William considering future options
The Duke of Cambridge is considering the next phase of his life as a royal after his operational career in the Armed Forces came to an end this week.
William effectively left the RAF on Tuesday when he carried out his last shift as a search and rescue helicopter pilot following a three-year tour of duty.
The second in line to the throne is in a "transitional" year, sources have said, and is mulling over options for his "public service". An announcement will be made about his decision within the next 12 months.
Kensington Palace would not give details about what form the public service could take but there has been speculation William could take on a full-time role in an area he is passionate about - like the Duke of York's stint as the UK's roving business ambassador.
In a statement Kensington Palace said the Duke would continue to carry out royal engagements, but he is not expected to increase the number of official events he attends. He will work towards expanding his core charitable interests particularly in the field of conservation of endangered species.
Kensington Palace said in a statement: "The Duke is currently considering a number of options for public service, a further announcement on which will follow in due course. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George are expected to move into their official residence at Kensington Palace within the next few weeks."
William was widely expected to leave the military and return to London with Kate and baby son George rather than opt for another tour of duty with the RAF. The Duke was known as Flight Lieutenant Wales in the air force and was based at RAF Valley on Anglesey. During his three-year tour he took part in 156 search and rescue operations, with 149 people being rescued.
He spoke movingly about his time in Wales in a speech at a country show on Anglesey last month. William said: "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 head of the RAF, Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford, praised the Duke's work in the air force. Sir Andrew, Chief of the Air Staff, said he "has been an integral part of the Royal Air Force's Search and Rescue Force".
"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. He has earned the respect of all who have worked with him as a highly professional and competent pilot."