling us as much again and again and again...


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