“In what is described as a ‘big shift’ in Prince William’s approach to his royal role, the duke will leave his job with the East Anglian Air Ambulance this summer,” The Times reported on Sunday. William will reportedly end his career as an air-ambulance helicopter pilot based in Norfolk, and he and his family will officially call Kensington Palace their home. Prince George and Princess Charlotte will attend school in London following the move from Anmer Hall.
Fans of The Crown know that William’s grandfather, Prince Philip, faced a similar decision after his wife became Queen Elizabeth II. After they were first married, Philip served in the Royal Navy. As King George VI’s health became progressively worse, however, Philip was forced to take an open-ended leave from the Navy. His career officially ended when the king died, and Elizabeth ascended the throne. Philip became the Queen’s consort, and he looked for other ways to fill his time.
He took over management of the royal estates, helped plan Elizabeth’s coronation, and embarked on what would become the patronage of more than 800 charities in the following decades. He also took up flying, reportedly hoping to receive his pilot’s license faster than anyone else in history. Philip’s aviation-related aspirations rankled the government. He was forced to curtail riskier in-air behaviors, which frustrated Philip. Although he continued to pilot planes, his situation mirrors William’s in that they both had to remain grounded when it came to putting their royal duties first.
Now, just like his grandfather, William is reportedly stepping away from risky piloting. He’s also said to be increasing his royal duties, albeit remaining in the background to let his father Prince Charles, the heir-apparent to the throne, take a leading role. “William is believed to be acutely conscious that his emergence as a full-time royal should not overshadow his father’s role as heir to the throne,” The Timeswrites. While William likely always knew a time would come when he would have to shift his focus from being an air-ambulance pilot to a full-time royal, he is reportedly saddened at leaving his career behind.
“I know he has really loved living in Norfolk and being just one of the lads at work. He loves the banter,” a friend reportedly told The Times. Another royal source told the outlet, “He will really miss the flying. He does love it.” (Vanity Fair)