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Prince William and Kate bring gifts to RAF base in Cyprus

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at RAF Akrotiri baseImage copyright Getty Images

Now that’s what you’d call a truly royal mail service.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have visited Cyprus to deliver gifts to UK service personnel who will be on duty – and away from family – at Christmas.

Prince William and Catherine had collected the presents from those family members when they hosted a party at Kensington Palace a day earlier.

After handing them over to members of 11 Squadron at RAF Akrotiri, the duke said: “You all put duty first.”

And as she did her part in handing out gifts in the sergeant’s mess, the duchess was heard joking that their parcel service “really was royal mail”.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The duke and duchess arrived on a RAF Voyager ministerial jet for the whirlwind visit

The Typhoon fighter unit flies missions from the Mediterranean island to combat the Islamic State group.

Over Christmas, 11,000 men and women will be deployed by the Army, Royal Navy and RAF in 35 countries, Prince William said in a brief speech.

“All of this work is done without fanfare. You don’t seek praise for your contribution. It’s not about credit or recognition – for you, it’s just about service,” he said.

“But as we approach Christmas, Catherine and I feel strongly that praise for your work and recognition of your sacrifices is exactly what is due to you all.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Military dignitaries, including station commander Group Captain Chris Snaith, greeted the couple
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption “Thank you for your commitment and thank you for your sacrifices,” the duke said

Prince William said that his experience in the armed forces, most recently as an RAF search and rescue pilot, meant “we both know a bit of what it feels like”.

He also praised the sacrifices of their families, many of whom the couple had met on Tuesday, when they held a party at Kensington Palace and collected gifts to transport to the base.

“We know this isn’t easy for you or for your wives, husbands, children, and friends back in the UK. On behalf of everyone back home, we would like to say thank you,” the duke said.

Image copyright Getty Images

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