Unlike some other members of the British Royal Family (ahem, Princess Beatrice), Prince William actually has a reasonably demanding job in the Royal Air Force. And he just got a new qualification: Flight Lieutenant Wales, as he’s known in the RAF, is a search and rescue operational captain as of Tuesday (the new qualification, Reuters noted, does not alter his rank). What does that mean? Well, instead of simply co-piloting RAF Sea King helicopters, he’ll be in the driver’s seat on search and rescue operations. (And ladies, don’t get any ideas about flinging yourself into the sea in the hopes of being saved by a prince. He’s married! And you won’t look very good emerging from the Atlantic.)(PHOTOS: Pippa Middleton’s Most Fashionable Moments)
To gain the qualification, the Duke of Cambridge had to complete various test scenarios including an airborne search for a yacht, a search for people swept out to sea, a fire on a large survey vessel and hunt for two missing kayakers, one of whom had to be rushed to hospital. William was then sent on a real-life rescue mission, transferring an oil worker with chest pains 30 miles from his offshore rig to a hospital. The Duke had to miss the first day of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations this past weekend to complete the test.
Prince William has been in the RAF for nearly two years, based on the remote island of Anglesey in North Wales, where he lives with his wife Kate in a rented whitewashed farmhouse. He’s said in the past that he finds it difficult to balance military and royal duties because “I really enjoy my time in the Air Force and I’d love to continue it.”