Prince William and Kate thank British troops in Cyprus for Christmas commitment

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have arrived in Cyprus for a whirlwind visit to personally thank British forces for the sacrifices they make over Christmas.

Thousands of military personnel will be separated from their families during the festive period and William and Kate have flown to RAF Akrotiri on the Mediterranean island to honour their commitment.

The couple arrived bearing Christmas gifts for members of 11 Squadron, a Typhoon fighter unit based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, who fly missions from the Cyprus base to combat IS.

The duke and duchess hosted a party in the grounds of Kensington Palace on Tuesday for families from Coningsby and RAF Marham, and collected the presents from children, partners and grandparents.

They also met a boy whose dad is in Cyprus, while his mum posted to Afghanistan. Five-year-old Harry is being looked after for six months by his grandparents.

The Duke played games with Harry on Tuesday and the Duchess told him he was "very brave".

Prince William met five-year-old Harry on Tuesday, whose parents will be serving abroad over Christmas. Credit: PA

A line of military dignitaries were waiting to greet the duke and duchess when they arrived at the base on the RAF Voyager ministerial jet, including Akrotiri’s station commander, Group Captain Chris Snaith.

During the festive period there will be 11,000 sailors, soldiers, airmen and marines deployed on operations.

The Duchess of Cambridge is greeted at RAF Akrotiri by military dignitaries Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

Service personnel have been sent on 30 operations in 35 countries across the globe from Somalia and South Sudan to Kuwait and Ukraine.