Wills had to miss Olympic closing ceremony due to work

Prince William may reduce his hours with the RAF, enabling him to shoulder more responsibility as the Duke of Cambridge.

Wills, 30, works as a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot and, with his tour of duty ending next year, the Prince could switch roles or give up his career altogether to dedicate more time to royal duties.

William‘s deeper involvement with the family firm would ease the pressure on the Queen, 86, and the Duke of Edinburgh, 91.

Yet cutting his hours could cause upset amongst his colleagues as it’s not usually allowed.

One serious option is for William to become a flying instructor,’ reveals a senior RAF source.

As long as his flying reports are good enough he could train pilots. This would keep his flying time up and give him more flexibility for royal duties.

It could be a problem with officers who want to leave early. We don’t want others demanding the same treatment.’

William, who was forced to miss the Olympic closing ceremony on Sunday because he had to get back to base, will make the decision in the autumn.

The duke’s tour of duty is due to end mid-2013,’ a St James’s Palace spokesman tells the Daily Mirror.

The options he has are to undertake another tour with the Search and Rescue Force; undertake alternative duties in another area of the Armed Forces or undertake full-time royal duties.’

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Anna Francis