FROM THE WEBSITE: The RAF Air Cadets aims to promote and encourage a practical interest in aviation and the Royal Air Force among young people, provide training which will be useful in the Services and civilian life, and encourage the spirit of adventure and develop qualities of leadership and good citizenship.
The Duchess of Cambridge is Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Air Cadets. The Duke of Edinburgh passed on his Patronage to Catherine in 2015, after 63 years as Air Commodore-in-Chief. This is her first royal role with an official link to the armed forces.
– Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge became Patron in December 2015.
We are absolutely thrilled that HRH The Duchess of Cambridge has agreed to be our Patron. Her links to the RAF Family are already well established and her desire to support youth development is well recognised around the world. We hope that by acting as our Hon Air Commandant she can see at first hand the amazing work of our adult volunteers who deliver a truly world-class cadet experience to many thousands of young people. – Air Commodore McCafferty
December 16, 2015 – Catherine Becomes Patron Of The RAF Air Cadets – The Duchess of Cambridge has taken on her first royal role with an official link to the armed forces. She will become the patron of the RAF Air Cadets, taking over the role from the Duke of Edinburgh, who had been the founding patron following the death of King George VI. The Duchess’s appointment will see her represent more than 42,000 air cadets aged 12-19 and 15,000 adult volunteers. Relinquishing his role during an audience at Buckingham Palace, he was presented with an engraved crystal vase celebrating 75 years of the cadets. Air Cmdr McCafferty said: “We will be forever grateful to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh for his outstanding commitment to the Air Training Corps over the decades. He is admired and respected by cadets and volunteers alike and we will miss his ready sense of humour and genuine interest in the development of the nation’s youth.” The Duchess was presented with a copy of Horizons, the history of the air cadets and her ties to RAF were noted as Prince William trained as a helicopter pilot with the RAF. “Her links to the RAF family are already well-established and her desire to support youth development is well recognised around the world,” Air Cmdr McCafferty said.
February 07, 2016 – Marking the 75th Anniversary of RAF Air Cadets – In her first official engagement as Patron of the RAF Air Cadets, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge launched a year of cadet activity to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the formation of the Air Training Corps (ATC). The event, at the RAF church of St Clement Danes, saw 500 cadets, veterans and volunteers take part in a thanksgiving service. After the service, the Duchess was the guest of honor at a reception at the Royal Courts of Justice where the cadets got the chance to meet their new patron.
February 18, 2016 – Visiting RAF Valley – The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge returned to Anglesey, North Wales to attend the Search and Rescue Force Disbandment Parade at RAF Valley. William and Catherine previously lived in Anglesey. Following the parade, the Duke and Duchess met current and former search and rescue personnel at a reception held in the officers’ mess.
July 08, 2016 – Visiting The Royal International Air Tattoo – Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Prince George of Cambridge visited the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Fairford, England. The Air Tattoo is the world’s largest military air show, and last year featured 247 aircraft from 19 nations. During their visit the family spent time viewing the Squirrel helicopter, which is the same aircraft the Duke trained in when he was based at RAF Shawbury in 2009. Catherine also met with cadets.
February 14, 2017 – Visiting The RAF Air Cadets At RAF Wittering – The Duchess of Cambridge attended the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Wing’s Skill Development Camp at RAF Wittering, where she joined young air cadets taking part in their first camp. As the Honorary Air Commandant of the RAF Air Cadets, she led the cadets through several activities, including flying training on a simulator and a leadership exercise that demonstrated effective planning and communication skills. She was also shown the Tutor aircraft, which thousands of cadets use each year for air experience flights. The Duchess was invited to join the cadets and volunteer staff for a camp photo at the end of the visit. She was presented with a limited edition RAF Air Cadet 75th anniversary print by Commandant Air Cadets Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty.
July 10, 2018 – RAF Centenary Celebrations – The Duchess of Cambridge made a surprise appearance at an event to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force. She arrived alongside Price William, Prince Harry, and The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle. The Duchess of Cambridge wasn’t expected to attend, because she was on maternity leave after the birth of Prince Louis. The celebrations began with a special service in Westminster Abbey, followed by a parade in The Mall, with the traditional fly-past over the palace with receptions to follow.
December 04, 2018 – Hosting Christmas Party For RAF Families At Kensington Palace – The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge hosted a Christmas party in London for the families of RAF personnel serving in Cyprus over the festive period. Prince William and Catherine invited partners and children from RAF Coningsby and RAF Marham whose loved ones are deployed to RAF Akrotiri. The party featured stalls where children could decorate stockings or snow globes. Other areas allowed them to make crackers and create Christmas party kits. A photo booth and a post box were also on hand so guests could take pictures and send messages to their loved ones in Cyprus. After the event, the Duke and Duchess flew to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus to meet military personnel and families living on the base. Kensington Palace said the Duke and Duchess wished to acknowledge and honor that many servicemen and women are away from their families at this time of the year. During the visit, The Duchess told the invited wives, partners, grandparents, and children: “Not only are we grateful for you coming here to join our party, but also for the sacrifices you make on a daily basis on behalf of the nation.”
December 05, 2018 – The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit Cyprus – The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, where they met with serving personnel and families living on the base and members of the local community. They arrived in Cyprus with Christmas gifts for members of 11 Squadron, a Typhoon fighter unit based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, who fly missions from the Cyprus base to combat IS. The couple hosted a Christmas party for families from RAF Coningsby and RAF Marham who have relatives deployed abroad, including Cyprus, the day before. A line of military dignitaries welcomed the Duke and Duchess, including Akrotiri’s station commander, Group Captain Chris Snaith. During the festive period, 11,000 members of the British military will be deployed on operations, with service personnel stationed in 30 operations across 35 countries worldwide. Prince William serves as Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, home to Typhoon squadrons that deploy to Cyprus and fly operations supporting Op Shader, the UK’s contribution to the ongoing campaign against IS. They work alongside 31 Squadron, a Tornado GR4 unit based at RAF Marham in Norfolk, which is also involved with the campaign. RAF Akrotiri is the home of the Cyprus Operations Support Unit, which provides joint support to British Forces Cyprus and regional operations to protect the UK’s strategic interests.
April 21, 2021 – Visiting The Air Cadets At 282 East Ham Squadron – The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge paid a visit to the 282 East Ham Squadron, Air Training Corps in East London to pay their respects to Prince Philip, who was the Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Air Force (RAF) Air Cadets for 63 years. The Duchess of Cambridge had a chance to exhibit her flight skills in a flight simulator as she took over the controls of the Grob tutor, a light aircraft used by thousands of cadets for air experience flights. The Duke, an experienced pilot with the RAF and involved in search and rescue missions, humorously quipped, “I’ll hold the handbag,” and waited as his wife took the reins. Along with meeting cadets and learning about their personal development during their time with the ATC, the couple also conversed with a group of serving RAF officers who were all former cadets. The visit ended on a high note with a Three Cheers Salute by the squadron in honor of the Duke of Edinburgh.
September 15, 2021 – Visiting RAF Brize Norton In Oxfordshire – The Duchess of Cambridge visited RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire to show her gratitude to those who supported Operation PITTING. This operation was the UK’s largest humanitarian aid operation in over 70 years, and it saw over 15,000 people flown out of Kabul. Catherine met with military personnel, civilians, and volunteers who supported the 850 people who arrived at RAF Brize Norton during the two-week evacuation and who were provided with food, clothing, children’s toys and medical help while their details were processed. She had the opportunity to tour one of the aircraft used in the evacuations and had “very personal” discussions with military personnel.
September 21, 2021 – The Duchess Of Cambridge Visits Cumbria – The Duchess of Cambridge had a thrilling experience during her recent visit to the Lake District, where she met Air Cadets and tried her hand at abseiling and mountain biking. The visit aimed to celebrate the reopening of the Windermere Adventure Training Centre, which underwent a £2 million refurbishment. The center will now offer a range of activities to hundreds of cadets from across the UK, helping them develop their leadership skills and build their confidence while also allowing them to work towards their Duke of Edinburgh Awards. During her visit, the Duchess also spent time chatting with the cadets about their experiences and went on a boat trip with two of the “Windermere Children,” who were child Holocaust survivors who stayed in the Lake District in 1945.
July 14, 2023 – The Wales Family Visits Air Tattoo At RAF Fairford – The Prince and Princess of Wales visited the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford with their three children. Prince William and Princess Kate treated their children to jets, helicopters, and historic planes as they enjoyed a family day at the world’s largest military air show. They took a tour of a C-17 transporter aircraft, which was used to transport the late Queen’s coffin before her funeral last September.