Three cheers for Prince Philip as Duke and Duchess of Cambridge make first outing since funeral

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·6-min read

Watch: Prince William and Kate visit the Air Cadets

Prince William and his wife Kate have chosen an organisation with close links to the late Prince Philip as they carried out their first engagement since his funeral.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the 282 East Ham Squadron Air Training Corps in London on Wednesday, also the Queen's 95th birthday.

The Duke of Edinburgh, who died on 9 April, was the Honorary Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Air Training Corps for 63 years before he passed on the role to Kate in 2015.

She is now honorary Air Commandant of the Air Training Corps.

William and Kate watched as cadets gave three cheers for the late duke at the end of the visit, having seen them take part in field craft exercises and leadership tasks.

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, wearing black as a mark of respect following the death of Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, talk with Air Cadets during their visit to 282 (East Ham) Squadron Air Training Corps in east London on April 21, 2021. - During the visit, the Squadron paid tribute to The Duke of Edinburgh, who served as Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Air Training Corps for 63 years. In 2015, The Duke passed the military patronage to The Duchess of Cambridge who became Honorary Air Commandant. (Photo by Ian Vogler / POOL / AFP) (Photo by IAN VOGLER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
William and Kate laughed with the cadets at one point in the afternoon as they shared a joke. (Ian Vogler/AFP)
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, wearing black as a mark of respect following the death of Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, talk with Air Cadets during their visit to 282 (East Ham) Squadron Air Training Corps in east London on April 21, 2021. - During the visit, the Squadron paid tribute to The Duke of Edinburgh, who served as Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Air Training Corps for 63 years. In 2015, The Duke passed the military patronage to The Duchess of Cambridge who became Honorary Air Commandant. (Photo by Ian Vogler / POOL / AFP) (Photo by IAN VOGLER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The couple were on their first joint public engagement since the death of Prince Philip. (Ian Vogler/AFP)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge talk to cadets during a visit to 282 (East Ham) Squadron, RAF Air Cadets, Cornwell VC Cadet Centre, in east London. Picture date: Wednesday April 21, 2021.
They wore black as they are still in royal mourning. (PA Images)

Kensington Palace said the couple heard about the Air Cadets’ Pre-Duke of Edinburgh’s Award ‘Blue Badge’ scheme which is aimed at cadets aged 12-14 years old, and allows them to begin to develop their skills and engage in activities before they are of age to take part in the Bronze, Silver and Gold levels.

Kate, 39, also tried out a flight simulator, with William, 38, saying "I’ll hold the handbag" while she gave it a go.

She was talked through the controls of the Grob tutor, a light aircraft which thousands of cadets use each year for air experience flights.

As she was given a headset with a covering over the microphone, William said: "Flight safety in an age of COVID."

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, wearing black as a mark of respect following the death of Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and a face covering to combat the spread of Covid-19, sits in a flight simulator during their visit to 282 (East Ham) Squadron Air Training Corps in east London on April 21, 2021. - During the visit, the Squadron paid tribute to The Duke of Edinburgh, who served as Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Air Training Corps for 63 years. In 2015, The Duke passed the military patronage to The Duchess of Cambridge who became Honorary Air Commandant. (Photo by Ian Vogler / POOL / AFP) (Photo by IAN VOGLER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The duchess gave the simulator a go on Wednesday during the visit. (Ian Vogler/AFP)
The Duchess of Cambridge sits in a flight simulator during a visit to 282 (East Ham) Squadron, RAF Air Cadets, Cornwell VC Cadet Centre, in east London. Picture date: Wednesday April 21, 2021.
The Duchess of Cambridge in a flight simulator during a visit to 282 (East Ham) Squadron, RAF Air Cadets. (PA Images)

William was a helicopter pilot for several years, in the RAF and then for East Anglia Air Ambulance. He still maintains his flying hours - as his grandfather did.

Group Captain Al Lewis said of the visit: “It was a really unique experience and the cadets only found out an hour before they arrived. Given that we haven’t had much activity over the last years it was a real morale boost.

“It was wonderful for them, too, to see the real legacy that the Duke of Edinburgh left.

“I spoke to the duke about whether he was still flying and he said he was very keen to try to keep his flying hours up. He clearly misses flying professionally.

“It was interesting to see the duchess get in the simulator instead of him. She did very well. He was goading her to say ‘well it’s not as easy as it seems’.”

The royal couple did not wear face coverings while they were outside. However Kate had one on when she was inside the simulator and William could also be seen to be wearing one when they were indoors.

The parents of three were left giggling at one moment as they watched a demonstration of a problem solving exercise.

They watched cadets move items including a fire extinguisher and a teddy bear with ropes and William laughed as he said: “Whose teddy bear is that?”

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Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, wearing black as a mark of respect following the death of Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, meet air Cadets during their visit to 282 (East Ham) Squadron Air Training Corps in east London on April 21, 2021. - During the visit, the Squadron paid tribute to The Duke of Edinburgh, who served as Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Air Training Corps for 63 years. In 2015, The Duke passed the military patronage to The Duchess of Cambridge who became Honorary Air Commandant. (Photo by Ian Vogler / POOL / AFP) (Photo by IAN VOGLER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
William and Kate were paying tribute to the late duke's association with the air force. (Ian Vogler/AFP)

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The Royal Family is still in its period of mourning, which end on Thursday, and so the couple were in dark colours in keeping with the traditions.

William issued a personal statement on Tuesday evening, expressing his concern about the plans for a European Super League which would have involved six of the biggest teams in the English Premier League.

He said: "Now, more than ever, we must protect the entire football community – from the top level to the grassroots – and the values of competition and fairness at its core.

"I share the concerns of fans about the proposed Super League and the damage it risks causing to the game we love."

He also held talks on Tuesday, in his role as the president of the FA, with its chief executive Mark Bullingham. 

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, wearing black as a mark of respect following the death of Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, meet air Cadets during their visit to 282 (East Ham) Squadron Air Training Corps in east London on April 21, 2021. - During the visit, the Squadron paid tribute to The Duke of Edinburgh, who served as Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Air Training Corps for 63 years. In 2015, The Duke passed the military patronage to The Duchess of Cambridge who became Honorary Air Commandant. (Photo by Ian Vogler / POOL / AFP) (Photo by IAN VOGLER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The royals watched some of the cadet training during their visit. (Ian Vogler/AFP)
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, wearing black as a mark of respect following the death of Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, meet air Cadets during their visit to 282 (East Ham) Squadron Air Training Corps in east London on April 21, 2021. - During the visit, the Squadron paid tribute to The Duke of Edinburgh, who served as Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Air Training Corps for 63 years. In 2015, The Duke passed the military patronage to The Duchess of Cambridge who became Honorary Air Commandant. (Photo by Ian Vogler / POOL / AFP) (Photo by IAN VOGLER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
William and Kate were left giggling while watching one of the problem solving exercises. (Ian Vogler/AFP)

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Princess Anne has also been carrying out engagements, visiting the Isle of Wight before her father's funeral, and attending online visits since then.

And on Wednesday she went to three hospitals in Gloucester where she opened a commemorative garden, and thanked staff for their work during the last 13 months.

William said his grandfather would have wanted them to get on with the job, in a tribute to Philip, indicating they would not spend too long behind closed doors in mourning.

Their visit on Wednesday came as the Queen thanked people for their tributes and well wishes after the death of Prince Philip.

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, wearing black as a mark of respect following the death of Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and a face covering to combat the spread of Covid-19, talk with Air Cadets during their visit to 282 (East Ham) Squadron Air Training Corps in east London on April 21, 2021. - During the visit, the Squadron paid tribute to The Duke of Edinburgh, who served as Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Air Training Corps for 63 years. In 2015, The Duke passed the military patronage to The Duchess of Cambridge who became Honorary Air Commandant. (Photo by Ian Vogler / POOL / AFP) (Photo by IAN VOGLER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
William and Kate wore face coverings inside. (Ian Vogler/AFP)
Cadet Sergeant Tommy Dade (far left) and Cadet Sergeant Bronwyn Jacobs (far right) stand with the Duke of Edinburgh (second right) as he meets Air Commodore, Dawn McCafferty, Commandant of the Air Cadet organisation (centre) at Buckingham Palace in London, as he retired from the post of Air Commodore in Chief and on the occasion of the Duchess of Cambridge (second left) becoming Honorary Air Commandant of the Air Cadets.
The Duke of Edinburgh (second right) retired from the post of Air Commodore in Chief in 2015, passing it to Kate. Here with Cadet Sergeant Tommy Dade (far left) and Cadet Sergeant Bronwyn Jacobs (far right) Dawn McCafferty, Commandant of the Air Cadet organisation (centre) and the Duchess of Cambridge (second left). (PA Images)

In a personal statement, she said: "I have, on the occasion of my 95th birthday today, received many messages of good wishes, which I very much appreciate.

"While as a family we are in a period of great sadness, it has been a comfort to us all to see and to hear the tributes paid to my husband, from those within the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and around the world.

"My family and I would like to thank you all for the support and kindness shown to us in recent days. We have been deeply touched, and continue to be reminded that Philip had such an extraordinary impact on countless people throughout his life."