The Duke of Cambridge, a fully qualified search-and-rescue pilot with the RAF, must decide whether he wants to continue his flying career, transfer to another branch of the military or quit the Forces altogether and take on a life of Royal duties.
The deadline has been imposed by the RAF’s chain of command.
An aide to William yesterday confirmed he has until the end of 2012 to make the decision.
The spokesman said, “The Duke has to make a decision during this year (by the end of 2012) and he has not yet made a decision. Whatever decision he takes, he will take jointly with his wife, as you would expect.”
William (29), is currently stationed at RAF Valley in Anglesey, in Wales, where he has been flying since January 2010.
The Prince, who has said that he ‘absolutely loves flying’ and the Duchess live on the island where they enjoy peace, anonymity and what William has described to friends as ‘normal lives’.
What lies ahead
William qualified as a co-pilot in a Sea King Mk3 helicopter in September 2010 and said he would serve with the RAF for between 30 and 36 months.
That means the earliest he could leave the service is next spring.
His decision will also take into account how much public work he and Kate are expected to take on over the next few years — so he will also consult his father and grandmother.
William has been told he can continue his career at RAF Valley, or relocate to another RAF base for a second three-year tour of duty.
He could also extend his current tour of duty for a short period or take another posting within the Armed Forces, something he is said to be seriously considering.
The final option is for him to quit the Forces and focus full-time on the work of his charitable foundation and Royal duties.
Aides insist that the Prince has not yet made his decision.