#1Dec 15th, 2006
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.
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..