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Prince William graduates as RAF pilot

  • Story Highlights
  • Britain's Prince William due to receive his Royal Air Force pilot's wings
  • Future head of British armed forces completes four-month stint with RAF
  • The 25-year-old has trained as a helicopter and fighter pilot
  • His father, Prince Charles, presented his wings at graduation ceremony
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Britain's Prince William received his Royal Air Force pilot's wings at a graduation ceremony Friday.

Prince William while attending Remembrance Sunday ceremonies last November in London.

His father, Prince Charles, presented the wings to his son and 24 other graduating students at the ceremony, held at the Cranwell Air Force base in northern England.

Prince Charles smiled broadly as he pinned the badge on his son's lapel. The two shared a few words and shook hands as the audience clapped.

William's girlfriend, Kate Middleton, was among those watching the ceremony. Video Watch William being presented with his wings »

William, 25, is already a second lieutenant in the British Army, where he serves in the Household Cavalry (Blues and Royals).

Since January, he has been on a four-month attachment with the Royal Air Force designed to give the future king experience with the various branches of the military.

William plans to complete a similar attachment with the Royal Navy later in the year, according to his office at Clarence House.

During his time with the RAF, William learned to fly three different aircraft: a Grob 115E light aircraft, the faster Tucano T1 plane, and a Squirrel helicopter.

The prince was only eight days into his flying course when he made his first solo flight, Clarence House said. At the time, William described it as "an amazing experience."

"Going solo is one of those things -- if you had a list of the top 50 things to do before you die, it would be in there," he said in January.

Clarence House said it was William's "lifetime ambition" to learn to fly.

After the ceremony, he will be known in the RAF as Flying Officer Wales.


Prince Charles earned his wings more than 35 years ago at the same air force base, graduating as a Flight Lieutenant.

William's uncle, the Duke of York, flew Sea King helicopters during the Falklands War in 1982. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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