Kate receives new patronage from Prince Philip

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As the royal family gathered to celebrate their traditional Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, there was another occasion to toast. Prince Philip has passed on his patronage of the RAF Air Cadets to the Duchess of Cambridge.

After 63 years with the RAF Air Cadets, the Queen's husband has relinquished his role as Air Commodore-in-Chief.

Kate will now become Honorary Air Commandant of the Air Cadet Organisation, a group of 42,000 air cadets and 15,000 adult volunteers at more than 1,200 units across the UK and abroad.

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After 63 years with the RAF Air Cadets, Prince Philip is relinquishing his role

It is the Duchess' 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.

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Kate looked thrilled to take up her new role and patronage

Prince George and Princess Charlotte's mum, who has been championing her patronages related to children's charities this autumn, looked festive in a red skirt and blazer suit.

The 33-year-old Duchess looked thrilled to receive her new patronage – a significant moment in her career as a royal.

"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 6 decades of service as our Air Commodore-in-Chief!"

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The Duke remains patron or president of 780 organisations or charities

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 organisation concerned.

Philip still remains patron or president of 780 organisations or charities.

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