Prince William to Begin Special Forces Training

07/31/2008 at 10:15 AM EDT

Prince William to Begin Special Forces Training
Prince William (left) with fellow soldiers
John Stillwell/Pool/REUTERS/Landov
Prince William is set to add another cap to his military collection – that of Special Forces soldier.

William, 26, will spend some time with the elite corps as he nears the end of his time in the British military.

His posting will be "non-operational," according to a palace statement, but will help teach him about the "discreet but important contribution" the services play in the British military.

The statement adds, "As with the prince's previous attachments and visits, one of the aims is to highlight the important and often difficult work carried out by the men and women of the Armed Forces."

A spokesman tells PEOPLE, "This will continue his entire understanding of the military right across the piece."

This weekend, however, William is set to start a vacation with his girlfriend of six years, Kate Middleton, 26. She has flown out to the Caribbean to be with him as he departs from HMS Iron Duke.

The fall will also see him spend some time with the Army Air Corps and the Central Staff of the military, gaining an understanding of how the British military is coordinated and directed in support of policies laid down by politicians.

Next year, he is set to begin his "kingship" training, as palace insiders have called it. The second in line to the throne will assume more royal engagements in support of his grandmother Queen Elizabeth, undertake more charity roles and gradually pick up the rudiments of his future constitutional role.

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