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Prince William returns to duty with first royal engagement since tour abroad

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Prince William has carried out his first royal engagement since his return from the Australia and New Zealand tour. The second-in-line to the throne left his wife the Duchess of Cambridge, née Kate Middleton, and the couple's ten-month-old son Prince George at home as he arrived by helicopter to Gosport in Hampshire. Looking dapper as usual, William, 31, wore a navy suit and pale blue tie. The Prince was warmly greeted by wellwishers who stood in neat lines as their guest of honour made his way up the path to the Royal Navy Submarine Museum.

Prince William royal navy© Photo: Rex

Prince William was visiting the newly-refurbished HMS Alliance in Gosport

William was visiting the HMS Alliance — the only surviving British World War Two-era submarine which had been restored at a cost of £7million. As Commodore-in-Chief for Submarines, the Prince supported the conservation appeal that partly funded the repairs and refurbishment. The event on Monday morning kicked off with a rededication ceremony in honour of the refurbished vessel. William sat alongside royal navy personnel as he listened to the service, sang hymns and then took centre stage, handing out prizes to young students who had won a poetry competition. The Prince was then given a tour of the submarine, which reopened last month and is now a memorial to the 5,300 British submariners who lost their lives in service. Once on board, William met veterans and the conservation team who looked delighted to welcome His Royal Highness.

Prince William royal navy© Photo: Rex

Prince William enjoyed a tipple of rum on board the submarine 

Much like the newly-qualified submariners who are presented with their Dolphins badge in a glass of rum, William was gifted a badge and some of the tipple at the end of his visit. William will no doubt have wanted to show his support for the renovation project, as HMS Alliance is the star attraction of the museum. The vessel has been on display since 1981 but started to rust and sink into the sea before renovation began in 2011.

The future King last visited Gosport in 2008 to open the Area of Remembrance — a memorial to the submariners who lost their lives in nearby Haslar.

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