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Prince William leaves military for royal duties

London, Sep 12, 2013, (PTI) 18:52 IST
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Prince William has completed his duty as a Royal Air Force (RAF) search and rescue pilot and left the military after over seven years of service to take up royal duties and charity work.

The 31-year-old second-in-line to Britain's throne will now focus on royal duties and charity work together with wife Kate Middleton, a spokesperson for the couple's Kensington Palace home said here today.

"He will expand his work in the field of conservation, particularly in respect of endangered species. The duke will continue to work with his charities on issues relating to children and young people, veterans and serving members of the armed forces," the spokesperson said.

Prince William is currently considering a number of options for public service, the spokesperson added, with a further announcement to follow in due course.

The Duke of Cambridge, Queen Elizabeth II's grandson, completed his final shift as an RAF search and rescue pilot on Tuesday, ending his three-year posting on Anglesey. He will continue to carry out royal engagements but is not expected to increase his number of public duties.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their July-born son Prince George are expected to move into their official residence at Kensington Palace within the next few weeks from Anglesey, the Welsh base where William was stationed as Flight Lieutenant William Wales.

His flying career followed that of all newly-graduated pilots, serving initially as a co-pilot before progressing through a range of qualifications to become an operational aircraft Captain in May 2012.

Since first joining the RAF, William has amassed a total of 1,301 flying hours in a variety of aircraft types, including the Tucano fixed-wing training aircraft, followed by more flying in the Squirrel, Griffin and Sea King helicopters.

Air Chief Marshal, Sir Andrew Pulford, Chief of the UK's Air Staff, 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 has earned the respect of all who have worked with him as a highly professional and competent pilot," he said.

As part of a farewell speech at an Anglesey Show last month, William had thanked the island's people for being so welcoming to him and his wife.

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