He is used to carrying out his duties in public but for the past three weeks, the Duke of Cambridge has been quietly at work on a top-secret assignment. William has spent a week with each of the three branches of the UK’s Intelligence Services – MI5, MI6 and GCHQ – working full-time alongside operatives and agents to get an understanding for their crucial roles.
Speaking at the end of the placement, the Duke said: "Spending time inside our security and intelligence agencies, understanding more about the vital contribution they make to our national security, was a truly humbling experience. These agencies are full of people from everyday backgrounds doing the most extraordinary work to keep us safe. They work in secret, often not even able to tell their family and friends about the work they do or the stresses they face.
Prince William behind the scenes on Her Majesty's Secret Service
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"They are driven by an unrivalled patriotism and dedication to upholding the values of this country," he continued. "We all owe them deep gratitude for the difficult and dangerous work they do."
A royal source told HELLO! "The Duke cares hugely about the communities that protect us and has done a lot with first responders and the military. But this is an area that doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves. The Duke is also very interested in their work itself and as a future King he will be briefed on it, so he wanted to spend time alongside the operatives themselves, not just the agency chiefs."
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William’s covert posting began with a week at Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), known as MI6, whose officers work overseas, developing foreign contacts and gathering intelligence to protect the UK. During his week at MI5, he worked alongside counter terrorism teams to see how they conduct their investigations and carry out analysis and surveillance.
Watch the video above to see Prince William in his other role, as a dad
In his final week at GCHQ in Cheltenham, he saw how officers use cutting-edge technology, technical ingenuity and wide-ranging partnerships to identify, analyse and disrupt threats. David, GCHQ Head of Counter-Terrorism Operations said: "Having The Duke of Cambridge spend time with our teams was an incredible opportunity. William worked exceptionally hard to embed himself in the team and comfortably held his own amongst some highly skilled analysts and operators. His Royal Highness asked some probing questions and demonstrated a real grasp of our mission. This was a rare opportunity to expose, in detail, the technical ingenuity and problem solving skills needed on a daily basis to help keep the UK safe."
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