The Duchess of Cambridge, née Kate Middleton, had more than one occasion to toast on Wednesday (Dec. 16). Not only did she join the extended British Royal Family for the annual Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace, but she did so with a new patronage to her name. Prince Philip passed the RAF Air Cadets honour on to Kate earlier in the day.
The Queen's husband has relinquished his role after 63 years as Air Commodore-in-Chief. Kate will now become Honorary Air Commandant of the Air Cadet Organization, a group of 42,000 air cadets and 15,000 adult volunteers at more than 1,200 units around the world.
It is the duchess's first role with an official link to the military; Kate has a close affiliation to the RAF following her husband Prince William's service with the search and rescue force.
The private ceremony took place at Buckingham Palace during an audience with Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty. Prince Philip received a special gift upon his retirement, while Kate was also welcomed to her new role with a book.
The 33-year-old duchess looked thrilled to receive her new patronage, a significant moment in her career with the Royal Family.
"So delighted to welcome HRH The Duchess of Cambridge as our new Honorary Air Commandant of the Air Cadets!" wrote Dawn McCafferty on Twitter. "A huge thank you to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh for over six decades of service as our Air Commodore-in-Chief!"
In 2010, it was announced that Prince Philip, who turns 95 next year, will stand down from a number of patronages with which he has been directly associated. However, the reduction in the number of his patronages will be gradual and in consultation with each organization concerned.
Philip is patron or president of 780 organizations or charities.