Prince William Returns to His Former Workplace in New Royal Role from King Charles

Prince William is back on the job in Wales

Published Time: 09.07.2024 - 15:31:09 Modified Time: 09.07.2024 - 15:31:09

Prince William is back on the job in Wales.

On Tuesday, July 9, the Prince of Wales, 42, was photographed visiting RAF Valley in rainy Anglesey for the first time as the Royal Honorary Air Commodore of the Royal Air Force station. It was announced that King Charles had appointed him as Air Commodore in August 2023.

It was a return to a familiar place for Prince William, as it's where he worked during the early years of his marriage to Kate Middleton. The royal was based at RAF Valley while working as an RAF search and rescue pilot from 2010 to 2013.

RAF Valley is the only Royal Air Force station in Wales and home of the No. 4 Flying Training School, which is tasked with training the next generation of fighter pilots as well as preparing aircrew for mountain and maritime operations around the world.

During his visit, the Prince of Wales toured the hub and met personnel to learn more about their daily operations and life at RAF Valley, which is the second-largest employer on the island, and connected with the families of those stationed there. William began at the Air Traffic Control Tower, where he checked out the control rooms and heard about the ongoing $56 million project to refurbish the base's second runway. 

He then moved to the fire and rescue station, where he met crew members and participated in a simulated fire response exercise. The division delivers year-round airfield rescue firefighting and structural firefighting cover for RAF Valley as well as further support for the station’s relief landing ground, RAF Mona.

The heir to the throne then spent time with engineers, flight instructors and trainees before presenting the Prince of Wales Award. The annual prize recognizes the top Qualified Flying Instructor within the No. 4, and this year went to Flight Lieutenant Jake Fleming.

In a key meeting, Prince William met members of the RAF Mountain Rescue Service, which is on constant call for search and rescue support, aircraft post-crash and incident management and medical aid in the mountains. The royal heard about the team's experiences providing life-saving suppo -

rt in the local area.

Prince William embarked on an aerial career in the military in 2009, joining C Flight, 22 Squadron as Lieutenant Wales (a nod to King Charles' Prince of Wales title at the time, which William now holds) at RAF Valley in September 2010. He served as a search and rescue pilot for three years, during which he undertook 156 search and rescue operations, a routine operational deployment to the Falkland Islands and qualified as an operational Captain, his royal bio outlines.

The Prince of Wales left operational duties with the Armed Forces in September 2013, shortly after the birth of his first child, Prince George. He later retrained as an Air Ambulance Pilot and worked for East Anglian Air Ambulance from 2015 to 2017.

Prince William and Princess Kate's special connection to Wales deepened when King Charles announced in his first speech as monarch that his eldest son and daughter-in-law were named the Prince and Princess of Wales. The traditional titles have been for the heir to the throne and his wife for centuries, and a royal source told PEOPLE that the couple was focused on "deepening the trust and respect of the people of Wales over time."

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The couple visited Wales for the first time since becoming the Prince and Princess of Wales as soon as they could — on September 27, 2022, one day after the royal family's mourning period for the late Queen Elizabeth came to an end.

"He is throwing himself into the new role," Rev. Steven Bunting, who hosted the couple at St. Thomas's Church in Swansea, told PEOPLE. "The fact that they've come straight here on day one says it all."

Prince William stepped out solo for his latest engagement in Wales, as Princess Kate, 42, privately prioritizes her health outside of the spotlight. The Princess of Wales is continuing to undergo treatment for cancer and appeared at her first royal event this year at Trooping the Colour on June 15.

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