Prince William returns to work and inspects his helicopter after a month of absence

Ainhoa Barcelona

Prince William was pictured back at work on Monday morning, after nearly four weeks off the job. The future King was seen inspecting and preparing his helicopter at the East Anglian Air Ambulance base.

William, who is believed to have started work at seven in the morning, wore his usual high-visibility jacket and work overalls as he checked the helicopter before heading into the base at Cambridge airport to await a call out.

This was the first time the Duke has been on duty since mid-February. He took time out to enjoy a short ski break with his wife the Duchess of Cambridge and the couple's two children Prince George and Princess Charlotte in the French Alps this month.

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Prince William inspected his helicopter before waiting for a call out

William has also been carrying out a number of official engagements. Last week he stepped in for his wife Kate to take part in the St Patrick's Day parade in Hounslow; he also attended the annual Commonwealth service with the Queen and other senior royals at Westminster Abbey.

Balancing his day job with royal duties has meant that William has completed around 15 shifts this year. Air ambulance pilots usually work nine and a half shifts on a four-on, four-off rota.

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The future King has shrugged off claims he is "work-shy"

The 33-year-old Prince began working as an air ambulance pilot last summer, shortly after welcoming his daughter Charlotte in May and taking paternity leave. He donates his full salary to the East Anglian Air Ambulance charity and alongside his colleagues, William responds to emergencies in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire.

The charity regularly completes more than 150 missions each month. The Queen's grandson has often been spotted on rescue missions and this month he helped transport a three-year-old boy from Essex to hospital, after the youngster suffered an anaphylactic shock triggered by eating a snack containing peanuts.

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The Cambridges enjoyed a short ski break in the French Alps this month

William's return to work comes after the Prince shrugged off claims that he is "work-shy". In an interview with ITV's Mark Austin, the Prince was asked if he found it annoying that his workload was being questioned.

William responded saying receiving criticism is "part of the job" and denied giving a more detailed answer. "Today is more about talking about the poaching crisis," he said.