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 1067.

    Maybe the Committee of 300 are dishing out more work.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1066.

    He still won't be getting my vote for head-of-state.
    I'd rather we had a popularly elected head-of-state whose job is to run the public services.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1065.

    Who cares? Just another scrounger for us to support.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1064.

    1054.Tio Terry
    You think an 80 something year old woman can do it all?

    -Depends what 'it' is. If its going round opening things, or watching horseraces you're right (is this what the born professionals are being trained for?). I'd had Head of State more in mind, which an 80 year old (man or woman) shouldn't be doing anyway. We've grown up - we don't need a king or queen any more

  • rate this

    Comment number 1063.

    1054.Tio Terry
    3 Minutes ago
    No. Suggest someone. Put your money where your mouth is, in all reality there is nobody capable to take over from our Monarchy
    Sorry are you seriously suggesting that of the 64 million people who live in the UK not a single one is as capable as Betty, Charles and Billy Boy ? You clearly have no faith in the people of this country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1062.

    I'm not sure which are censored by the Beeb

    Please stop just deleting my comments and help me instead comply mod

    a) is the word "jews"
    B) is it "freemasons"
    c) is it "WTC 7" (the incognito 3rd 911 tower)
    d) is it alll of the above

  • rate this

    Comment number 1061.

    They are the professionals, trained from birth for the job, far more able than any amateur that may be elected, there is no viable alternative.
    Yes Prince Philip would certainly be a hard act to follow - no way an ordinary person could ever do that.

    Losing it

  • rate this

    Comment number 1060.

    Look up the words noble and gracious in the dictionary and ask yourself if these are the best words to describe the head of a corrupt government that lies, decieves, steals and oppresses people so that the crown can profit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1059.

    This comments section is exactly what I thought it would be following an article like this.

    A bunch of royal apologists.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1058.


    I expect that mad dictatorship of Switzerland must long for the wholesomeness a ' monarch ' brings.

    No ? Why ever not ?

    I used to enjoy the Muppet show.

    Now, I'm not sure.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1057.

    Here's a challenge for you Treacle-01 and all royalists : tell me what unique and hereditary talent is it that the Windsors possess that justify them being HOS for life ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1056.

    Thank You Will. He's going to be an awesome King.

  • Comment number 1055.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 1054.

    No. Suggest someone. Put your money where your mouth is, in all reality there is nobody capable to take over from our Monachy.
    Car and family's fine thatks Paul, not one suggestion for our Countrys Leadership from a single anti monachist, pathetic.
    You think an 80 something year old woman can do it all? Pathetic.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1053.

    I can't believe that over a thousand people felt it necessary to comment on Prince William's career change.

    I'm not including me. I'm just commenting on the number of comments. I've better things to do than sit here typing this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1052.

    1042.Tio Terry
    "I've invited anti-royalists and republicans to suggest who should replace the Monachy, not once has a single name been put forward"
    --Of course not, we don't want a replacement quasi-Monarch
    "They are the professionals, trained from birth for the job"
    -There is only one job in Monarchy, and that is the Monarch. The rest are just freeloaders and being trained for non-jobs

  • rate this

    Comment number 1051.

    Seems a great guy and in touch. While not frontline combat and understandably so, he has saved over 100 lives as a SaR pilot and I whole heatedly wish HrH and his family well.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1050.

    Elect someone to a position of power with nothing above and they become a Dictator, they can pass their own laws without any reference to anyone, that what you want? Why do you think that republics have a President?

    Edward has no realistic chance of becoming King.

    You're not serious!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1049.

    1042. Tio Terry
    several times on this thread I've invited anti-royalists and republicans to suggest who should replace the Monachy, not once has a single name been put forward.
    Hi Tio hope you, the bentley and family are well, cut the republican/ atheists a bit of slack, it is a bit hard looking in a mirror and typing at the same time, whilst trying to work out the meaning of life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1048.

    1 Minute ago
    @1042.Tio Terry

    several times on this thread I've invited anti-royalists and republicans to suggest who should replace the Monachy,

    How about anyone of the 64 million people who live in this country - we could choose the best candidate - its called democracy.

    Happy now ?


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