Air Cadets celebrate 75th birthday with Kate as new commandant – and George is obsessed with Spitfires

It was Catherine’s first day with a new patronage on Monday, as she attended the 75th anniversary of the RAF Air Cadets in London.

Image licensed to i-Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arriving at a service at St.Clement Danes church in London to mark the 75th anniversary year of the RAF Air Cadets. It was her first official engagement as Honorary Air Commandant of the organisation. Picture by Stephen Lock / i-Images

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arriving at a service at St.Clement Danes church in London to mark the 75th anniversary year of the RAF Air Cadets. Picture by Stephen Lock / i-Images

The Duchess of Cambridge, who is now the Air Cadets’ first female honorary commandant, was greeted by crowds outside the RAF church, St Clement Danes. She wore the Dacre brooch, the highest honour a female cadet can receive. The brooch was usually awarded to the best female cadet every year, but since the tradition ended last year,  it was given to the Duchess after Prince Philip passed on his 63-year-long patronage.

The Duchess received the new patronage back in December, before attending The Queen’s Christmas Lunch at Buckingham Palace, and this was her first official event with the cadets.

Kate, 34, revealed to cadet Lucinda Conder that Prince George ‘is now obsessed with the Air Cadets and wants to join’. It was Ms Conder who was the best female cadet in 2015, and last wore the Dacre brooch now seen on the Royal: “It is quite an honour (to wear the brooch),” she said. “I was the last cadet to wear it, and now she is wearing it. It is the best accessory.” 

Girls began to join the cadets in 1982 (prior to this it was an all male troupe) and Mrs Dacre – who presented the best cadet troupe with a ceremonial sword of her late husband’s – presented the Corps with a diamond and ruby brooch on a sash, for the best female cadet. This was removed last year when it was decided women would be equal to their male cadets, and receive a sword.

A little mingling with the cadets saw Catherine presented with an intricately designed cake, made by cake artist Heather Bicknell, whose child is part of the Air Cadets.

After the service, it was to the Royal Courts of Justice for a reception to celebrate. Here, Kate met more cadets and volunteers, where she was the guest of honour.

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