Prince William graduates from Sandhurst Royal Military Academy


Rule Britannia: A new portrait of the Royal Family commemorating the commissioning of Prince Harry into the British Army by artist Sergei Pavlenko

It's a common occurence for the Queen to attend the passing out parade at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst to inspect the new soldiers of the British Army. But this one is extra special for her as her grandson and the future King is one of those taking part. Could King William V one day become the first British monarch since King George II to lead a British Army into battle? All the 220 new recruits are officers who will soon join their regiments, including those stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Times Online

December 15, 2006

The Queen inspects her grandson Prince William: he will now train to become a troop commander like his brother Harry (Lewis Whyld/AP)

Prince William graduates from Sandhurst

Kate Middleton received the Queen's blessing today as she joined the senior royals to watch Prince William graduate from Sandhurst.

It is her most significant public appearance to date since she started dating William four years ago. And her appearance at the major royal event will intensify speculation that the pair may marry at a future date.

By Times Online and PA News

Prince William became a commissioned officer in the Army today following his passing out parade at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.

The future King paraded in front of his grandmother, the Queen, who told the 220 graduating cadets that they must be "courageous yet selfess; leaders yet carers" in their military careers, which will formally begin in the coming weeks when they join their regiments as officers.

The Prince will become a second lieutenant in the Household Cavalry’s Blues and Royals, where his title will be Cornet. His younger brother, Prince Harry, joined the regiment after passing out of Sandhurst in April. The two princes will both train to become troop commanders in armoured reconnaissance units.

The commanding officer of the Household Division said today that Prince William's career would be determined by "special factors" and he is expected to experience all three branches of the Armed Forces, which he will one day, as King, command.

Prince William marching in the Sovereign's Parade at Sandhurst. He will join the Household Cavalry's Blues and Royals likes his brother Prince Harry

But Major General Sebastian Roberts said he could not rule out the Prince's deployment to a dangerous situation.

William graduated the day after an official police report, three years in the making, concluded that the car crash that killed his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997 was an accident. With his brother, the Prince asked for speculation about conspiracy theories surrounding her death to stop.

Today's happier occasion was overseen by the Queen, who also attended the passing out parade of Prince Harry. She presided over today's ceremony and told the cadets that they were all "very special people".

"You must be courageous, yet selfless; leaders yet carers; confident yet considerate, and you must be all these things in some of the most challenging places in the world."

The Queen was joined by Prince Phillip and the Prince of Wales overlooking the parade, but many eyes were for Kate Middleton, Prince William's girlfriend, who made her first public appearance at a royal event dressed in a red coat and sitting among friends and relatives of the other cadets in the general stands.

The Sword of Honour, awarded to the best cadet in each graduating class, was given by the Queen to Junior Under Officer Angela Laycock, only the third woman to win the prize.

Ms Laycock, who is joining the Royal Engineers, was in the same Blenheim Platoon as the Prince and said he was "just a normal guy that gets stuck in like everybody else".

"The only difference is that sometimes we’ll see his name in the paper and you didn’t notice he’d been off that evening doing a charity do. I don’t know how he manages to fit that in," she said.

Junior Under Officer David Robertson, who won the Queen's Medal for his high training scores, recalled the Prince throwing potatoes during a training exercise. "I will be able to tell my grandchildren I hit the future Monarch round the head with a 2lb potato."

Sandhurst Commandant Major General Peter Pearson said the other cadets had treated the Prince as just another training officer. "They all treat each other the same, they work together in groups. I don’t think it’s caused too much trouble for them."

And he was relieved that he would not have to decide whether the princes should serve in Iraq or Afghanistan if their regiment is deployed to a battlefield in the near future. Both have said they want to serve with their men.

"I think it’s perfectly understandable that anybody who joins the Army wants to go where their soldiers go," said General Pearson.

Prince William was one of a group of graduates who passed out of Sandhurst today by marching in the Sovereign's Parade.

The Prince of Wales was at Sandhurst today, where graduates included his eldest son Prince William

Sandhurst graduates, including Prince William, marching in the Sovereign's parade as part of their graduation ceremony

Prince William's girlfriend Kate Middleton was in the stands at Sandhurst to watch Prince William's graduation

Prince William graduating from Sandhurst, he is set to join the Household Cavalry's Blues and Royals like his brother Prince Harry

The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were all at Sandhurst to watch Prince William take part in the Sovereign's Parade

Kate Middleton - a likely future Queen - watches Prince William's graduation. It was the first time Kate has been at a high profile public event attended by the Queen and other senior royals as William's guest

Prince William taking part in 'Exercise Winter Victory' at Paramali Village in Cyprus last month
Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II inspecting graduates - including grandson Prince William - at Sandhurst army academy
Getty Images
Last edited by Blackleaf; Dec 15th, 2006 at 01:13 PM..
Charles for king! Who's this William!
He'll get his chance. The queen isn't about to chuck it all in cause he wants the job. If he even wants the job. Be bloody silly not to. It's good to be the king or queen. Shame Charle's first born wasn't a girl. Women in history seem to do a damn fine job of being world leaders.

Long live the Queen
If the Queen lives to the age her mother did - 101 - Charles may never become King. His mother could outlive him. The Queen's 80 but she may be Queen for another 20 years.
Why do the world's ruling elite flock to Sandhurst?

By Peter Caddick-Adams

Military historian

William being put through his paces

As Prince William graduates from Sandhurst, why do the world's ruling elite flock to military academies?

For many of the world's rulers, sending their offspring to a military academy is a sort of finishing school.

Often they choose Sandhurst, the military college in Surrey where officers have trained since 1812.

Graduating alongside Prince William on Friday will be 19 overseas students (out of a total of 220).

Past graduates include the heads of state of a dozen countries - the Kings of Jordan and Malaysia, the Emir of Qatar, and the Sultans of Brunei and Oman. Winston Churchill attended the military academy, as did singer James Blunt, writer Ian Fleming, actor David Niven, photographer Patrick Lichfield, and legions of businessmen as well as Dodi Al Fayed.

So what is the magic formula that Sandhurst offers?

The UK has three officer academies - Dartmouth on the south Devon coast for the Royal Navy, Cranwell in Lincolnshire for the RAF and Sandhurst for the British Army.

Although William's father, Prince Charles, graduated from Dartmouth, where he was following his father's tradition of naval service, arguably Sandhurst is a different league.

Do one's chores

For one thing, training at a military college - particularly Sandhurst - is a great social leveller.

The late King Hussein of Jordan (centre) trained at Sandhurst

The students may be crown princes and princesses, or the children of lorry drivers, but background doesn't matter as future male and female officers embark on their strenuous 44-week course, divided into three terms.

Officer cadets find themselves polishing boots, ironing shirts, facing intensive drill sessions and enduring gruelling physical training. For future rulers, this may be the only time in their lives they have to do all their own laundry.

Sandhurst is a military base and thus a secure place for royals and future rulers to train and study - and they do both for nearly a year.

Unlike West Point in the United States or St Cyr in France, the royal military college is not a university as 85% of each class are already graduates.

Each September, January and May a new intake of 270 entrants, divided into three companies of about 90, begin the most exacting series of intellectual and physical tests they will probably experience in their lives. About 15% will fail to complete the course.

As well as extensive calls on their physical stamina - with no special treatment for sheikhs or princes - cadets also study international affairs, conflict and communication skills.

Career starter

UK cadets like William and Harry, who graduated from Sandhurst last April, are bound for a three-year post as an army officer. Some stay on as career officers, but many leave and enter a diverse range of walks of life.

Prince Harry graduated in April

The bonds formed under pressure at Sandhurst can be lifelong. And the long-term benefits of this kind of networking for the royals and others destined to rise to future prominence can be imagined.

But access is not guaranteed. A Sandhurst place is secured only via the Army Officer Selection Board, long recognised as one of the most rigorous recruiting systems in the UK and much imitated by the private sector.

Officer Cadet William Wales becomes a second lieutenant at midnight. As he slow-marches up the steps of Old College in time to Auld Lang Syne, in a timeless military tattoo called the Sovereign's Parade, he can reflect that he has survived the most exacting education that money cannot buy. For Sandhurst, and other military colleges, are all about how a person is as a leader, not who they are.

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