Royal birth brings military salutes from William's comrades-in-arms
From RAF Valley, where Prince William serves as a search-and-rescue pilot, to as far away as Afghanistan and the Caribbean, British armed forces congratulated the prince and Duchess Kate on the birth of their son.
In London, royal gun salutes were fired across the capital Tuesday morning, as is customary with the birth of a British prince. In Green Park, members of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery fired a 41-gun salute from their 13-pounder quick fire guns, all of which were used in action during World War I. Teams of six horses pulled the antique guns into action.
At the Tower of London, the Honourable Artillery Company, an Army Reserve Unit and the oldest in the British Army, fired 62 rounds over the River Thames to celebrate the historic occasion.
“It’s business as usual on the search-and-rescue force ... Captain Wales and the Duchess of Cambridge have been involved in a very different kind of delivery,” quipped William’s boss, Group Captain Sara Mackmin.
Mackmin joked in a video to the new father that they would have “a few shifts lined up for you when you can get back to us.
“But in the meantime, on behalf of everyone on the search-and-rescue force, I would like to congratulate you both on the safe arrival of your new son; absolutely fantastic news, we’re thrilled for both of you,” said Mackmin, the most senior female aviator in the United Kingdom’s armed forces.
Duchess Kate delivered the 8-lb.-6-oz. baby boy at 4:24 p.m. London time on Monday at St. Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, west London. By Tuesday, well wishes were pouring in from around the world.
The royal couple had been living in a rented house on the remote Welsh island of Anglesey near RAF Valley until shortly before the baby’s birth.
William, who will one day be head of the armed forces, has spent recent years flying rescue missions and qualified as a helicopter captain in 2012.
RAF Valley Station Commander Group Captain Adrian Hill also sent a congratulatory message.
"We're all delighted to learn that Flight Lieutenant Wales and the Duchess of Cambridge are now proud parents of a newborn son," he said. "We wish them all the very best for the future. From everyone at RAF Valley: Congratulations."
Toasts, formations, and gun salutes
Other units connected to William celebrated the birth, including the Army regiment he was commissioned into from Sandhurst, the Household Cavalry, which is partly deployed in Afghanistan.
The Irish Guards, of which William is colonel, toasted the royal birth with a traditional glass of Irish stout at bases in London and at their barracks in Aldershot.
At home and abroad, all of Her Majesty’s Ships were flying the Royal Navy Ensign from their main masts to mark the birth of the prince. Ensigns were proudly displayed on HMS Kent, in the Middle East, and HMS Lancaster, in the Caribbean.
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The ship’s company on the royal navy frigate on patrol in the Caribbean also formed the word “BOY” on the aft deck to mark the happy occasion.