11 JUNE 2008

Sitting at the controls of a top-class submarine, an expression of grim determination on his face, Prince William looked like James Bond in his naval Commander days. The future king was, in fact, on a mission - albeit of a different sort - to preserve the HMS Alliance for future generations.

The tour of the vessel at Gosport's Royal Navy Submarine Museum was Wills' first engagement as patron of a fundraising appeal to restore the sub, which is the last of its kind in the UK.

Launched in 1945, Alliance was one of 14 'A' class submarines built for service in the Far East, and is now the museum's star attraction.

William - who is on attachment to the Royal Navy after a stint in the Air Force, and holds the honorary title of Commodore-in-Chief, Submarines - emphasised the project was vital to promote understanding of "the past heroism and sacrifice of Britain's submariners".

Photo: ©
The royal, who's just finished training with the Air Force, inspects a World War II submarine at the Royal Navy Museum in Gosport Photo: © AFP
Photo: ©
William, the patron of a fundraising appeal for the restoration of the vessel, was clearly fascinated by the equipment on board Photo: © AFP