William was at the Sovereign's Parade at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, saluting the latest batch of officer cadets to graduate

By Simon Perry
December 14, 2018 09:51 AM

Prince William stepped in for his grandmother Queen Elizabeth when he took the end of term parade at the military school where he was trained.

William was at the Sovereign’s Parade at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, saluting the latest batch of officer cadets to graduate. He inspected 69 officer cadets from the U.K. and 25 from 19 other countries during the ceremony on the parade ground and presented awards including the Sword of Honour, the Overseas Sword and The Queen’s Medal.

For William, it was something of a homecoming. The prince, 36, was at the Royal Military Academy for nearly a year, kicking off several years in the armed forces that had followed his time at the University of St. Andrew’s in Scotland.

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Prince William
| Credit: Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty
Prince William
| Credit: Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty
Prince William

He used the occasion to recall the day that he trod the same ground as the graduating cadets. On that day in December 2006, William “passed out” of Sandhurst in front of the Queen with his then-girlfriend Kate Middleton in the crowd watching alongside two of his best friends and her parents.

“It is almost 12 years ago to the day that I stood where you are,” he said. “I remember the deep sense of pride that came from passing out of one of the finest military academies in the world as well as wanting a short speech delivered so I could march off the parade square that little bit quicker!”

“I also remember the acute sense of relief that I would no longer be getting thrashed at Sennybridge or having to dig trenches for five days in Thetford! For those of you commissioning, I can assure you that what you have achieved during your time here will live with you for the rest of your lives. The friendships forged will last a lifetime and you will have been fortunate enough to have shared experiences with people from many different backgrounds, countries, cultures and religions.”

Queen Elizabeth and Prince William at his 2006 graduation
| Credit: Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock

William added, “Indeed, it is no accident that you are stood here today. Each of you has demonstrated the very special values that we look for in all those who lead our brave men and women. If you didn’t possess these values, you would not be commissioning today, so go forth with confidence in your own abilities.”

“And remember, the nation can bestow no higher honor on you than selecting you to lead its soldiers – no small feat and something of which you and your families should be justifiably proud.”

Prince William
| Credit: Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty

It is another sign of the sort of public duty that William can do on behalf of the 92-year-old monarch. He also regularly carries out investitures of those receiving honors at Buckingham Palace. Today, William said it was an “honor to stand here representing Her Majesty The Queen for the Sovereign’s Parade.”

Prince Harry, 34, also did his training at the academy, and followed a career in the army that included two tours of Afghanistan before he left in 2014.

The first Commissioning parade of the new Royal Military Academy Sandhurst was held in July 1948 in the presence of His Majesty King George VI, who decreed henceforth that the Parade was to be known as The Sovereign’s Parade.