Prince William Celebrates His 'Wings' with Kate

Prince William Celebrates His 'Wings' with Kate
Prince William and Kate Middleton
Michael Dunlea/AP

04/11/2008 AT 12:00 PM EDT

Prince William received his coveted flying "wings" at a Royal Air Force graduation on Friday, while girlfriend Kate Middleton looked on with pride.

Britain's Air Chief Marshall – who happens to be his dad, Prince Charles – presented 25-year-old William and 32 other graduates with their "wings" during a 45-minute graduation ceremony at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire on Friday morning.

The young prince is following in the footsteps of his father, who also earned his RAF "wings" at the same flight school back in 1971. William's uncle, Prince Andrew, is also a pilot, having flown helicopters in the South Atlantic during combat operations in 1982's Falklands War.

Also in attendance at the graduation for Flying Officer Wales – his Air Force rank and name – was his stepmom Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. Middleton, meanwhile, continued to show her support – having also attended William's Sandhurst army college graduation in 2006.

Inside William's Training

William has spent the last four months on attachment to the RAF, spending one month learning to fly a basic learner plane, Tucanos, before a five-week intensive course at RAF Shawbury in Shropshire where he learned to fly Squirrel helicopters.

"He fitted in incredibly well," Martin Locke, Community Relations and Press Officer at RAF Shawbury tells PEOPLE. "He was a natural pilot and a very quick learner."

Prince William began his pilot training in early January and was soaring the skies solo after only eight days of tutoring.

Dressed in his full RAF "No. 1" dress uniform, William proudly showed his father and Camilla the helicopter he learned to fly in. Says spokesman Locke: "To have your wings presented by Prince Charles is very special, I'm sure none of these graduates will forget today."

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