With just two weeks to go until he heads off on his first foreign visit on behalf of the Queen, Prince William has taken the unusual step of speaking out about his role in the royal family.
The 27-year-old, who will travel to New Zealand and Australia on January 17 for a five-day visit, has made it clear he will not become a "shadow king", and instead plans to further his military career.
Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, William's press secretary went on the record at the weekend to quash increasing speculation – fuelled by a leaked treasury document outlining possible changes to the prince's role – that he is about to increase his royal duties.
"Over the next few years, Prince William will be concentrating primarily on a military career while also slightly increasing his (charity) patronages and the other interests he pursues," said the St James Palace spokesman.
Prince Charles' eldest son is said to be keen to rule out doing anything that would undermine his father.
"Prince William sees more closely than anyone the huge amount of hard work that the Prince of Wales puts in to trying to make a difference to the country," a senior source told the paper.
"The Prince of Wales is a hugely passionate man and Prince William wants to spotlight to fall on his father as much as possible. Prince William does not want to be put in a position before his time."
Instead, the Queen's grandson will be concentrating on his flying career, and will this year be based at Anglesey's RAF Valley training to become a fully operational search and rescue pilot.
William, who is expected to work as a pilot until at least 2013, has already been awarded his 'provisional wings' after completing a year-long advanced course and will need a further eight months training to become fully qualified.
"Prince William knows he has to keep his head down to realise what is his dream of becoming a search and recue pilot," said one senior aide.
"He is incredibly motivated to achieve this."