Prince Charles in the cockpit of a Chipmunk aircraft before flying from RAF Oakington
Prince Charles in the cockpit of a Chipmunk aircraft before flying from RAF Oakington (Picture: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo).
King Charles

King Charles III: A look at the new Commander-in-Chief's days in the forces

The King has always had a close relationship with the Armed Forces - here's a look at his military career.

Prince Charles in the cockpit of a Chipmunk aircraft before flying from RAF Oakington
Prince Charles in the cockpit of a Chipmunk aircraft before flying from RAF Oakington (Picture: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo).

The military's new Commander-in-Chief, King Charles III, has maintained very close links to the Armed Forces throughout his life.

Here is a look at his time serving in the military.

King Charles III's military career

On 8 March 1971, the King - then known as Prince Charles - flew himself to RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire to train as a jet pilot.

King Charles III in the cockpit of a Wessex helicopter at RNAS Yeovilton
King Charles III in the cockpit of a Wessex helicopter at RNAS Yeovilton (Picture: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo).

He had been given flying instruction from the Royal Air Force during his second year at Cambridge University.

Later that year, after passing out at RAF Cranwell, he embarked on a career in the Royal Navy, following in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and both great-grandfathers.

Following his six-week course at Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth, he spent time serving on guided missile destroyer HMS Norfolk and two frigates - HMS Minerva and HMS Jupiter.

Queen Elizabeth II is shown around HMS Norfolk by King Charles III in 1972
Queen Elizabeth II is shown around HMS Norfolk by King Charles III in 1972 (Picture: Trinity Mirror/Mirrorpix/Alamy Stock Photo).

1974 saw the future King qualify as a helicopter pilot and flew Wessex helicopters with 845 Naval Air Squadron from the commando aircraft carrier HMS Hermes.

In February 1976, the then-Prince of Wales took command of coastal minehunter HMS Bronington, before ending his Royal Navy service nine months later.

Despite leaving the military, the King has continued to work closely with the Armed Forces and in 2012, Queen Elizabeth II awarded him the highest rank in all three services - Field Marshal, Admiral of the Fleet and Marshal of the Royal Air Force.