British Royal Family

“I am hugely grateful”: Prince William says cheerio to life as an air ambulance pilot

Prince William no longer an air ambulance pilot

By Candice Mehta-Culjak
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge

Prince William has finished out his stint working as an air ambulance pilot for the East Anglian Air Ambulance, according to Kensington Palace.

“On his final day at work, The Duke will arrive for a night shift, and attend the handover briefings from the day team as usual. He will then join his teammates at the helicopter he has flown for the past two years for a group photograph,” a palace statement read.

But he’s not hanging up his flight suit without a proper farewell!

Writing an op-ed for the Eastern Daily Press on Thursday, William said he was “hugely grateful” for his time spent in the emergency services.

"Over the past two years I have met people from across the region who were in the most desperate of circumstances," William, 35, wrote. "As part of a team, I have been invited into people's homes to share moments of extreme emotion, from relief that we have given someone a fighting chance, to profound grief. I have watched as incredibly skilled doctors and paramedics have saved people's lives.”

Prince William is hanging up his flight suit to focus solely on his royal duties.
Prince William is hanging up his flight suit to focus solely on his royal duties.

He went on to describe the great camaraderie he felt alongside his fellow professionals.

"From the moment I joined, when that phone rang at the base for the first time, it was clear that I was a fellow professional, a pilot with a job to do—in such a team there can be no other option," the father-of-two wrote, "but still I am grateful to my colleagues for accepting me so readily."

However, the second-in-line to the throne revealed that he had dealt with difficult moments during rescue missions.

"As a team, we travel to some very daunting incidents and we have been through some incredibly tough times together, witnessing some appalling tragedies," he wrote. "One of the first call outs I made was to a young man who had committed suicide; it was an incredibly tough day and had a profound effect on all of us, not least in my determination now to draw attention to this issue."

WATCH: Prince William flies emergency helicopter to aid in the rescue of a drowning boy. Post continues...

Wills, who joined the service in March 2015, after serving for nearly five years as a helicopter pilot with the RAF's Search and Rescue Force, will now turn his attention to full-time royal duties.

William's career change will time in with his family's move from their country home at Anmer Hall in Norfolk to London's Kensington Palace in September as their oldest child, Prince George, begins school.

An insider speaking to The Sunday Times explained the father-of-two has had "no pressure from above" to quit his job, but simply understands that the older he gets the more responsibility he has to the Monarchy.

Prince William wife Duchess Kate and their two children recently visited Germany and Poland on official royal tour.
Prince William wife Duchess Kate and their two children recently visited Germany and Poland on official royal tour.

However, Wills still won't be taking on as many commitments as many other senior royals -- including his father, Prince Charles, and his aunt, Princess Anne.

"Some people may question why William still won’t do as much as Princess Anne but he is dead set on not queering his father’s pitch," the source revealed. "He sees that Charles will probably be in his seventies before he becomes king and he doesn’t want to be seen as elbowing his father out the way."

This means the doting, hands-on father will be around to raise his two children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

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