Prince William and Kate Middleton were in a nostalgic mood as they returned to their former home of Anglesey on Thursday. The royal couple lived in the North of Wales for three years when William was working as a search and rescue pilot for the RAF.
William and Kate, who touched down by helicopter at around 11am, were no doubt thrilled to be returning to the Welsh island – 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 during their visit. "It was the start of our life together really."
The pair returned to the Welsh isle to attend the a 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 and William lived in Anglesey for three years. Photo: Getty Images
Kate, 34, looked stylish as ever in a red LK Bennett coat and hat by Lock & Co. The Duchess, who had left children Princess Charlotte at home, accessorized with a pair of black gloves and a black clutch.
After watching the parade, William and Kate met current and former search and rescue personnel at a reception held in the officers' mess, some of whom previously served with the Duke during his time as a search and rescue pilot.
The Prince worked as a search and rescue pilot for the RAF. Photo: Getty Images
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, told reporters at the parade.
"He was not only up to doing it but he did more than that," said Mr. Dunlop. "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."
The couple watched the Search and Rescue Force disbandment parade. Photo: Getty Images
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.
"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.