On September 18, 2023, the Princess of Wales visited the Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton in Somerset, UK. This air station is one of the Royal Navy’s two principal air stations and is known to be one of the busiest military airfields in the UK. Recently, King Charles appointed Catherine as the new Commodore-in-Chief of the Fleet Air Arm, previously held by The Duke Of York. During her first visit, she spent three hours at the air station, where she got a first-hand introduction to the world of naval aviation.
The Princess was introduced to Royal Navy air traffic controllers trained to operate at sea and shore bases, providing a range of air traffic control services to support aircraft movements from the air station safely and across the skies in the vicinity of Yeovilton. Later, she moved on to a hangar where she spoke with junior personnel and learned about their different roles within the Fleet Air Arm. She also met Survival Equipment Technicians who provide and maintain survival equipment and deliver specialist training on its use, which is essential for aircrew safety. The Princess looked over some of the flotation and flying equipment used by personnel, including trying out an aircrew life jacket.
The Princess of Wales was also shown around the Merlin Mk2, the Navy’s primary Anti-Submarine Warfare helicopter, during her visit. Personnel from 700X Naval Air Squadron also introduced her to the Banshee drone. The drone is used to develop tactics to defend the nation’s aircraft carriers against air attacks.
The Royal visit ended at the Wildcat Training Centre, where personnel learn and practice various skills, including aircraft engineering, flying, and weapon loading. The Princess met a Wildcat’ Flight’ and witnessed weapon loading on the training Wildcat. She also took a ‘flight’ in the state-of-the-art Wildcat helicopter simulator.
We’ve created a page that will be dedicated to Catherine’s work with the Fleet Air Arm. You can view it here.
On September 19, 2023, The Princess of Wales visited Street of Growth, a not-for-profit youth intervention charity in East London. The charity is focused on transforming the lives of young people at risk of being trapped in a cycle of isolation, exploitation, violence, and criminality. Catherine was impressed by the new space for Streets of Growth, provided by Unite Students, at their flagship accommodation building in east London. With this new space, the charity can reach even more young people and work towards securing longer-term funding that aligns with their clients’ need for intensive, longer-term support.
During the visit, the Princess met with Street of Growth founder Darren, staff, representatives from Unite Students, and mothers and daughters who had been coached and supported by the charity. She was particularly interested in how their circumstances affected their mental health. The Princess was shown some creative workshops and enterprises that families engaged with, which helped increase their confidence and enhance family relationships.