Britain's Prince William to do special forces stint

Britain's Prince William looks on at Soldier Ghaut during a disaster relief rehearsal with the crew of HMS Iron Duke, on the island of Monserrat July 7, 2008. REUTERS/John Stillwell/Pool

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s Prince William is set to spend time with his country’s special forces in the last of his military secondments, Clarence House said on Thursday.

The second-in-line to the throne will visit UK special forces -- the army’s Special Air Service and the navy’s Special Boat Service -- in a non-operational role in the autumn.

The prince will also spend time at the Ministry of Defence and the Army Air Corps, learning about helicopter capabilities and tactics.

The stint will mark the end of his year’s familiarization with the various forces, which he began as an officer in the Household Cavalry Regiment.

He then had a four-month spell with the Royal Air Force, during which he was presented with his wings.

His time with the RAF was clouded when the Defence Ministry was forced to fend off criticism for allowing the prince to fly military helicopters to a bachelor party for his cousin and to the family home of his girlfriend Kate Middleton.

Most recently, he spent two months with the Royal Navy, taking part in counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean.

A Clarence House spokesman said: “As with the prince’s previous attachments and visits, one of the aims is to highlight the important and often difficult work carried out by the men and women of the Armed Forces.”

Reporting by Avril Ormsby; Editing by Steve Addison and Paul Casciato