Prince William will do a stint with the UK’s Special Forces this coming fall, Clarence House has confirmed. This is the latest for the prince’s military training as part of his prerequiste to becoming King.
The Special Forces consist of a number of highly trained specialised troops units including the Special Air Service (SAS), the Special Boat Service (SBS) and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR).
Clarence House would not confirm which branch of Special Forces the Prince would be spending time with.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: ‘William won’t be joining the Special Forces in any hands-on role but we feel it is important that he learns more about them.
‘They are a small but massively important part of the country’s defences and are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan to great effect.
‘This is going to be an incredibly exciting experience for William. It’s real Boys’ Own stuff.’
The Prince will be taught about unconventional warfare, counter-terrorism and other top-secret techniques.
The training forms part of the prince’s final five months of military service before he leaves the Army to become a full-time working member of the Royal Family.
William has just finished his time with the Royal Navy, in which he saw two drug busts and learned how to treat victims of a staged hurricane aftermath.
Before that, the Prince was in the Royal Air Force, where he learned to pilot and land helicopters and other aircraft. Notoriously, he used his lessons for personal use, such as landing a helicopter in girlfriend Kate Middleton’s backyard.
It is believed Prince William will learn more about flying in the Special Forces. He will serve an attachment with the Army Air Corps where he will learn about helicopter capabilities and tactics.
The SAS, whose motto is “Who Dares Wins”, has a permanent presence in Baghdad and has been involved in regular secret operations against al-Qaeda while the SBS is deeply involved in operations in Afghanistan.
While other members of the Royal Family have witnessed first hand the work of the Special Services, William is the first to be seconded to all three branches.
Clarence House stressed that William would be involved only in ‘non-operational’ activities with the forces and take part in individual training sessions rather than a protracted attachment.
Tonga crowned King Siaosi Tupou V in a lavish ceremony in the capital of Nuku’alofa. This coronation was the first for Tonga in over 40 years.
Wearing a the heavy gold crown, red velvet robe trimmed in ermine fur, and carrying a sceptre and a ring, Tonga’s 23rd monarch sat upon a gold throne, and was anointed with oil during a Christian ceremony. A massed choir sang Handel’s coronation anthem, Zadok The Priest. Royals from Japan, Thailand and the United Kingdom watched on, as did 1,000 other dignitaries and non-ruling royals from the South Pacific.
A 21-cannon salute and the tolling of church bells marked the coronation. The new 60 year old monarch was called upon to rule “wisely, justly and truly”.
Thousands of people had lined the route to the church and cheered when the new monarch emerged.
The crowning was the latest in four days of festivities. Wednesday saw a traditional ceremony where the King was presented with dozens of roasted pigs, hundreds of bowls of fruit, and kava, a mild narcotic drink. As is the custom, the king slurped the kava down in one, to the cheers and applause of his audience. At that very moment he became the king.
The other celebrations included an open air concert, a rugby match and traditional dancing. Nuku’alofa is completely decorated with flags, balloons, and streamers all in the name of Tonga’s new king.
How much of king Tupou will be remains to be seen. Tonga is one of the few countries where the monarch actually rules. It has a semi-feudal system where the upper class rule. This new King has said he will give up his powers to make his island nation a more democratic one.
There has been some controversy over the expensive ceremonies marking the new Tongan king. It is believed that about 2.5 million dollars has been spent, in a country where many live in poverty.
But Tongan Prime Minister Feleti Sevele says it is nationalism that allows the lavishness.
“This is about joy and celebration and pride in being Tongan,” he said. “It is putting our country in the world’s spotlight.”
Tonga’s royal family dates back to the 17th century. They are the last ruling royals in the South Pacific. Many others, such as Hawaii and Fiji lost theirs. “The other countries in the Pacific that have lost their royal families – they regret it now,” Sevele told the UK’s Guardian newspaper.
Before inheriting the throne after the death of his father in 2006, Tupou was a commercial businessman, which he gave up after becoming King. He has a playboy reputation, with his London cab cars and celebrity friends, such as Mick Jagger and Elle MacPherson. He reads music, plays the piano and double bass, can converse in French and German, has a smattering of Chinese and Japanese. He plans to have influence over Tongan education, and have students learn English, Chinese and Japanese due to the influence of China and Japan throughout Asia.