William's trip to the Falklands is anything but routine

Bill Neely

Former International Editor

Prince William sits at the controls of a Sea King helicopter Credit: REUTERS/John Stillwell/Pool

That was quick. Prince William is back in the UK after serving as a helicopter pilot in the Falklands. Kate must be happy. She said just a few days ago she wished William had been at her side on an official visit.

Clarence House has confirmed the Prince left the South Atlantic and returned to Britain after what it called an "entirely routine" visit.

It was not routine, no matter how much Royal officials or the Ministry of Defence insist it was.

The second-in-line to the throne was sent half way round the world to islands that Britain fought a war to keep at an extremely sensitive time.

This is the build-up to the 30th anniversary of that war and the defeated country, Argentina, is waging a campaign to convince the world that Britain is being unreasonable in rejecting talks on the sovereignty of the islands.

His dispatch as a helicopter search and rescue pilot may have been routine for his colleagues, but it is simply disingenuous to call it routine when it applies to William.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has made a popular stand on the Falkland's issue Credit: ITV News

We still don't know how he did; how many fishermen he rescued from South Atlantic waves; how many accidents he attended.

We do know that Argentina's leaders made political capital out of his visit. Just days ago, as a result of their campaign, a Royal Navy warship pulled out of a planned visit to Peru because of that government's support for the Argentine campaign.

William's return now paves the way for the Falklands to mark the anniversary of the war in a few weeks' time. And for Kate to have some time with her husband before their first wedding anniversary.