The Royal Family

Prince William Congratulates Cadets At Naval Passing-out Parade

The Prince of Wales congratulated Royal Navy cadets at their passing-out parade on Thursday, as well as international officer cadets from Oman, Kuwait, Bangladesh and Trinidad and Tobago.

The royal addressed this year’s Lord High Admiral’s Divisions at Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, Devon, telling the officer cadets that his late grandparents met there.

At the parade, Prince William took the royal salute and inspected the front rank of the Guard and the Royal Marines Band of Plymouth, as well as the ranks of St Vincent, Howe and St George Divisions.

Prince William in Royal Navy uniform

It was at Dartmouth, in July 1939, that the late Duke of Edinburgh and late Queen Elizabeth had their first publicised meeting.

Prince Philip, who was 18, was introduced to Elizabeth, then 13, at the house of the college captain.

Prince William, who is Commodore-in-Chief Submarines, said it was a “great honour” to represent his father King Charles at the event.

“Whilst my own passing out parade was at Sandhurst, Britannia Royal Naval College still holds a very special place in my heart,” he told the gathering.

“It is well known that my grandmother and grandfather met here, while my great-grandfather, King George VI, was conducting these very duties.

“But today we are here to celebrate you.”

Prince William, wearing a Royal Navy greatcoat, cap and sword, said those passing out would have formed bonds and friendships they would be able to rely on throughout their careers.

He last wore a navy uniform at the Clyde naval base in Faslane, Scotland, in October 2010.

“These friendships are even more important today, as the Royal Navy continues to grow and expand as a force for good around the world,” he told those gathered.

He described it as an “extremely exciting time” to be serving with the Royal Navy.

“This is truly a period of great expansion, and if they had their time again, I know many senior officers would want to be passing out with you today,” Prince William said.

The Prince of Wales viewing a parade of 202 Royal Navy Cadets

As he concluded his speech, Prince William praised military and academic staff at the naval college as well as friends and families, and the newest naval officers.

“I wish you every success as you embark on this incredible journey of duty and service to our nation. Thank you,” he said.

All of those passing out on Thursday had undergone 29 weeks of intensive training, turning them from civilians into junior naval officers.

They have been tested in a variety of scenarios including at Dartmoor, the River Dart and at sea on board an operational warship.

Most of the junior naval officers will now go on to further training in their chosen branches of the Royal Navy.

Prince William completed a short, intensive training course at the naval college before sailing with the frigate HMS Iron Duke on Caribbean anti-narcotics patrols in 2008.

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After the parade, he met heads of department at the college as well as cadets who took part in the parade, and their instructors.

During the reception, he wore Royal Navy 1B dress with aiguillettes, full-size medals and a garter star – the first time Prince William has worn this uniform.

Capt Sarah Oakley, commanding officer of Britannia Royal Naval College, described the Lord High Admiral’s Divisions as “probably the most prestigious” passing out parade of the year.

The Prince of Wales receives a Christmas gift

She called it a “historic day” to be hosting Prince William as the event’s guest of honour.

“All the cadets passing out have reached a significant milestone in their naval career and now move on to the next stage of training and new roles across the Royal Navy,” Capt Oakley said.

“Whether this is their first step on their naval journey, or the culmination of many years of dedicated service, passing out of the college as a naval officer in front of friends and family is a testament to their hard work and commitment.”


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