Prince William leaves armed forces to build on passion for conservation

Prince William has decided to leave operational service as a search and rescue pilot
Prince William has decided to leave operational service as a search and rescue pilot Photo: PA

Prince William has decided to leave the armed forces after more than seven years in order to spend more time campaigning for conservation, Kensington Palace announced today.

The Duke completed his final shift as a search and rescue pilot in Anglesey on Tuesday, and will now move to Kensington Palace with the Duchess and their new son Prince George.

He will continue to carry out royal engagements both at home and overseas but is not expected to increase his number of public duties.

In an upcoming ITV documentary, he says he feels a strong sense of protection towards endangered animals and the natural environment.

ITV News' Royal Correspondent Tim Ewart reports:

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge started this new stage in their lives by attending a charity function in London tonight for the wildlife charity Tusk, for which William is a patron.

A statement from Kensington Palace said that as well as his charitable work, he was also "considering a number of options for public service":

He will expand his work in the field of conservation, particularly in respect of endangered species.

The Duke will continue to work with his charities on issues relating to children and young people, veterans and serving members of the Armed Forces.

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.

– kensington palace statement

In an upcoming ITV documentary, the Duke hints that his future role will build on his passion for Africa and wildlife:

The Duke has worked as a search and rescue pilot with the RAF on Anglesey for the last four years, but will leave operational work behind.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford said the Duke had been an "integral part" of the team and had "earned the respect of all who have worked with him".

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.

– Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford

The Duke and Duchess will soon move into their refurbished Kensington Palace apartment following the birth of their son, Prince George, in July.