13 July 2012

Flashback Friday: William in Uniform

While we were busy with other things, Prince William, a.k.a. the Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, and Baron Carrickfergus, turned the big 3-0. I thought we’d celebrate the Duke at his most dashing: in uniform, naturally.

With a family and a future like his, it’s no surprise that a military career was always in the cards for Prince William. His father and uncle are Navy men, as is his grandfather, who served in World War II. Even the queen joined the forces, training up as a mechanic during the war. (And obviously the history of princes and kings in the military extends much further back than that.) William holds commissions and honorary appointments in all three branches of the armed forces.

{We always have a lot of questions about medals and such, so let’s have a bit of preamble: the big blue sash and accompanying star you will see on many of the uniforms below is of course the sash of the Order of the Garter, into which William was inducted in 2008. William has recently added a second star, for the Order of the Thistle. Click here to read more about orders and such. You will also see one or two medals pinned on William’s chest; these are commemorative medals for the Golden and Diamond Jubilees.}

At Sandhurst
William started out at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst as Officer Cadet Wales, graduating in 2006. His commissioning was attended by the royal family and he participated in the Sovereign's Parade reviewed by the Queen, who made him giggle most inappropriately; a shot from this occasion was recently selected by William as his favorite photo with his granny.

The Blues and Royals
Leaving Sandhurst, William followed his brother into the Household Cavalry (Blues and Royals). He was promoted to Lieutenant in December 2007. Since the future holds a spot as the Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces for William, he then opted to train with the other two branches.

The Royal Navy
William’s naval training included five weeks stationed on a ship in the Caribbean, busting cocaine shipments and the like. Though we don’t see him wear it often, the Navy uniform - on a purely frivolous note - is my personal favorite dashing pick.

The Royal Air Force
Training with the Royal Air Force turned out to be the service in which William found a long-term home. He earned his wings (presented by his father) in 2008, and eventually he switched his commission to the RAF and began training to fly Sea King helicopters for the Search and Rescue arm of the RAF. He is stationed at RAF Valley in Anglesey, Wales, where he and Kate have a home. This year has seen Flight Lieutenant Wales deploy for 6 weeks to the Falkland Islands and qualify as an operational captain of Sea Kings.

The Irish Guards
Last, we have the latest addition to William’s uniform closet: the Queen made him Colonel of the Irish Guards in advance of his wedding in 2011. As he has noted in interviews since, his grandmother dictated the scarlet tunic of the Guards as his wedding attire; according to his recent interview with Katie Couric, he preferred to wear the black frock coat seen in the center above. (I say good call, Granny.) He did wear the black coat leaving Buckingham Palace in his father’s car. We now see him wearing the Irish Guards uniform with giant bearskin cap to ride Wellesley, the dapple gray charger, behind his grandmother in the annual Trooping the Colour parade.

Which is your favorite uniform?

Photos: EPA/Corbis/Rex/Getty Images/Telegraph/Daily Mail/Zimbio