A new major royal role for Prince William as he starts to assume more duties

Prince William will be taking on more public duties in preparation for his future role as king. Next year he will travel to Australia and New Zealand on behalf on his grandmother, although it has been strongly denied that the Queen is cutting back on her work load
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One day Prince William will become king. And in preparation for that responsibility, the 27-year-old is to start assuming more public duties inside the royal family.

While Buckingham Palace is keen to reiterate that the Queen has no intentions of slowing down, her grandson will soon travel to Australia and New Zealand on her behalf, it has been revealed.

The news was disclosed in a 'memorandum of understanding', a document prepared by the Treasury in agreement with the royal household.

The revised report reveals that "from next year it is expected that HRH Prince William will spend a significant part of his time on official engagements."

As well as heading Down Under in 2010, Prince Charles' son – who is president of England's Football Association - will also reportedly be going to South Africa for the World Cup in the summer.

A spokesman for William – who last week qualified as a military helicopter pilot – has confirmed: "He will be gradually taking on more patronages and doing more duties as time goes by."

"He's become a Knight of the Garter and a Royal Bencher… for example, and slowly taken on more charities but he is still going to be focusing primarily on his work as a search and rescue pilot for the next three years."

It has been emphatically denied by the palace that the Queen, 83, is cutting her workload because of her age.

Officials have also dismissed claims that Charles will be by-passed for the throne in favour of his son as "nonsense."