Prince William is clocking in for the last time as an air ambulance pilot.

By Erin Hill
July 26, 2017 07:00 PM
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Prince William in the cockpit for the East Anglia Air Ambulance in 2015.
Stefan Rousseau WPA - Pool/Getty

Prince William is clocking in for the last time as an air ambulance pilot.

The royal will complete his final shift with the East Anglian Air Ambulance on Thursday at Cambridge Airport, according to Kensington Palace.

“On his final day at work, The Duke will arrive for a night shift, and attend the hand over briefings from the day team as usual. He will then join his teammates at the helicopter he has flown for the past two years for a group photograph,” a palace statement read.

The announcement comes just months after Prince William and Princess Kate announced their decision to move their family’s home base to London.

They royal couple have primarily carried out their royal duties from their Anmer Hall home in Norfolk, but beginning this fall, they’ll be spending more time at their home in Kensington Palace.

William joined the EEAA as an air ambulance pilot in March 2015 after flying rescue helicopters with the RAF in North Wales for more than three years. He piloted his first operational mission with the EEAA in July 2015. Flying helicopters enabled William to return to his love of flying while making a contribution to public life – using the skills he learned in the Royal Air Force.

Stefan Rousseau WPA - Pool/Getty

“William has been an integral part of the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) team for the past two years,” Patrick Peal, Chief Executive of East Anglian Air Ambulance, said in a statement. “He is not only a fantastic pilot, but a much loved and valued member of the crew; he will be truly missed by everyone at EAAA.

“As one would expect, there has been a lot of excitement surrounding William and his work with the charity. To us, he has simply been another hard-working member of the team; one of 11 highly respected pilots who help us to save hundreds of lives each year.”

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Throughout his service, William has been based out of Cambridge Airport, as part of a team including specialist doctors, critical care paramedics and pilots providing emergency medical services across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

Although the job gave him the opportunity to take to the skies as a pilot, he also dealt with difficult moments during rescue missions.

Danny Martindale/WireImage

“There are some very sad, dark moments and we talk about it a lot. But it’s hard. You try not to take it away with you but it can be quite difficult,” he said in a BBC special last year.

Some of the stressful events include witnessing young men attempting suicide, a problem that has helped spur him to bring awareness to the issue of young men’s mental health.

William also said he relishes being “one of the team,” and spoke about how different it is from his “other job” – being a prince.

“I look forward coming here every day whether it is at 5:30, or going to bed at 2:00 in the morning. The shift work is exciting and it’s challenging for its variety and the fact that I love working in a team,” he said. “That’s something that my other job doesn’t necessarily do. You are more out there on your own a little bit.”

William has already passed on his love of flying to 4-year-old son, Prince George. The father and son toured a helicopter during the royal family’s recent trip to Germany.

Samir Hussein/WireImage

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In statement issued by Kensington Palace earlier this year, William said: “It has been a huge privilege to fly with the East Anglian Air Ambulance. Following on from my time in the military, I have had experiences in this job I will carry with me for the rest of my life, and that will add a valuable perspective to my Royal work for decades to come.

“I would like to thank the people of East Anglia for being so supportive of my role and for letting me get on with the job when they have seen me in the community or at our region’s hospitals. I would especially like to thank all of my colleagues at EAAA, Babcock, and Cambridge Airport for their friendship and support. I have loved being part of a team of professional, talented people that save lives every day. My admiration for our country’s medical and emergency services community could not be any stronger.”