Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Prince William and Kate Middleton's special day trip to Cyprus – all the best photos

Special delivery!

kate middleton arrival cyprus
Sharnaz Shahid
Sharnaz ShahidDeputy Online Editor
Share this:

kate middleton trousers cyprus© Photo: Getty Images

Following yesterday's festivities at Kensington Palace, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have arrived at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus to meet the servicemen and their families living at the base. The royals are meeting with men and women who have been separated from their loved ones over the festive period. The day before, Prince William and Kate hosted a Christmas party for families from RAF Coningsby and RAF Marham who have a relative deployed in Cyprus.

MORE: Why Prince William and Kate didn't take their kids to the Christmas party

At the event, Kate told the invited wives, partners, grandparents and children: "Not only are we grateful for you coming here to join our party, but also for the sacrifices you make on a daily basis on behalf of the nation." During their brief visit to RAF Akrotiri on the Mediterranean island, the Duke and Duchess handed out the presents from some of the families they met for the military personnel deployed at the RAF base.

kate middleton hand shake cyprus© Photo: Getty Images

The royals made a whirlwind visit to personally thank British forces for the sacrifices they make over Christmas. Thousands of military personnel will be separated from their families during the festive period and William and Kate have flown to RAF Akrotiri on the Mediterranean island to honour their commitment.

kate middleton prince william military© Photo: HELLO!

A line of military dignitaries were waiting to greet the duke and duchess when they arrived at the base on the RAF Voyager ministerial jet, including Akrotiri's station commander, Group Captain Chris Snaith. 

kate middleton laughing cyprus© Photo: PA

The couple arrived bearing Christmas gifts for members of 11 Squadron, Typhoon fighter unit based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, who fly missions from the Cyprus base to combat IS.

kate middleton in cyprus with william© Photo: PA

The couple started with a group of RAF support personnel including Tina Hays, from RAF Marham, who has a son aged 12. She told Kate: "I've been in the military for 15 years and have had several overseas deployments. But I find that the older they get, the worse it is. It's very difficult to be away at Christmas but we try to work it around holidays and things like that." She said afterwards that the couple "really sympathised" with how difficult it was.

kate middleton listening speech cyprus© Photo: PA

Corporal Karl Noakes, 33, also from RAF Marham, said he had been sent pictures of his daughter Alysia, two, at yesterday's Christmas party at the palace. He said: "It's a tough one. I've been away lots of times and it’s never easy but it’s very different now I am a dad. My little girl is now asking for me when we speak and even playing her mother off against me when he is playing up. It’s difficult all round. I’m complete lost in admiration for what my wife, Nicole, does when I’m not they, especially work Christmas coming up." Corporal Noakes, who won't return to his family until February, praised the duke and duchess for organising yesterday’s party, saying: "It meant so much to everyone. My daughter had so much fun but was shattered last night. I think they really understand what it is like for all of us."

kate middleton RAF Akrotiri© Photo: PA

During the festive period there will be 11,000 sailors, soldiers, airmen and marines deployed on operations.

kate middleton talking soldiers© Photo: PA

William and Kate chatted happily about the party. "There was a lot of chocolates and marshmallow consumed yesterday. The kids were running wild," the Prince said. "It was lovely to see them having so much fun," Kate added.

prince william speech cyrpus© Photo: PA

After meeting air and ground crew from RAF Akrotiri and other forces in a hangar, William praised the efforts of Britain's Armed Forces. "Thank you for your commitment and thank you for your sacrifices," he said. "We are in your debt and Catherine and I feel very lucky to be able to spend time with you today."

kate middleton prince william christmas tree cyprus© Photo: PA

The duke, a former RAF Search and Rescue helicopter pilot, said about the efforts of the military: "All of this work is done without fanfare. You don't seek praise for your contribution. It's not about credit or recognition - for you, it's just about service." He added: "But as we approach Christmas, Catherine and I feel strongly that praise for your work and recognition of your sacrifices is exactly what is due to you all." 

kate middleton giving out christmas presents© Photo: PA

"From my time in uniform, we both know a bit of what it feels like to balance your work commitments with your family life," continued William."You all put duty first, and so do your families, some of whom we had the chance to meet yesterday at a party at Kensington Palace." Here, the Duchess looking delighted as she came bearing Christmas gifts for the servicemen.

kate william tree© Photo: PA

Empathising with the time troops were spending away from their families in service to the country, Kate at one point said: "Some of the children really understood what their mums and dads are doing and missed you all. I'm sorry that we couldn’t bring your families with us for Christmas."

kate middleton child cyprus© Photo: PA

The royals later enjoyed tea and cakes with families living in the Cyprus military bases, asking children their names and ages, and quizzing adults about life out there.

prince william present cyprus© Photo: PA

Prince William handed out gifts for select personnel at the base, sent by their children and to be opened in private at Christmas.

kate middleton walkabout cyprus© Photo: PA

After the day's proceedings, Kate took part in a quick walkabout where she met some young royals well-wishers.

prince william drawing cyprus© Photo: PA

At one point, William was seen receiving a drawing from young royal fans.

More Royalty

See more