The Duke of Cambridge has clocked off on his last ever shift in the Armed Forces, paving the way for his family to move into Kensington Palace and take up royal duties full-time.
Completing his tour as an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot in Anglesey, Prince William will now turn his attention to charitable interests and official visits.
William’s final shift was on Tuesday, the palace said in a statement today, drawing to a close the active service of the second in line to the throne.
Kensington Palace said today 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.”
William will now have a “transitional” year before he formally takes on a full schedule of public duties, during which he will take time out to contemplate exactly which charities to lend his backing to. The palace said he currently has a particular interest in the preservation of endangered species.
Though never achieving his expressed goal of joining Prince Harry in receiving a foreign deployment in a war zone, the Duke has been praised for his active role in saving lives as a Sea King pilot.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford told Sky News that William had “earned the respect of all who have worked with him as a highly professional and competent pilot”.
Sir Andrew said: “Throughout his tour, his airmanship, often in the most demanding of conditions, has contributed directly to saving lives in the mountains of North Wales and from the ravages of the Irish Sea.”
William and his young family are reportedly sad to leave Anglesey. He spoke about his time in Wales at a country show last month, saying: “This island has been our first home together, and it will always be an immensely special place for us both. Catherine and I look forward to returning again and again over the coming years with our family.”
The Duke and Duchess’s Kensington Palace apartment has been refurbished ahead of their arrival, and will be a family home and base for the heir when he takes up his job of being royal full-time.
Video: In other royal news, Prince Harry spends evening at the WellChild charity awards in London