Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Prince William and Kate reminisce about their Anglesey days: 'It was such a special time for us'

kate middleton group © Photo: Getty Images
Ainhoa Barcelona
Content Managing Editor
February 18, 2016
Share this:

On Thursday Prince William and Kate travelled to Anglesey – the place they used to call home for three years when William worked as a search and rescue pilot for the RAF. The royals, who touched down by helicopter at RAF Valley, were no doubt thrilled to be returning to the Welsh island, which was the first place they lived as a married couple.

"It was such a special time for us," Kate told Group Captain Steve Bentley and his wife Fyona at the officers' mess. "It was the start of our life together really."

kate middleton walking © Photo: Getty Images

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge touched down at RAF Valley

During their engagement, the Duke and Duchess watched the Search and Rescue Force disbandment parade.

The day formally bids farewell to the RAF's search and rescue operations in the UK after more than 75 years, and is a chance for search and rescue members and their families to pay tribute to the Force's achievements.

Kate, 34, looked stylish as ever in a red LK Bennett coat and hat by Lock & Co. The Duchess, who had left her children Prince George and Princess Charlotte at home, accessorised with a pair of black gloves and a black clutch.

kate middleton talking © Photo: Getty Images

Describing their time in Anglesey, Kate said: "It was the start of our life together really"

After watching the parade William and Kate met current and former search and rescue personnel at a reception, some of whom previously served with the Duke during his time as a search and rescue pilot.

The Prince caught up with Flight Sergeant Rob Linfoot, 35, who he worked with in 2012 and 2013. Rob recalled how the crew once bought William tea towels and cups with his and Kate's faces printed on it for a joke.

"Everyone gets a named cup or a named badge," explained Rob. "I think people went above and beyond and got him a few extra bits and pieces. Always nice to have a bit of memorabilia around the room."

When asked by reporters if that meant William was washing the dishes with his own face, Rob replied, "Yes", adding, "He was so much fun and really down to earth when you were on shift."

kate middleton1 © Photo: PA

Kate and William lived in Anglesey for three years

William, who now works as an air ambulance co-pilot for a charity, served as an operational search and rescue pilot in Anglesey for three years, under the title Flight Lieutenant Wales. Flying a Sea King helicopter, the Prince undertook a total of 156 search and rescue operations, resulting in 149 people being rescued.

William was "just another one of the guys" his former Squadron Commander, Wing Commander Sparky Dunlop, said.

kate middleton group © Photo: Getty Images

The Prince worked as a search and rescue pilot for the RAF

"He was not only up to doing it but he did more than that," said Sparky. "When he was serving with us he was a very good pilot. He would come on shift and do all the duties associated with going on shift.

"He would live and work with his crew, go on rescues with his crew, eat with his crew. He was just another one of the guys. He is one of the family and we wanted as many of the family to come back today and say goodbye."

Former winchman instructor Master Aircrew Rik Maving, 55, also caught up with the Prince. "It was nice too see him again," said Rik. "He hasn't changed much apart from he's lost a bit more hair. Hey, we're all getting older."

kate middleton3 © Photo: PA

The couple watched the Search and Rescue Force disbandment parade

Anglesey holds a special place in William and Kate's hearts. Before moving back to London and Norfolk, William said that he and his wife would "miss it terribly".

Speaking to locals at the Anglesey show in 2013, just a couple of months after Prince George was born, William said: "I know that I speak for Catherine when I say I have never in my life known somewhere as beautiful and as welcoming as Anglesey.

kate middleton2 © Photo: PA

"It was such a special time for us," Kate said of her old life in Anglesey

"I know that both of us will miss it terribly when my search and rescue tour of duty comes to an end next month and we have to move elsewhere. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for making my wife and me so welcome when we arrived here."

The Duke and Duchess returned to Anglesey last November, to carry out a string of engagements related to children's mental health, a cause that Kate champions.

Sign up to HELLO Daily! for the best royal, celebrity and lifestyle coverage

By entering your details, you are agreeing to HELLO! Magazine User Data Protection Policy. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, please click here.

More Royalty

See more