Prince William ends military career
LONDON – The Associated Press
A handout file photograph shows Britain's Prince William in the cockpit of his helicopter after qualifying as a search and rescue captain, in Anglesey, Wales June 1, 2012. REUTERS/HANDOUT/MoD/SAC Faye StorerPrince William has finished his tour of duty as a Royal Air Force search-and-rescue helicopter pilot and has left operational service with the British military to focus on royal duties and charity work, royal officials said Sept.12.
William’s Kensington Palace office said that the second in line to the British throne completed his final shift earlier this week.
It said he will now focus on royal duties and is “considering a number of options for public service.”
The palace said William, 31, would “expand his work in the field of conservation, particularly in respect of endangered species” and would work on charities that help children and veterans.
William has spent more than seven years in the military, first in the army and then as a Royal Air Force pilot, stationed on the quiet island of Anglesey in north Wales.
He was able to blend in with residents and fellow military personnel, enjoying a degree of privacy despite his royal status.
In July his wife Kate gave birth to the couple’s first child, Prince George. Now that William’s active military career is finished, the family will move into refurbished quarters at Kensington Palace in London. They had been living in a rented home in Anglesey.
William started as an officer cadet at Sandhurst military academy in 2006. He started search and rescue helicopter training three years later.
The palace said he had participated in 156 search and rescue operations, helping to rescue 149 people. He has completed more than 1,300 flying hours.
William’s younger brother, Prince Harry, remains active in the military, and has served in Afghanistan as an Apache helicopter pilot.
Harry recently said he loves being an uncle, telling children at an awards ceremony that he’d just witnessed the baby who may one day be king crack a smile. Harry, who was pushed back to fourth-in-line to the British throne following the birth of his brother’s son, Prince George, said Sept. 11 he’d just visited the infant royal, who was taking a bath. Harry told 9-year-old Nikki Christou that it was the “first time I’ve seen him smile.” The prince seems to have warmed to his new family role, telling Mary Kirk, the mother of another child, that being an uncle was “fantastic.”
The ceremony was hosted by the WellChild charity, which is dedicated to the needs of sick children and their families.