Prince William had a solid career in the British military as a search and rescue helicopter pilot, but had to give it all up to pursue the royal duties befitting an heir to the British throne.
When Princess Diana‘s eldest son left his post as an air force rescue pilot in Wales, he was already married to Kate Middleton and they had had their first child, Prince George.
Prince William: Search and Rescue Helicopter Pilot
In 2013, after the million-dollar refurbishment of Kensington Palace and the birth of Prince George, they raised firm doubts about William’s tenure at the RAF base in Anglesey, Wales.
In September, the grandson of Elizabeth II decided to end his last tour of duty after three years stationed as a rescue and search pilot on the Welsh island.
The prince began his military career in 2006 when he joined Sandhurst Academy. He had just completed a geography degree at Scotland’s University of St Andrews, where he met his future wife.
As a rescue pilot he completed 1,300 flying hours and took part in a total of 156 operations resulting in the rescue of 149 people. Captain Sir Andrew Pulford described the prince as an “extremely competent and professional” pilot, who saved lives in the mountains of North Wales and in the Irish Sea.
The prince had already announced a month earlier that he would be leaving Anglesey. During his remarks in the town he thanked the locals for welcoming him to the rented farmhouse that was his first home together with Kate.
“I’ve never known a place as beautiful and welcoming as this. We will miss it very much.” In the same speech he joked about how hard it is to be a first-time dad: “I thought rescue and search work was physically and mentally very demanding, but taking care of a baby is no slouch either.”
On leaving the army he combined his public appearances as Duke of Cambridge with his work for charities helping young people and veterans and members of the armed forces.