Royal Roundup: The Queen Visits William’s RAF Base
In advance of the Queen’s visit to his Royal Air Force base today (April 1), William was interviewed by BBC television. William primarily spoke of his work as a Sea King helicopter co-pilot. He did admit some “sleepless nights” because of the upcoming wedding. “I did a rehearsal the other day and my knees started tapping quite nervously, so it’s a daunting prospect and very exciting but there’s a lot of planning still to be done in the last four weeks,” William said.
William’s well-known antipathy toward the press was on full display when he spoke in the interview about the secrecy surrounding his bachelor party, thrown by Prince Harry, his younger brother. “It’s quite good news always to outfox the media but it was a military operation and my brother and I are very proud of how it went,” William said.
William also told the BBC that he enjoys his search-and-rescue job. “Everyday you come into work and don’t know what’s going to happen, it’s quite exciting in that sense,” William said. “It’s unpredictable but at the same time, it’s great to get to go out to save somebody’s life hopefully or at least make a difference to someone and when you know that they are in trouble you do everything you can to try and get there.”
In this video of the Queen’s visit, William shows his grandmother one of the rescue helicopters. We also learn that William is taking some ribbing from his fellow officers. His tea is served in a Kate and William commemorative mug, he is handed a Kate and William tea towel to wash-up, and when he sleeps during his 24-hour shifts, an embroidered Kate and William pillow is placed on his bed. “It’s all lighthearted banter and he loves it,” an unidentified colleague said.
In other royal-related news:
• In what is seen by many as a break with tradition, William will not wear a wedding ring. However, The Daily Mail reports that male wedding rings are a relatively recent phenomenon. “Prior to the Second World War it was unheard of for men to wear wedding rings. It then became customary for soldiers serving overseas to wear a wedding band to remind them of home and their commitment to their wives and families.” In fact, William’s grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, does not wear a wedding band. As it is, most male royals wear their wedding rings differently than civilians. Wedding rings are typically worn under a signet ring on the small finger of the left hand. Prince Charles, William’s father, follows this practice. William does not wear a signet ring. “Prince William isn’t one for jewelry,” said a royal aide.
• Unsurprisingly, Kate is following tradition. As previously reported, her wedding ring will come from a lump of Clougau Welsh gold. The rare gold has been used in every royal wedding band since 1923. In fact, most of the rings came from the same nugget. With the original nugget dwindling, a second nugget (36 grams, 21 carat) was presented to the Queen for her 55th birthday in 1981. Sarah, Duchess of York‘s wedding band was made from this nugget, as was Camilla‘s, Prince Charles’s wife. “After the engagement Her Majesty the Queen gave Prince William some gold to make a wedding ring. In accordance with the couple’s wishes, Miss Middleton will wear a ring. The ring will be from Prince William,” a palace spokeswoman told BBC News.
• The UK’s Ministry of Defence has announced the various roles the armed services will play in the wedding. More than 1,000 members from all the branches of the military will line the route from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace. Inside the Abbey, 16 military fanfare trumpeters will play. While the couple is busy at the ceremony, an honor contingent of Welsh Guards will await them outside Buckingham Palace. Finally, at 1:30 p.m. (London time), there will be two fly-overs by the Royal Air Force. The first will be three propeller planes used in World War II, followed 30 seconds later by four jets.
• Of all the contests involving the royal wedding, European discount airline easyJet may have the best prize: free travel for a year. All you have to do is be Kate or William’s doppelganger. The rules of the contest are simple. Upload your photo and contact information to easyJet’s special website. The deadline is Sunday, April 10th. easyJet will select ten finalists by Wednesday, April 13th and fly them to London for the royal wedding. Then the winning Kate and William look-a-likes will be selected. Although easyJet is an extensive European carrier, it does not fly to the U.S. However, an easyJet spokesman says U.S. residents are eligible. The only requirement is that a finalist be somewhere in Europe in time to catch an easyJet flight to London. Even if you have no plans to enter, the site is worth a visit. Contestant photos are displayed and there is a leaderboard of the current favorites. One tip for males: just because you have light-brown hair does not mean you look like William. One tip for females: just because you have long brown hair does not mean you look like Kate.