The Duchess of Cambridge and the prince attend service at RAF Valley, North Wales, to mark the disbandment of RAF Search and Rescue after 75 year
The Duchess of Cambridge reminisced about when she and Prince William lived in Anglesey, saying: “It was the start of our life together.”
Kate, 34, made the comments as the couple returned to William’s former base for an emotional service to mark the disbandment of RAF Search and Rescue after 75 years.
Kate , who was wearing an LK Bennett Coat and hat by Lock & Co, told Group Captain Steve Bentley and his wife Fyona about their three years there: “It was such a special time for us.
“It was the start of our life together really.”
William also caught up with some of his former colleagues who recalled how the prince used to wash the dishes with a tea towel with his own face on after he was given royal memorabilia as a joke.
Flight Sergeant Rob Linfoot, 35, who worked with William in 2012 and 2013, said: “Everyone gets a named cup or a named badge.
“I think people went above and beyond and got him a few extra bits and pieces.
“Always nice to have a bit of memorabilia around the room.”
When asked if that meant William was washing the dishes with his own face, Rob said: “Yes.”
And the prince also faced some ribbing from winchman instructor Master Aircrew Rik Maving, 55, who said: “It was nice too see him again.
“He hasn’t changed much apart from he’s lost a bit more hair.
“Hey, we’re all getting older.”
He added that he instructed people in the rear of the aircraft but William would “come along to fly it”.
He said: “I’d say ‘Will, are you flying it with your knees?’
“And he would just laugh.
“I did ask about his new job and he said it’s different.”
Rik added: “His helicopter will go when the weather’s OK.
“Ours only went when it’s bad because people were only in trouble when it was bad weather.”
William worked as a Search and Rescue pilot at RAF Valley for three years until September 2013 when he left for a ‘transitional’ year before joining the air ambulance service.
Although he and Kate shared a house with friends at St Andrews University and spent time in each other’s homes afterwards, Anglesey was the first place they set up a home together and their first after getting married in 2011.
Search and Rescue was privatised in January and is no longer run by the RAF but has been handed over to civilian company Bristow Helicopters Ltd on behalf of the Maritime coastguard agency.
Since official records began on January 1983 the force has attended 34,122 call outs and assisted 26,916 people.
Group Captain Steve Bentley said: “For everyone it’s a little bit bitter-sweet.
“We enjoyed the role so much, though we recognise it’s now someone else’s turn to do it.”
William’s former Squadron Commander, Wing Commander Sparky Dunlop, said about the prince: “He is one of the family and we wanted as many of the family to come back today and say goodbye.”