Prince William and Kate Middleton back to work after getting special permission from Queen – Mirror Online

Prince William and Kate Middleton have made their first public appearance since attending Prince Philip’s funeral – after being special permission by the Queen.

As the monarch faced a lonely 95th birthday, the Cambridges visited the RAF Air Cadets’ 282 (East Ham) Squadron in east London on Wednesday to learn how it supports young people through the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

The couple were given special permission by the Queen to attend the engagement during royal mourning to honour the Duke of Edinburgh’s links with the air cadets and the DoE awards.

On the command ‘three cheers for His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh’, the cadets gave a rousing ‘hip, hip hooray’.

Kate, wearing a face mask, took a seat inside a plane used for training.

The Squadron paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, who served as Honorary Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Air Training Corps for 63 years.

In 2015, the duke passed the military patronage to the Duchess of Cambridge, who became Honorary Air Commandant.

The visit came four days after the Cambridges were seen chatting with Harry, 36, outside St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle following Saturday’s scaled-back funeral for Philip.

Prince William and Kate Middleton speak to air cadets

Prince William and Kate Middleton spent time speaking to air cadets in east London
(Image: Ian Vogler/Daily Mirror)

Kate, 39, was dubbed a “peacemaker” after she slipped away and allowed the warring brothers some time to talk along during their walk from the chapel to the castle’s private apartments.

It appears Harry flew from London to Los Angeles on Tuesday and is back at home with his pregnant wife Meghan Markle and their son Archie, who turns two in May.

William, who served in the RAF himself, was asked by Cadet Sergeant Roberto Afrasinei, 13, a cadet for three years, if he wanted to try on some of their kit.

‘Maybe not today. I’ve got enough webbing at home,’ joked William, who was wearing a black tie with his jacket and chinos.

Kate, who was wearing a black military-style coat with brass buttons – details of which were not given due to royal mourning – asked: ‘Is everyone responsible for their own kit?’

Kate Middleton sits inside an Air Cadets plane used for training

Kate, wearing a face mask, sits inside a plane used for training
(Image: Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)

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Watching cadet climb into a ‘Basher’ – a small tent – the prince joked ‘cosy!’

‘Are you new to cadets? Were you attracted by the camaraderie, meeting people? he asked.

The couple watched a team building and leadership exercise, as the cadets moved items including a fire extinguisher and a teddy bear with ropes.

‘Whose teddy bear is that?’ He laughed.

He added: ‘What did your friends think when you joined up? Do you guys see a career in the forces? Did you think of that when you joined cadets?’

When one young boy told him they hadn’t originally, but were now keen to do so, he remarked: ‘Interesting. Changes your mindset.’

Kate added: Do you enjoy getting the leadership skills? Do you think you would have got these leadership skills outside of cadets.’

‘Gives you a bit of a head start, doesn’t it? said William.

‘There’s a satisfaction there. Do your friends and peers see the value the cadets offer? The hardest thing is joining up. You don’t know what to expect. I bet you have changed as people, I bet you have grown a lot.’

William and Kate meet air cadets and serving RAF officers at Cornwell VC Cadet Centre

William and Kate met air cadets and serving RAF officers at Cornwell VC Cadet Centre
(Image: Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)

The Queen on Wednesday marked the first birthday of her reign and the first in almost eight decades without Philip. It was due to be a private and low-key affair as she spoke out for the first time to thank well-wishers.

She was expected to have lunch with close family members and video calls with great-grandchildren as she continues to shield at Windsor Castle with out 20 staff members.

Birthday events were cancelled or scaled-back as the Royal Family remains in an official two-week period of mourning.

At the Cornwell VC Cadet Centre on Wednesday, William, 38, and Kate met cadets taking part in field craft exercises and leadership tasks before speaking to a number of the young people who are preparing for their Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

Each year, the Air Cadets receives approximately 3,000 awards across the scheme’s Bronze, Silver and Gold levels, amounting to over 193,000 Awards since the programme began in 1956.

Their Royal Highnesses also heard more about the Air Cadets’ Pre-Duke of Edinburgh’s Award ‘Blue Badge’ scheme which is aimed at cadets aged between 12 and 14, and allows them to begin to develop their skills and engage in activities before they are of age to take part in the Bronze, Silver and Gold levels.

Kate speaking with members of the 282 East Ham Squadron

Kate speaking with members of the 282 East Ham Squadron
(Image: REUTERS)

It is the couple's first engagement since Prince Philip's funeral on Saturday

It is the couple’s first engagement since Prince Philip’s funeral on Saturday
(Image: REUTERS)

The duke and duchess also spoke with a group of serving RAF officers who were all previously cadets and heard more about how taking part in the Air Cadets and its core activities allowed them to gain important life and social skills which they have taken forward into their careers.

Many cadets go on to carry out roles in the Royal Air Force and other services, and around 40 per cent of officers and 50 per cent of all aircrew currently serving in the RAF are ex-cadets.

At the end of the visit, the Squadron took part in a Three Cheers Salute in honour of Philip, who was a talented pilot in addition to being a decorated Navy veteran.

He gained his wings in 1953.

William and Kate were given permission by the Queen to attend during the royal mourning period

William and Kate were given permission by the Queen to attend during the royal mourning period
(Image: REUTERS)

Cadet Sergeant Tommy Dade (far left) and Cadet Sergeant Bronwyn Jacobs (far right) stand with the Duke of Edinburgh (second right) as he meets Air Commodore, Dawn McCafferty, Commandant of the Air Cadet organisation (centre) at Buckingham Palace in London, as he retired from the post of Air Commodore in Chief and on the occasion of the Duchess of Cambridge (second left) becoming Honorary Air Commandant of the Air Cadets

Kate became Honorary Air Commandant as Philip retired from his post as Air Commodore in Chief in 2015
(Image: PA Archive)

Throughout his patronage His Royal Highness frequently met with cadets and took a keen interest in their activities and achievements.

In 1962, to mark the 21st anniversary of the Air Training Corps, the duke presented the Corps with its own Banner during a service and parade at St Clement Danes.

Group Captain Al Lewis said of the visit: ‘It was a really unique experience and the cadets only found out an hour before they arrived. Given that we haven’t had much activity over the last years it was a real morale boost.

“I was wonderful for them, too, to see the real legacy that the Duke of Edinburgh left.

“I spoke to the duke about whether he was still flying and he said he was very keen to try to keep his flying hours up. He clearly misses flying professionally.

“It was interesting to see the duchess get in the simulator instead of him. She did very well. He was goading her to say ‘well it’s not as easy as it seems’.”

The Duke of Edinburgh, 99, died peacefully in his sleep at Windsor Castle on April 9, and his funeral was held on Saturday at St George’s Chapel.

Established in 1941, the Air Cadets is a UK-wide cadet force with more than 32,000 members aged between 12 and 19.

Senior royals walk behind Prince Philip's coffin

William and other senior royals walked behind Philip’s coffin on Saturday
(Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Sponsored by the Royal Air Force, the Air Cadets provides hands-on experience that challenge and develop skills amongst young people to help them succeed, encourage the spirit of adventure and develop qualities of leadership and good citizenship.

282 (East Ham) Squadron supports more than 60 cadets to gain skills and qualifications across a variety of different disciplines from aviation, cyber and radio communications to adventure training, music, first aid and air experience flying, gliding and a space syllabus.

The Squadron has also taken part in a number of international trips to undertake projects such as refurbishing schools, rainforest conservation and teaching English classes.

The Queen spoke out for the first time since the death of her husband of 73 years to thank well-wishers across the globe for the tributes paid to him.

A photo of the Queen released on her 95th birthday

The Royal Family’s social media accounts shared this photo of the Queen on her 95th birthday

The Queen sits alone at Philip's funeral

Coronavirus rules forced the Queen to sit alone at Philip’s funeral
(Image: Getty Images)

The monarch said she and her family were in a “period of great sadness” but were comforted by words of praise for Philip.

She said the words of support reminded her of the “extraordinary impact” the duke had on people during his life.

The public have been leaving floral tributes with cards and letters at royal palaces in memory of the duke, and an online book of condolence has been opened offering people across the globe the opportunity to share their memories of Philip.

The Queen said: “I have, on the occasion of my 95th birthday today, received many messages of good wishes, which I very much appreciate.

“While as a family we are in a period of great sadness, it has been a comfort to us all to see and to hear the tributes paid to my husband, from those within the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and around the world.

“My family and I would like to thank you all for the support and kindness shown to us in recent days.

“We have been deeply touched, and continue to be reminded that Philip had such an extraordinary impact on countless people throughout his life.”

The Royal Family’s social media accounts shared a photo of a smiling Queen, taken during an event held before Philip’s death.

The caption stated: “Today is The Queen’s 95th birthday. HM was born on 21 April 1926 at 17 Bruton Street in London, the first child of The Duke and Duchess of York.

“This year The Queen remains at Windsor Castle during a period of Royal Mourning following the death of The Duke of Edinburgh.”

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