Prince William Accepts a Special Gift for Kate Middleton Following Military Appointment

Although Kate Middleton was not present during Prince William’s military appointment, she was top of mind during his first engagement as Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Air Corps.

The Prince of Wales, 41, “received an AAC tartan wrap for the Princess of Wales, a scarf for himself and three wooden helicopters for their children,” Daily Mail‘s royal editor Rebecca English posted on X alongside a video of the gifts being exchanged on Monday, May 13.

While King Charles, 75, was on hand to officially appoint William the new title and role, Kate, 42, did not attend the ceremony, which took place at the Army Aviation Centre (AAC) Middle Wallop in Hampshire.

However, her absence was expected since Princess Kate has not returned to royal duties after announcing her cancer diagnosis in March and continues to undergo treatment.

Prince William, Prince of Wales speaks to service personal at the Army Aviation Centre in Middle Wallop

But that didn’t stop Army Air Corps personnel from honoring the princess, who has turned tartan into a royal fashion statement, as well as her and William’s three kids — Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5 — with the wooden toys, a seeming nod to the prince’s time spent as Royal Air Force search and rescue pilot.

In addition to receiving gifts for him and his family, Prince William also spent the engagement getting a brief on the Army Air Corps’ “work and inspecting training and operational aircraft” following the King’s departure, the BBC reported.

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The appointment was chronicled by the Prince and Princess of Wales’ official Instagram account, which posted several photos of King Charles with his son alongside the caption: “Today, at the Army Aviation Centre in Middle Wallop, The King officially handed over the role of Colonel-in-Chief of the @armyaircorps – the combat aviation arm of the British Army – to The Prince of Wales.”

The account also shared throwback photos of William’s past visits to the airfield to its Instagram Stories. “Time flies…,” the account wrote over two pics of the prince dating back to 1999 and 2008. “Looking back at the last two visits to @armyaircorps ahead of today’s handover at Middle Wallop.”

Prince William, Prince of Wales speaks to service personal at the Army Aviation Centre in Middle Wallop

Prince William’s new appointment, meanwhile, sparked some controversy, especially amid the ongoing drama with his younger brother, Prince Harry, whom many expected to receive the title given his past with the Army Air Corps.

In his new role, William is now the leader of his brother’s former regiment. Harry, 39, trained as an Army Air Corps pilot in 2009, before serving with the Corps during his second tour in Afghanistan up until 2014.

The timing of the ceremony has also raised eyebrows, given that it coincided with Prince Harry’s brief return to the U.K. to attend the Invictus Games Foundation’s 10th-anniversary celebration at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London on May 8. PEOPLE understands Harry extended invites to his father, brother and sister-in-law. However, none of the senior members of the royal family attended the celebration.

Following the event, Prince Harry joined his wife, Meghan Markle, for a multi-day tour of Nigeria, which kicked off May 10 and concluded on May 12. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s trip to the country marks their first international tour since stepping away from their royal duties in 2020. The couple were invited to visit Nigeria by its Chief of Defense Staff, the highest-ranking military official.

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