Royalty and statesmen

Mallet in hand, William tries unsuccessfully to release the anchor chain on the Royal Navy vessel. He'd been asked to perform the traditional task of new cadets on the first day of his two-month placement in the service
Photo: Rex
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It didn't go quite as planned, but sporting Wills laughed off the glitch
Photo: Rex

The round's on Sub-Lt Wales after he fluffs Navy rite of passage

4 JUNE 2008
Following in a proud family tradition Prince William began his first day of duty in the Royal Navy on Wednesday. Sub-Lt Wales as he'll be known during the attachment had one hiccough, though, when asked to perform his first task on the job.

With the cameras trained on him, the future king was required to slip anchor on the training ship HMS Hindostan. This meant swinging a hammer to release the vessel's 100ft anchor chain, allowing it to drop into the water. Wills made the connection, but the anchor stubbornly failed to budge.

In accordance with naval tradition, the Prince must now buy drinks for his ten fellow cadets. "That's a crate of beer then," quipped William, creasing up with laughter.

In commiseration his instructor, Petty Officer Wayne 'Rats' Rattenbury told him: "One lad once took 16 goes before he got it right!".

The 25-year-old is on a two-month placement at Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth which his grandfather, father and uncle, the Duke of York, all attended.

It's also the same institution where, in July 1939, a young Princess Elizabeth first set eyes on a dashing naval officer named Philip, who eight years later became her husband.


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