11 OCTOBER 2007

Prince William is finally set to achieve his lifelong ambition of learning how to fly. After completing - at the end of the year - his term with the Household Cavalry Regiment, in which he serves with brother Prince Harry, the action-loving 25-year-old is to spend four months training with the RAF. And from January he will be following in his father’s footsteps by taking to the skies in helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.

The news will be welcome to William, who had apparently feared he would not be able to learn to fly as his vision is not perfect. He wears glasses in private.

Wills will then take up a secondment with the Royal Navy next summer to "gain an understanding of life on submarines and surface ships", says a statement from Clarence House. Adds a spokesperson: "William has spent the last two years in the Army. He would now like some familiarisation and understanding of both the RAF and the Royal Navy, given the fact that one day he will be head of the Armed Forces."

The attachments mean he'll be the first modern royal to serve with all three branches of the military, and will allow him "to share the working lives of airmen and sailors". When he completes his military stints in January 2009 there will be some big decisions to make about his future – as he faces a choice of staying in the Army or pursuing a career in civilian life.

The young Prince has already stepped up his charity commitments, taking on several patronages in the last year, as has his brother Harry who returns to solo duties for the first time on Thursday night. Prince Charles' younger son is set to make his first appearance by himself in five years at a reception in the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in his capacity as a patron of MapAction.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
The second lieutenant will begin training with the RAF in January, following in the footsteps of his dad who trained as a jet pilot at RAF Cranwell Photo: © Getty Images
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Wills' stints with the Airforce and Navy, along with his experience in the Army, are designed to prepare him for his future role as head of the Armed Forces Photo: © Getty Images