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Prince William grants knighthood for the first time

JONATHAN BRADY / Today
Headteacher Sir Kenneth Gibson from Jarrow receives his Knighthood from Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London.

Britain’s Prince William reached another milestone in his royal career Thursday by honoring scores of Brits in a knighting ceremony at London’s Buckingham Palace.

Looking handsome in his ceremonial Royal Air Force uniform, the Duke of Cambridge stepped in for his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, to help carry out the investiture of 88 recipients of various honors.

Family and friends of the honorees gathered in the grand ballroom of the palace to watch the prince —  flanked by other royal military officers — stand at attention as a live orchestra played “God Save the Queen.”

William, 31, began the ceremony bestowing a medal on Professor Dame Nicola Collum for services in nursing research and wound care. Then he mastered dubbing his first knight — Sir Kenneth Gibson, honored for his work in education — by taking King George VI’s sword from an attendant and carefully tapping a kneeling Gibson on each shoulder.

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    Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge visit The Stephen Lawrence Centre in Deptford to tour the facility and meet Charitable Trust members, in London on March 27, 2015. It was the duchess' last appearance in public before giving birth.

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    Rememberance -

    Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge leave St Paul's Cathedral after a Service of Commemoration for troops who were stationed in Afghanistan on March 13, 2015 in London.

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    Prince William attends the St Patrick's Day Parade at Mons Barracks on March 17, 2015 in Aldershot, England.

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    Prince William poses next to a person wearing a Paddington bear costume prior to the screening of the Paddington movie in Shanghai on March 3, 2015.

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    Britain's Prince William faces the media as he tours the Forbidden City during his first visit in Beijing on March 2, 2015.

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    Britain's Prince William is greeted by a lion dance during his visit to the Chime of Hope Shopping Centre in China on March 1, 2015.

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    When in Japan... -

    Prince William and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, wearing "yukata", or kimono-style pajamas, pose together before a dinner in Koriyama, Japan on Feb. 28, 2015.

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    Watching hoops -

    Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, attend the NBA basketball game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Brooklyn Nets with NBA global ambassador Dikembe Mutombo (2nd L) in New York on December 8, 2014. William and Kate were in New York for a three-day east coast visit, the Duke and Duchess's first visit to New York City, and the Duke's first trip to the nation's capital where he met with U.S. President Barack Obama.

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    Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, pause for a moment of silence after laying a wreath at one of the reflecting pools at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum on December 9, 2014 in New York City.

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    President Barack Obama meets with Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, in the Oval Office of the White House December 8, 2014 in Washington, DC.

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    Prince Charles and Prince William take part in the annual procession for members of the Order of the Garter ahead of the service at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, England Monday June 16, 2014.

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    Fighting for a cause -

    Prince William, Duke of Cambridge lauches the 'United for Wildlife' Campaign with David Beckham at Google Town Hall on June 9, 2014 in London. Price William is an advocate for the charitable organization of which he is the president. He created the organization, along with his brother Prince Harry, in an effort to bring the world’s leading wildlife conservation charities together under a single banner.

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    Starstruck -

    Prince William, actress Emma Watson and model Kate Moss attend a dinner to celebrate the work of The Royal Marsden hosted by the Duke of Cambridge in Windsor, England on May 13, 2014.

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  • Image: The Duke Of Cambridge Visits The Royal Navy Submarine Museum

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    Bottoms up! -

    Prince William makes a toast with rum after touring the newly restored submarine HMS Alliance during a visit to the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport, England on May 12, 2014.

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    Looking dapper -

    Prince William visits the Air Force Museum at Wigram in Christchurch, New Zealand on April 14, 2014. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are on a three-week tour of Australia and New Zealand, the first official trip overseas with their son, Prince George of Cambridge.

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    Welcome to the city -

    Prince William smiles next to cultural advisor Kura Moeahu during a welcome to the city council buildings in Christchurch, New Zealand on April 14, 2014.

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    Field trip to the zoo -

    Prince William kisses Prince George as they look at an Australian animal called a Bilby, during a visit to Sydney's Taronga Zoo on April 20, 2014. The Prince and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, were on a 19-day official visit to New Zealand and Australia with their son George.

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    Royal arrival -

    Prince William, Duchess Kate and Prince George arrive in Wellington, New Zealand on April 7, 2014. The royal family is on a three-week tour of Australia and New Zealand, marking Prince George's first official trip overseas.

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    Family affair -

    Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh and Queen Elizabeth II attend the Windsor Greys Statue unveiling on March 31, 2014 in Windsor, England. The statue marks 60 years of The Queen's Coronation in 2013 and the important role played by Windsor Greys in the ceremonial life of the royal family and the nation.

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    Green day -

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    Prince William helps with a cooking lesson at the Centrepoint support centre in Sunderland, England, on Nov. 22, 2013.

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    Knighted -

    In a first for the elder royal son, Prince William took on his first formal knighthood ceremony filling in for Queen Elizabeth II Oct. 17, 2013 at Buckingham Palace, London. He dubbed his first knight — Sir Kenneth Gibson, honored for his work in education — by taking King George VI’s sword from an attendant and carefully tapping a kneeling Gibson on each shoulder. He then went on to dub 87 more recipients.

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    'Don't break the windows!' -

    Prince William trains with former England international footballer, Michael Owen, in the grounds of Buckingham Palace in London on October 7, 2013. It was the first official soccer match on the palace's lawns.

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    Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend the Tusk Conservation Awards at The Royal Society in London on Sept. 12, 2013.

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    Prince William holds a bird of prey on Aug. 14, 2013 at the Anglesey agricultural show on his first official engagement since the birth of his son Prince George.

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    Prince Harry, right, and his brother chat during a charity polo match at Coworth Park in England on August 3, 2013.

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    Will arrives to play in the Audi Polo Challenge at Coworth Park Polo Club on August 3, 2013 in Ascot, England.

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    Big news -

    Here's how the British daily newspapers celebrated Prince George's birth with headlines on July 23, 2013.

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    New father -

    Prince William and Kate show their newborn baby boy to the world outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in London on July 23, 2013.

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    Polo time -

    Prince William participates in The Jerudong Trophy at Cirencester Park Polo Club on July 14 in England.

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    Order of the Garter -

    Queen Elizabeth walks in procession with Prince Charles (left) and Prince William as they attend the annual Order of the Garter Service at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle in Windsor, England, on June 17.

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    Sibling rivalry -

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    Royal smiles -

    Prince William stands with Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice during the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony at Buckingham Palace on June 15 in London.

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    Remembering the Queen's coronation -

    Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, arrive for a service to mark the 60th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on June 4, 2013.

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    Heros on wheels -

    Prince William and Prince Harry talk to injured cyclists before they launch the 2013 Hero Ride on May 20, 2013 in Tidworth, England.

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    A young fan -

    Prince William meets a young child during his visit to officially open the Tedworth House recovery centre on May 20, 2013, in Tidworth, England.

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    Magic in the air -

    Prince Harry, Duchess Kate and Prince William raise their wands on the set used to depict Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter Films on April 26, 2013, in London.

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    Dark Knighthood -

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    To the Batcave! -

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    Braving the cold -

    William and Kate visit Dumfries House in Ayrshire, Scotland, on April 5, 2013.

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    Feeling the groove -

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    Cheering the team -

    William and Kate visit the Emirates Arena in Glasgow, Scotland, on April 4, 2013.

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    Field day -

    William participates in a field hockey demonstration on April 4, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland.

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    Raising a glass -

    Prince William attends a St Patrick's Day parade on St Patrick's Day on March 17, 2013, in Aldershot, England.

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    Sharing a laugh -

    Prince Charles, Duchess Kate and Prince William share a joke during a visit to Dumfries House on March 5, 2013, in Ayrshire, Scotland.

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    Flower girl -

    WiIliam poses with Catherine as they leave the King Edward VII hospital in London, on Dec. 6, 2012.

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    Hey Jude -

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    Public speaker -

    Prince William gives a speech at the Winter Whites Gala, in aid of the homeless charity Centrepoint, on Dec. 8, 2012 in London.

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    Guildhall visit -

    Prince William meets a boy in a wheelchair during an official visit to the Guildhall on Nov. 28, 2012, in Cambridge, England.

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    Football fans -

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    Pedal pushers -

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    Cultural exchange -

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    Flowery farewell -

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    Diamond Jubilee tour -

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    Roughing it -

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    Polo with Lupo -

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    Catching a wave -

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    Throwing caution to the wind -

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    Animal advocate -

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  • Image: The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant

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    All aboard -

    Prince William and Duchess Kate prepare to board the Spirit of Chartwell during the Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the River Thames in London, Britain,June 3, 2012.

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  • Image: Britain's Prince William prepares for his first sortie at the Mount Pleasant Complex on the Falkland Islands

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    Pilot project -

    Prince William prepares for his first sortie on the Falkland Islands on Feb. 4, 2012. The prince was starting a six-week deployment, operating helicopters as part of the Royal Air Force Search and Rescue team.

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  • Image: The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit A Unicef Facility In Denmark

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    Fight against famine -

    Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge wear hard hats as they visit the UNICEF emergency supply centre on Nov. 2, 2011 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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  • Image: Royals Attend The Order Of The Garter Service

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    Royal tradition -

    Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales are watched by their wives Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall while walking in the procession for the annual Order of the Garter Service at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on June 13, 2011 in Windsor, England.

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  • Image: Sentebale Polo Cup

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    Good sports -

    Prince Harry and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge shake hands after competing against each other in the Sentebale Polo Cup polo match at Coworth Park Polo Club on June 12, 2011 in Ascot, England.

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  • Image: Trooping The Colour

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    Trooping the Colour -

    Prince William, Duke of Cambridge rides his horse as he takes part in the Trooping the Colour parade on June 11, 2011 in London, England.

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  • Image: Queen Elizabeth II and Members Of The Royal Family Attend The Order Of The Garter Service

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    Order of the Garter Service -

    From left, Prince Andrew, Princess Anne, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William, Duchess Kate, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence and Prince Edward leave after attending the annual Order of the Garter Service at St George's Chapel on June 18, 2011 in Windsor, England.

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    Out on the town -

    Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend the ARK 10th Anniversary Gala Dinner at Perks Field on June 9, 2011 in London.

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  • Image: U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama talk to Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace, in London

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    Meeting the first couple -

    President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama talk to Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, at Buckingham Palace, in London May 24, 2011.

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    Kissing the bride -

    Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, kiss on the balcony at Buckingham Palace on April 29, 2011 after their wedding ceremony.

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  • Image: Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, walk after their wedding ceremony in Westminster Abbey in central London

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    Wedded bliss -

    Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, leave Westminster Abbey to the cheers of thousands gathered outside after their wedding ceremony on April 29, 2011.

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  • Image: Queen Elizabeth II Visits RAF Valley

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    Official business -

    Prince William escorts his gradmother Queen Elizabeth during a visit to RAF Valley where her is stationed as a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot, on April 1, 2011, in Holyhead, United Kingdom. The Queen toured the airbase meeting staff and families, watched a fly past and was given a guided tour of a Sea King search-and-rescue helicopter by Prince William.

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    Incoming! -

    Prince William kicks an AFL ball towards photographers while attending a community BBQ, on March 21, 2011, in Murrabit, Australia. He visited the state of Victoria to see town's affected by flooding.

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  • Image: Britain's Prince William greets Kerand South Primary School students

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    Reaching out -

    Prince William greets Kerang South Primary School students in Kerang, Australia on March 21, 2011

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  • Image: Prince William And Kate Middleton Visit University Of St Andrews

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    Romantic return -

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    Happy couple -

    Prince William and Kate Middleton visit the Trearddur Bay Lifeboat Station in Anglesey, Wales on Feb. 24, 2011, where they christened a lifeboat. It was one of the couple's only official appearances together since announcing their engagement, and Kate was warmly received by both the people and the press.

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    Prince William, in his role as president of the Football Association, chats with Prime Minister David Cameron and soccer star David Beckham during a meeting to discuss England's 2018 World Cup bid on Nov. 30, 2010 in Zurich, Switzerland.

    Pool via AP / Pool via AP
  • Image: Britain's Prince William and Middleton pose in their official engagement portraits, taken by photographer Mario Testino in London

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    Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton pose in one of two official engagement portraits, taken by photographer Mario Testino, in London's St James's Palace on Nov. 25, 2010. William proposed to Kate with his mother's sapphire and diamond engagement ring while on vacation in Kenya in October 2010.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • Image: Prince William gives Kate Middleton Diana's Engagement Ring

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    On the left, Prince William and Kate Middleton appear at a press conference in St. James's Palace on Nov. 16, 2010, after announcing their engagement. On the right, Prince Charles appears with his then fiancée, Lady Diana Spencer, in the gardens of Buckingham Palace, on the day of their engagement, Feb. 24, 1981. The blue dress that Kate wore that day sold out almost immediately, and inspired several copies.

    EPA / EPA
  • Image: Prince William and Kate Middleton Attend Harry Meade And Rosie Bradford's Wedding

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    Kate and Prince William attend a friend's wedding in October 2010, just a few weeks before the engaged couple publicly announced their engagement.

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  • Prince William And Harry Visit Lesotho - Day 2

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    Prince William plays in a football match at a children’s education centre in Lesotho, during a visit to Botswana, Lesotho and South Africa with his brother, Prince Harry, in June 2010.

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    Prince William is greeted by members of the public as he arrives at Australia's Government House in Melbourne, on Jan. 21, 2010.

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    Prince William reads to children from an aboriginal community in Sydney, Australia, on Jan. 19, 2010, during his first official overseas visit.

    Pool via Getty Images / Pool via Getty Images
  • Royals Attend Christmas Day Service At Sandringham

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    A bearded Prince William attends a Christmas Day church service at St Mary's Church in Sandringham, England in 2008. The royal family traditionally spends Christmas at the queen's Sandringham Estate.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Order Of The Garter - 660th Anniversary Service

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    Prince William and his father Prince Charles take part in Garter Day ceremonies on June 16, 2008 in Windsor, England. William was formally appointed the 1,000th Knight of the Garter, the oldest British Order of Chivalry, founded by Edward III in 1348, by his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Prince Williams First Day Of Naval Training - Dartmouth

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    Prince William trains with the Royal Navy at Britannia Royal Naval College on June 3, 2008 in Dartmouth, England. The prince spent two months with the Royal Navy following the completion of his training with the Royal Air Force to help him understand first-hand how the military functions.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
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    Britain's Prince William speaks with Lance Sergeant Adam Ball during a visit to a rehabilitation center for wounded members of the military in Surrey on April 21, 2008.

    Pool via AFP - Getty Images / Pool via AFP - Getty Images
  • Prince William Receives RAF Wings At Graduation Ceremony

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    High fliers -

    Prince Charles, in his role as Air Chief Marshal, presents Prince William with his RAF wings in a graduation ceremony at the end of his Royal Air Force training on April 11, 2008.

    Pool via Getty Images / Pool via Getty Images
  • Prince William and Kate Middleton on a Skiing Holiday in Klosters

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    Romantic getaway -

    Prince William and then-girlfriend Kate Middleton use a T-bar drag lift while skiing in Klosters, Switzerland on March 19, 2008. Skiing is a favorite sport for both the prince and Middleton and the pair frequently take breaks at ski resorts around Europe.

    Indigo via Getty Images / Indigo via Getty Images
  • Prince William walks across the tarmac o

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    Prince William walks across the tarmac at the Cranwell Royal Air Force base on Jan. 17, 2008. The prince also served as an army officer with the Household Cavalry's Blues and Royals. William's father, Prince Charles, completed his flying training course at that same RAF base in 1971.

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images
  • Britain's Prince Charles (L) and his two

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    Prince Charles, along with his two sons Princes Harry and William, arrive on Aug. 31, 2007 for a service in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, on the 10th anniversary of her death. Earlier that summer, the princes organized a huge outdoor concert in Diana's memory.

    Pool via AFP - Getty Images / Pool via AFP - Getty Images
  • Prince William Plays Polo - Cirencester

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    Prince William chats with fans during a polo match at Cirencester Polo Club on June 10, 2007. Polo is a favorite sport of the royal family and Princes William and Harry play often, as did their father Prince Charles.

    Abaca / Abaca
  • Combined Cavalry Old Comrades Association Annual Parade

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    Princes William and Harry arrive at the Cavalry Old Comrades Association Annual Parade in London's Hyde Park on May 13, 2007.

    Getty Images / Getty Images

The duke awarded members of the armed services, local law enforcement, public servants, and philanthropists. Although there were many people to get through, he made a point to smile, shake hands and chat with each honoree.

The most recognizable recipient was tennis star Andy Murray, a Scot who won Wimbledon last summer and a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games in his sport. Murray almost missed Thursday’s ceremony, tweeting several hours before the event: "In the middle of a drug test, hahaha — I'm goin to be late!!"

But the tennis champ made it in time to receive his Officer of the Order of the British Empire medal for excellence on the court, and took a full minute to chat with William. The prince had sent Murray a note after he underwent back surgery. He hopes to be back on the court in a month.

“He just asked me about my surgery and asked me how I had been since Wimbledon," Murray told the Associated Press. He also revealed that Duchess Kate wrote to him after Wimbledon. 
"I told [Prince William] her handwriting is fantastic," he said.

William ended his military service last month and has recently been taking on more formal royal duties. He and Duchess Kate will mark the christening of their son, Prince George, on Oct. 23. 

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