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William completes helicopter stint
The Duke of Cambridge has completed his tour as an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot and left operational duties in the Armed Forces, Kensington Palace announced.
William carried out his last shift on Tuesday and is now working towards expanding his core charitable interests particularly in the field of conservation of endangered species. The Duke will continue to carry out royal engagements but is not expected to increase his number of public duties.
The second in line to the throne is in a "transitional" year, sources have said, and is considering options for his "public service", an announcement will be made about his decision within the next 12 months.
Kensington Palace said in a statement: "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."
William was widely expected to leave the military and return to London with Kate and baby son Prince George rather than opt for another tour of duty with the RAF.
The Duke was known as Flight Lieutenant Wales in the air force and was based at RAF Valley on Anglesey. During his three-year tour he took part in 156 search and rescue operations, with 149 people being rescued.
He spoke movingly about his time in Wales in a speech at a country show on Anglesey last month. William said: "This island has been our first home together, and it will always be an immensely special place for us both. Catherine and I look forward to returning again and again over the coming years with our family."
The head of the RAF, Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford, praised the Duke's work in the air force. Sir Andrew, Chief of the Air Staff, said he "has been an integral part of the Royal Air Force's Search and Rescue Force".
"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. He has earned the respect of all who have worked with him as a highly professional and competent pilot," he added.