Prince William gets his wings and takes on his dad’s work

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WORLD -

LON­DON: Bri­tain’s Prince William com­pleted a key stage in his pi­lot train­ing yes­ter­day, ce­ment­ing his mil­i­tary ca­reer just days be­fore em­bark­ing on his first of­fi­cial over­seas royal tour to New Zealand.

Queen El­iz­a­beth’s grand­son was pre­sented with his fly­ing badge by his fa­ther Prince Charles af­ter grad­u­at­ing from an ad­vanced he­li­copter train­ing course with the Royal Air Force (RAF).

The 27-year-old spent a year train­ing at RAF Shaw­bury in cen­tral Eng­land and will later this month move to RAF Val­ley in Wales, where he will be taught to fly Sea King he­li­copters.

Bri­tain’s roy­als have long en­gaged in mil­i­tary ser­vice in recog­ni­tion of the monarch’s role as head of the ar med forces and, de­spite main­tain­ing his du­ties as prince, of­fi­cials say William is com­mit­ted to his ca­reer as a pi­lot.

The de­ci­sion to send William to New Zealand for the open­ing of the new Supreme Court in Welling­ton rather than his fa­ther has caused press spec­u­la­tion that he is sup­plant­ing him in the line of suc­ces­sion.

But palace of­fi­cials deny this.

“His pri­or­ity is be­ing a serv­ing of­fi­cer in the RAF but where ap­pro­pri­ate, he will carry out en­gage­ments, and this is one such en­gage­ment,” a spokes­woman said.

On Tues­day, William will travel to Aus­tralia for a more in­for­mal three-day trip in­volv­ing vis­its to an Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­nity cen­tre and an Aus­tralian army base, as well as a trip to ru­ral ar­eas dev­as­tated by bush­fires last year. – Sa­paAFP

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