Prince William has officially ended his service as a search
and rescue helicopter pilot and is now due to concentrate
on royal duties and charities. REUTERS/MoD/SAC Faye Storer
Prince William is quitting the armed forces and will
spend the next 12 months focusing on royal and charitable
duties while he decides what work to do in the future.
The transitional year is expected to include a trip to
Australia with his wife Kate and little Prince George.
It was always expected the Duke of Cambridge would
increasingly focus on royal engagements as the Queen slowed
down, but it's understood he is not yet ready to become a
William has worked as an RAF search and rescue helicopter
pilot in Wales for the past three years.
During that time he was involved in 156 operations resulting
in 149 people being rescued.
But Kensington Palace on Thursday (local time) announced "the
Duke is to leave operational service in the armed forces".
"He completes his tour with the RAF search and rescue force
... after more than seven and a-half years of full-time
military service," the palace said in a statement.
In total the Duke has completed 1300 flying hours with the
Prince William plans to support the Queen and the royal
family through a programme of official engagements with Kate
over the next 12 months.
He'll work with his charity in the field of conservation,
particularly in respect of endangered species, as well as
helping children, young people and veterans.
As to his long-term future, the palace stated: "The Duke is
currently considering a number of options for public service,
a further announcement on which will follow in due course."
Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said William was
always going to take on more official royal duties as the
Queen and her husband Philip aged.
"The next 12 months will be heavily focused on royal duties
and charitable work," he told AAP.
"But the prince has also made it very clear he wants to be a
modern father so there's no doubt he'll be spending a great
deal of time with his son and Kate. It's a modern approach."
Mr Fitzwilliams said the Duke had done extraordinarily well
during his military career.
"He would have wished to have been on the front line if he
could have been but, being a future heir to the throne, that
simply wasn't possible."
William, Kate and baby George are expected to move into their
official residence at Kensington Palace within the next few
The Duke revealed at the Anglesey Show in mid-August that the
family plans to visit Australia in 2014.
The royal tour will be reminiscent of the 1983 trip
undertaken by Prince Charles and Princess Diana with a then