King Charles III Names Prince William Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Air Corps, Prince Harry’s Old Squadron

Photo Credit: Max Mumby / Indigo / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Max Mumby / Indigo / Getty Images

King Charles III has passed on the baton of colonel-in-chief of the Army Air Corps to one of his sons – but it’s not the one with ties to the service. At a ceremony on May 13, 2024, the British monarch named William, Prince of Wales to the role, in a decision that many view as a “snub” toward Charles’ youngest son.

King Charles III and William, Prince of Wales walking with two members of the Army Air Corps
Photo Credit: Max Mumby / Indigo / Getty Images

The Army Air Corps is the aviation branch of the British Army. It was first formed during the Second World War, as a separate entity to the Royal Air Force, and was disbanded in 1949. It was reformed in 1957, with its primary role being to provide aerial support to troops on the ground

King Charles III was named the colonel-in-chief of the branch 32 years ago. In, 2023, he announced that Prince William would be taking over the role in the new year.

William has a history with the British military, serving as a platoon commander with the Blues and Royals (Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons). He’d joined as a cornet in 2006, alongside his brother. Before long, he’d embarked on flight training with the Royal Air Force and, upon the completion of his training, served as a search and rescue pilot at RAF Valley for three years.

Prince William standing in his military fatigues
Photo Credit: Tim Graham Photo Library / Getty Images

The handing-over ceremony took place at the Army Aviation Centre and Army Flying Museum in Middle Wallop, Hampshire. In an impromptu speech, King Charles III spoke about the Army Air Corps’ efforts during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as his hopes for the service under his son’s purview.

“I do hope you’ll go from strength-to-strength with the Prince of Wales as your new Commander-in-Chief,” he said. “I can’t tell you how proud it has made me to have been involved with you all this time.”

The ruling British monarch also joked that his son was a “very good pilot indeed,” adding, “So that’s encouraging.”

King Charles III handing William, Prince of Wales the beret of the Army Air Corps
Photo Credit: Max Mumby / Indigo / Getty Images

To show the transfer of power, King Charles III handed Prince William the belt and beret of the Army Air Corps. Upon receiving the items, he officially became the commander-in-chief of the service, which is home to the No. 662 Squadron AAC, with whom his brother had served.

After taking over the role, William was immediately given his first job, receiving a briefing on the Army Air Corps’ work today. At the end of the important occasion, he boarded a Boeing AH-64 Apache and embarked on a capability flight, during which he was shown the helicopter’s technology and told more about the pilots charged with manning the aircraft.

Close-up of William, Prince of Wales holding the belt and beret of the Army Air Corps
Photo Credit: Max Mumby / Indigo / Getty Images

No mention was made of Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, who flew the Apache on two tours of Afghanistan and served as an officer in the British Army for 10 years. By the time he’d exited the service, he’d risen to the rank of Apache helicopter commander. In a nod to his abilities, the British Defence Ministry in 2012 named Harry the best front-seat pilot out of his class of 20.

Many discussing the ceremony have noted the strained relationship Harry has with his family – in particular, his brother. A royal expert also told FOX News that the transfer of power to Prince William and not Harry is a “cruel snub.”

Prince Harry standing in his military fatigues
Photo Credit: Ben Stansall – WPA Pool / Getty Images

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Along with presenting Prince William with the honor, the ceremony also saw King Charles III unveil a commemorative plaque honoring the arrival of the first Apache Mk. 1 at the museum.

Clare Fitzgerald

Clare Fitzgerald is a Writer and Editor with eight years of experience in the online content sphere. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from King’s University College at Western University, her portfolio includes coverage of digital media, current affairs, history and true crime.

Among her accomplishments are being the Founder of the true crime blog, Stories of the Unsolved, which garners between 400,000 and 500,000 views annually, and a contributor for John Lordan’s Seriously Mysterious podcast. Prior to its hiatus, she also served as the Head of Content for UK YouTube publication, TenEighty Magazine.

In her spare time, Clare likes to play Pokemon GO and re-watch Heartland over and over (and over) again. She’ll also rave about her three Maltese dogs whenever she gets the chance.

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