Prince William is set to take over command of Harry’s old Army unit after a reshuffle of the Royal Family’s military appointments by King Charles.
His Majesty has decided to appoint his eldest son as Colonel-in-Chief of The Army Air Corps, in which the Duke of Sussex served as an Apache helicopter pilot in Afghanistan, while also granting the Princess of Wales three new roles.
Among those given to Kate is Commodore-in-Chief of the Fleet Air Arm – a title previously held by Prince Andrew before it was stripped from him and returned to the Queen as he faced a civil sexual assault trial that he later paid millions to settle.
Another of the Duke of York’s former titles, Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal Irish Regiment has been given to Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh by King Charles, meaning he has regained none of his former appointments in the reshuffle.
It comes as the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s death approaches, with King Charles expected to mark the occasion ‘quietly and privately’ at Balmoral, while William and Kate will reportedly lead the tributesto the late monarch.
The Prince and Princess of Wales have both been given three new military appointments each by King Charles. Pictured: William and Kate on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for the RAF centenary
William is taking over asColonel-in-Chief of The Army Air Corps, which would give him command over Harry’s former unit, 662 Squadron. Pictured: Prince Harry at the Founder’s Day Parade at Royal Hospital Chelsea in 2019
Announcing the changes, the Ministry of Defence said William, who qualified as an RAFsearch and rescue pilot, was nowColonel-in-Chief of The Army Air Corps.
It means he will represent the Army’s airborne wing, including his brother’s former unit – 662 Squadron – with one royal commentator claiming Harry himself could have been in line for the role previously.
Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, told the Mirror it was ‘quite feasible’ that if he hadn’t quit life as a working royal – something that saw him stripped of his honorary military appointments – he might have been given the title.
He said: ‘Had Harry still been around he might well have had more appointments going his way.’
William has also become the Royal Honorary Air Commodore at RAF Valley in Wales – he previouslyspent three years at the base on Anglesey, taking part in 156 search and rescue missions and saving 149 people.
The Prince belonged to the RAF’s 202 Squadron with colleagues regarding him as an outstanding pilot and as ‘one of the family’.
Though search and rescue operations were privatised in 2016, RAF Valley remains a training facility for fast jet pilots and crews.
He has also added Colonel-in-Chief of The Mercian Regiment to his growing list of military commitments.
Two of Prince Andrew’s former military appointments have been given to the Princess of Wales and the Duchess of Edinburgh. Pictured: The Duke of York on the balcony for Trooping the Colour in June 2018
William has also become the Royal Honorary Air Commodore at RAF Valley in Wales – he previously spent three years at the base on Anglesey, taking part in 156 search and rescue missions and saving 149 people. Pictured: The then-Duke of Cambridge at RAF Valley in Anglesey in 2012
The latest appointments list, released by Buckingham Palace, also recognises the Princess of Wales’s RAF connections.
In addition to Commordore-in-Chief of the Fleet Air Arm, Kate has adopted the position of Royal Honorary Air Commodore at RAF Coningsby, a title previously held by her husband, who had performed the role at the Lincolnshire base for 15 years from 2008.
The Princess has family connections to the RAF as her paternal grandfather served as a fighter pilot during the Second World War and flew with the late Duke of Edinburgh in the 1960s.
Captain Peter Middleton – who was the Duke’sco-pilot on flights across South America during a royal tour – died at the age of 90 just days before the Prince and Princess announced their engagement in 2010.
Previously unseen images of the Princess’s grandfather with the Duke emerged in 2019.
Kate has also become Colonel-in-Chief of the Queen’s Dragoon Guards, known as the Welsh Cavalry, a duty that was carried out by her father-in-law Charles when he was the Prince of Wales.
The QDG, Wales’s cavalry regiment, was embroiled in controversy last month when a married senior officer allegedly indulged in sexual relations with two female guests at the regiment’s summer ball. Major Duncan Wiggins is now facing dismissal from the British Army.
Meanwhile, King Charles has decided to take on eight of his late mothers roles himself, including sponsor of the Royal Navy’s warship HMS Queen Elizabeth.
He is now Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, The Royal Tank Regiment and The Royal Regiment of Scotland; Captain General of both The Royal Artillery and The Honourable Artillery Company; Royal Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Marham and Air Commodore-in-Chief of RAF Regiment.
The Queen also has a new appointment, with Camilla becoming patron of The Royal Army Chaplains’ Department, a position held by the late Queen.
The Duke of Edinburgh has followed in his father Prince Philip’s footsteps to become Colonel-in-Chief of The Queen’s Royal Hussars, which was left vacant when the duke died in 2021.
One royal commentator has claimed Prince Harry could have been in line for the role ofColonel-in-Chief of The Army Air Corps before quitting as a working royal. Pictured: Harry in his apache helicopter in Afghanistan in 2012
The Princess of Wales has also adopted the position of Royal Honorary Air Commodore at RAF Coningsby. Pictured: Kate speaking to Cadets at RAF Fairford in July
Edward is also succeeding his brother Charles as Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal Dragoon Guards.
His wife Sophie has taken on the King’s post of Royal Colonel of The Queen’s Own Yeomanry in addition to the position of Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal Irish Regiment.
The Princess Royal has been appointed Deputy Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Regiment of Scotland by the King in recognition of her strong links to the country.
The late Queen’s cousin, the Duke of Gloucester, becomes Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, and the Duchess of Gloucester is Colonel-in-Chief of the Adjutant General’s Corps, which were both held by Elizabeth II.
The late Queen, who died a year ago next month, held more than 50 ranks and appointments in the UK and Commonwealth Armed Service.
Buckingham Palace said: ‘Following His Majesty’s accession, the King is pleased to announce further military appointments for working members of the royal family.
‘The new appointments will continue to reflect the close relationship between the armed forces and the royal family in His Majesty’s reign.’