Prince William

Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit RAF Akrotiri

Prince William and Catherine met military families and serving personnel in Cyprus.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have visited Cyprus to personally thank British forces for the sacrifices they make over Christmas.

Thousands of military personnel will be separated from their families during the festive period and William and Kate have flown to RAF Akrotiri on the Mediterranean island to honour their commitment.

The couple arrived bearing Christmas gifts for members of 11 Squadron, a Typhoon fighter unit based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, who fly missions from the Cyprus base to combat IS.

On Tuesday the Cambridges staged a Christmas party for families from RAF Coningsby and RAF Marham who have relatives deployed abroad, including Cyprus.

During the event, Kate told the invited wives, partners, grandparents and children: "Not only are we grateful for you coming here to join our party, but also for the sacrifices you make on a daily basis on behalf of the nation."

Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Visit RAF Akrotiri

A line of military dignitaries were waiting to greet the Duke and Duchess when they arrived at the Cyprus base on the RAF Voyager ministerial jet, including Akrotiri's station commander, Group Captain Chris Snaith.

During the festive period there will be 11,000 members of the British military deployed on operations.

Service personnel have been sent on 30 operations in 35 countries across the globe from Somalia and South Sudan to Kuwait and Ukraine.

An Raf Tornado
A Tornado returns to RAF Akrotiri.

Prince William is Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, which is home to Typhoon squadrons which deploy to Cyprus and fly operations in support of Op Shader, the UK's contribution to the ongoing campaign against IS.

They work alongside 31 Squadron, a Tornado GR4 unit based at RAF Marham in Norfolk, which is also involved with the campaign.

RAF Akrotiri is the home of the Cyprus Operations Support Unit, which provides joint support to British Forces Cyprus and operations in the region to protect the UK's strategic interests.