Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

All change for Prince William as he takes time out for Kate and baby George

William described George as a 'little fighter'
William described George as a 'little fighter'
Duty: Prince William

So, at the tender age of 31, Prince William is to say goodbye to his military career and take a year out to 'find himself' and spend more time with Kate and baby George.

There will be no more dangerous RAF search and rescue helicopter missions in mountainous Wales for the world's most popular prince, as he moves closer to joining the family firm full-time.

Life as a future king is not all a fairytale. Yes, it brings a five-star existence, but the Duke of Cambridge is no ordinary 31-year-old– he doesn't have the freedom of choice to follow his dreams and pursue the career and life he wants.

The death of Princess Diana when he was only 15 was devastating for him and his brother Harry. Who can forget how he held himself with such dignity as he walked behind her coffin?

Every step the prince has taken in life has been scrutinised – from his nappy-changing techniques to the colour of his swimming shorts.

He admitted, in a rare TV interview, that he had to practise for hours putting the baby seat in his car before he picked up his wife and newborn son from hospital, because he knew the Press would be watching.

The decision to retire so young from a military career he devoted seven years to and clearly loved cannot have been easy.

But the prince understands that he is the future king – and with that comes a huge sense of public duty.

There is mounting speculation that Prince Charles will not succeed the Queen, but will pass the monarch's mantle directly to William, who is more in tune with the public mood.

Given his grandmother's great age, William could find himself king in a few short years.

We are told he will have a 12-month 'transitional' period, in which he will decide what he wants to do next. One possibility is that he will take a full-time day job, volunteering in public service.

Buckingham Palace has said that he will work closely over the next year with the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

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

Meanwhile, he will have family and domestic duties to attend to. Combining 24-hour shifts doing search and rescue with royal duties and charity work did not leave him much time for family life.

His new schedule will allow him be a more hands-on dad, helping with the night feeds and being a support to Kate.

Then there is the important matter of moving home in the next few weeks from the cottage the family currently occupy in the grounds of Kensington Palace, into an official residence in the palace itself. Anmer Hall, on the Queen's Sandringham estate, is also being prepared for them as a country retreat. William can be proud that during his time with RAF search and rescue, he undertook a total of 156 operations, resulting in 149 people being rescued. Since joining the Royal Air Force, he has completed more than 1,300 flying hours – an impressive achievement.

He is now moving into a new phase of his life. He has the luxury of having some space and time to help ease into a new role.

And he is incredibly lucky that he has a brilliant woman by his side and the support of his future subjects.

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