Charles passes on Army Air Corps colonelship to William

The King held the role for more than 30 years

The King and The Prince of Wales carried out a rare joint engagement on Monday, which also marked their first joint engagement together since Charles acceded to the throne in September 2022.

The engagement at the Army Aviation Centre in Middle Wallop saw the official hand over of the role of Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Air Corps to from King Charles to The Prince of Wales. William’s appointment as the new Colonel-in-Chief was announced in August 2023.

Charles and William conducted a rare father-son engagement. (Royal Family/Twitter)

Charles previously held the role, while Prince of Wales, for 31 years.

Upon arrival at the Army Aviation Centre, His Majesty was met by a Guard of Honour and Lieutenant General Sir Nicholas Borton, Colonel Commandant of the Army Air Corps, who joined Charles on a tour of The Army Flying Museum. The Museum tells the story of British army flying from the early days of military ballooning, to the modern day Army Air Corps.

Within the Museum, The King met veterans and their families, before unveiling a plaque which commemorates the arrival of the first Apache AH Mk.1 to be installed in a British museum. The Apache, now at The Army Flying Museum, was one of two that carried troops on their stub wings in the Battle of Jugroom Fort, Afghanistan, in 2007.

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Speaking to a veteran who had previously undergone chemotherapy for testicular cancer, Charles gave a personal insight into his own health. He mentioned losing his sense of taste as he discussed the side effects of his cancer treatment, following his diagnosis earlier this year.

The Monarch is currently receiving treatment for an undisclosed form of cancer and was given the green light by his doctors to return to public-facing duties last month.

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The King gave a brief speech on which he noted his was a ‘great joy’ to be at the centre ‘but also it is tinged with great sadness after 32 years of knowing you all and admiring your many activities and your achievements’, passing on the role.

‘Having had the pleasure of knowing you for so long I do hope you’ll go from strength to strength in the future with The Prince of Wales as your new colonel in chief, the great thing is he’s a very good pilot, so that’s encouraging,’ Charles added.

Today’s visit saw William conduct his first engagement as the new Colonel-in-Chief. (Kensington Palace)

Following his tour of the museum, The King went on to meet his eldest son, Prince William, for the official hand-over, in front of an Apache. Together, The King and the Prince then met serving aircrew.

Following His Majesty’s departure, The Prince of Wales then embarked on his first engagement with the Army Air Corps as Colonel-in-Chief, changing into fatigues for the job.

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William received a briefing on the Army Air Corps’ current work and saw training and operational aircraft used by the Regiment, before meeting aircrew and the supporting ground staff. He heard from soldiers across a range of roles within the regiment that are involved in supporting operations.

The Royal left the base on an Apache capability flight, learning more about the capabilities of the equipment and the people that fly and support it.

Prince William was a pilot for East Anglian Air Ambulance between March 2015 and July 2017, so has a number of years experience flying plans. Following his time with the EAAA, he has made a key part of his royal work to support the mental health of frontline workers.

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