Prince William is to leave the armed forces to concentrate on royal duties, Kensington Palace has confirmed.
The Duke of Cambridge will leave operational service in the forces after more than seven-and-a half years of full time military service.
William will now work closely with the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, and will continue to support his grandmother The Queen through a programme of official engagements with wife the Duchess of Cambridge.
Kensington Palace said in a statement that the Prince will expand his work in the field of conservation, particularly in regards to endangered species. In recent years, William has spoken of the importance to preserving species for future generation, and the cause is something close to his heart.
As a new father to Prince George, the Duke will continue to work closely with children and young people’s charities, and serving members of the Armed Forces.
William started his full-time military duties as an Officer Cadet at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in January 2006 before becoming a Lieutenant in The Blues and Royals before taking up his role in the Royal Air Force.
After training to become a Search and Rescue pilot in January, 2009, the Prince has been based at RAF Valley since January 2010, where he and Kate have enjoyed early marriage life away from the public eye.
The Prince, who is second-in-line for throne, has spoken openly about his love of being a helicopter pilot. “I don’t think there’s any greater calling in life,” he said earlier this year. “To be able to see a son of daughter’s face when you bring their mother or father back from the edge of death, it’s quite powerful.”
During his time as a Search and Rescue pilot, Flight Lieutenant Wales has completed 1,300 hours of flying and undertaken a total of 156 search and rescue operations rescuing 149 people.
Kensington Palace have also revealed the Prince will consider the role in which he will take for ‘public service’ and an announcement will follow in due course.
William and Kate welcomed their first child in July, Prince George, after marrying in 2011 at Westminster Abbey. The couple will now move into Kensington Palace ‘within the next few weeks’ a spokesman adds.
The Palace will become their official London residence, and will be their second home as a married couple. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have lived in a cottage on the Isle of Anglesey while William completed his tour.
Last month, William attended the Anglesey Show where he thanked residents for their kindness during the couple’s stay on the island.
“I know that both of us will miss it terribly when my search and rescue tour of duty comes to an end next month,” he said in a speech.
“From the bottom of my heart, thank you for making my wife and me so welcome when we arrive here, as you do thousands of visitors each year.”
The couple are expected to travel to Australia and New Zealand next year, and will most likely take Prince George with them.