Relaxed and happy, Royal groom-to-be serving with navy

COLLEAGUES Prince William during an introduction to the Royal Marines at Lympstone
COLLEAGUES Prince William during an introduction to the Royal Marines at Lympstone
HMS Queen Elizabeth sailing back into Portsmouth

PICTURE GALLERY: HMS Queen Elizabeth sails back into Portsmouth

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AS the world looks ahead to the Royal wedding tomorrow, a series of previously unseen pictures have been released of Prince William’s time with the Royal Navy.

The future heir to the throne trained with the Navy for two months, from June to August 2008, during which time he spent three weeks at the Britannia Royal Naval College training as a warfare officer, as well as with the Fleet Air Arm and Royal Marines, before deploying for five weeks of drug-busting action on Portsmouth-based frigate HMS Iron Duke.

TRAINING William at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton

TRAINING William at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton

It was during this tour that the Prince took a lead role in helping to identify and capture a small vessel that had been transporting £40m worth of cocaine in the Caribbean.

Some of Wills’ naval colleagues have been selected to play a part in his big day.

Eight sailors will be among a 24-strong military guard of honour outside Westminster Abbey when the Prince and his bride, Kate Middleton, emerge as husband and wife for the first time.

Lieutenant Jason Hannigan, 37, served on HMS Iron Duke with Prince William.

He said: ‘He was a really nice, genuine guy. On his first day or so it felt a bit strange – everyone was aware who he was – but he was treated just like any other Sub-Lieutenant on the ship. We made it as normal as possible and he fitted right in.

‘It’s a great honour to be there for his wedding. It’s an occasion that’ll go down in history.’

Lieutenant Steve Clarke, 39, was at Dartmouth with the Prince.

He said: ‘He had an atmosphere around him. He was very polite, well-mannered and approachable.

‘I’m extremely excited about the wedding – all the sailors who have been training at HMS Collingwood for it are. There’s a real buzz about the place.’