William and Kate land in Cyprus as they make a visit to RAF base

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
today brought some festive cheer to the Royal Air Force personnel who will be stationed in Cyprus over the Christmas
period by delivering presents from their families.
Prince William
and Kate arrived at RAF Akrotiri this afternoon on a special 'Royal Mail' flight loaded with gifts and cards from relatives, as they praised the men and women for doing their work 'without fanfare'.
Many of the presents had been given to the royal couple yesterday at a party they threw at Kensington Palace in London for the wives, husbands, children and parents of staff from RAF Coningsby and RAF Marham, who will be spending Christmas away from home. 
This afternoon, they touched down at RAF Akrotiri on the government's Voyager aircraft, which is used by the Royal Family and ministers, after making the five-hour flight from the UK. Kate looked elegantly casual in wide-legged trousers, a white silk shirt and a khaki jacket, with her hair half swept off her face.  
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Only last night the Duchess of Cambridge wowed in a stunning Jenny Packham gown at Buckingham Palace, but it was back to normal attire today.
For a visit to Cyprus, Kate wore a pair of flattering black wide-leg trousers which she teamed with a green blazer by one of her go-to labels, Smythe. She then finished off with a simple white top, a buckled belt and an L.K. Bennett bag in a matching hue.
Kate lived up to her reputation for recycling her favourite wardrobe pieces, as we first spotted her wearing this blazer back in 2016. It's a really timeless piece so we're not surprised it's become one of her staples! The tailored fit and military style buttons give it a luxe look, whilst the green colour makes a refreshing change from traditional black suit blazers.
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And William said: 'All of this work is done without fanfare. You don't seek praise for your contribution. It's not about credit or recognition – for you, it's just about service. But as we approach Christmas, Catherine and I feel strongly that praise for your work and recognition of your sacrifices is exactly what is due to you all.
'From my time in uniform, we both know a bit of what it feels like to balance your work commitments with your family life. You all put duty first. And so do your families, some of whom we had the chance to meet yesterday at a party at Kensington Palace. 
'We know this isn't easy for you or for your wives, husbands, children, and friends back in the UK. On behalf of everyone back home, we would like to say thank you. 
'Thank you for your commitment and thank you for your sacrifices. We are in your debt and Catherine and I feel very lucky to be able to spend time with you today.'
As the gifts were handed out in the Sergeant's mess, Kate turned to some RAF personnel that included Squadron Leader Sarah Waghorn and others and joked about delivering the mail.
Sqn Ldr Waghorn, 34, whose 80-year-old father David Waghorn had met the royals at their Christmas Party, said: 'They said their parcel service 'really was royal mail'.'
The senior engineer, who works on Typhoon jets, added: 'To have such high profile visitors coming to say thank you is a real honour. Yesterday they were all talking about what we do at the party and I guess all the families are proud of what we do and serving.
'It's sad we won't be home for Christmas, but to get that personal message from them with the duke and duchess is lovely.'
Later, William and Kate joined a Christmas afternoon tea where families stationed on the base were enjoying a selection of cakes and pastries. 
Sat a few seats away from William were two former colleagues - Flight Sergeant David Sheppard,48, and Sergeant Dickie Myers, 32 - who were part of the RAF Search and Rescue crews at RAF Valley on Anglesey when the royal flew rescue missions from the base.
Sgt Myers, a winchman, who is now based at RAF Akrotiri, said: 'He joked about my tatty badge and said I hadn't lost any weight - I'd put some on - his banter is top notch.'
Wing Commander Paul O'Grady, 42, whose five-year-old son Harry was the star of the show at a party at Kensington Palace yesterday, said: 'None of us look for any special attention, were just here to do our job. 
'But I'm very, very grateful that the Royal Household put that together for our families, because it's more difficult for the people at home. For them [the Duke and Duchess] to come our here and recognise the service, it goes to show that the work the men and women are doing is still valued.'
Louis is 'working on his royal wave', says Kate 
Prince Louis is working on his royal wave, the Duchess of Cambridge revealed to wellwishers today. 
On a walkabout outside the Warrant Officers and Sergeants' Mess, Kate chatted to Rhian Davis, 32, who was carrying 10-week-old daughter Dorothy in a sling. 
Rhian said: 'She asked whether she was sleeping through the night and she told me that Louis is starting to wave.' 
The Duke and Duchess met families living and working on the camp as darkness fell. 
And the excitement was all too much for a couple of the children waiting for their royal visitors. 
One-year-old Mia Williams frowned at the Duchess, who laughed and told her: 'It's scary meeting new people.' 
Mother Christine Williams, 26, said: 'I'm so excited. It means loads - just that they know we are here and appreciate all we are doing. 't's lovely to see them. It makes it all worthwhile.' 
Kate received flowers and a teddy bear and made a beeline for Harrison Brown, eight, who was wearing a jacket covered in dinosaurs, telling him it would go down well with her son, Prince George. 
The schoolboy was not too clear on who she meant though and he said: 'She said she know someone, called George I think, she said he would like the jacket.' 
Samantha Sahota, five, told Kate she was upset the Duchess had not worn pink or a crown or arrived in a carriage. 
Her grandmother Helen, who has run a jewellery shop on the camp for the past 40 years and met previous royal visitors including the Queen and Princess Anne, said: 'Kate promised that next time she would wear a pink dress and a crown.' 
Troops stationed at the air base will receive goody bags containing small treats like chocolate and magazine over Christmas, along with letters from cadets and parcels from military charities.
There, spotting some bright yellow sofas in the relaxing video room William teased the men by saying: 'keep the pizza off the sofas!' His wife Kate quipped back 'You're a nightmare with that!'
Moments earlier Kate had cut a cake that had been decorated with a coral reef scene — matching the stunning artwork in hallway of the renovated centre. 'It's so delicate I don't want to spoil it,' as cake maker as she cut through a coral.
The building — a disused kindergarten— has been transformed with the help of local Cypriot tradespeople and service members at the base. Mainly aimed at younger personnel who generally live in shared accommodation, Oasis provides a space for some 'me time' and a place where they can make private FaceTime video phone calls.
When the couple were shown the place for private calls William recalled the tokens he would use to make calls from air bases when he was serving. They lasted for 15 minutes he recalled. 'FaceTime makes such a difference now,' he added.
Admiring the renovations, that had taken place over the last six weeks, William said, 'you guys have done a seriously good job. Was today the deadline?' he teased. 'Smelling the fresh paint around.'
On arriving at the base the couple had a short private briefing before going to a hangar to meet with some of the servicemen and women on the base. They started with a group of RAF support personnel including Tina Hays, from RAF Marham, who has a son aged 12.
She told Kate: 'I've been in the military for 15 years and have had several overseas deployments. But I find that the older they get, the worse it is. It's very difficult to be away at Christmas but we try to work it around holidays and things like that. '
She said afterwards that the couple 'really sympathised' with how difficult it was.
Corporal Karl Noakes, 33, also from RAF Marham, said he had been sent pictures of his daughter Alysia, two, at yesterday's Christmas party at the palace.
He said: 'It's a tough one. I've been away lots of times and it's never easy but it's very different now I am a dad. My little girl is now asking for me when we speak and even playing her mother off against me when he is playing up.   
'It's difficult all round. I'm complete lost in admiration for what my wife, Nicole, does when I'm not they, especially work Christmas coming up. '
Corporal Noakes, who won't return to his family until February, praised the duke and duchess for organising yesterday's party, saying: 'It meant so much to everyone. My daughter had so much fun but was shattered last night. I think they really understand what it is like for all of us.'
'You don't seek praise for your contribution': Prince William's speech in full 
Hello everyone. 
Thank you for welcoming Catherine and I here today.
At any given moment, in every corner of the world, the men and women of the UK military can be found working to protect our country's security and interests.
There will be some 11,000 sailors, soldiers, airmen and marines deployed on operations over the festive period from all three services. 30 operations in 35 countries all across the globe from Somalia and South Sudan to Kuwait and Ukraine.
Here in Cyprus, you are supporting Op Shader and the global effort to defeat IS. 
Almost 1000 Army personnel are in Afghanistan training our allies; another 1000 are deployed to the South Atlantic in support of the Falkland Islands; a further 1000 are directly employed in the fight against Daesh and training local security forces in Iraq and across the wider Middle East.
All of this work is done without fanfare. You don't seek praise for your contribution. It's not about credit or recognition – for you, it's just about service.
But as we approach Christmas, Catherine and I feel strongly that praise for your work and recognition of your sacrifices is exactly what is due to you all. 
From my time in uniform, we both know a bit of what it feels like to balance your work commitments with your family life.
You all put duty first. And so do your families, some of whom we had the chance to meet yesterday at a party at Kensington Palace. We know this isn't easy for you or for your wives, husbands, children, and friends back in the UK.
But on behalf of everyone back home, we would like to say thank you.
Thank you for your commitment and thank you for your sacrifices. We are in your debt and Catherine and I feel very lucky to be able to spend time with you today.
Thank you.
William and Kate chatted happily about the party. 'There was a lot of chocolates and marshmallow consumed yesterday. The kids were running wild!' the prince said.
'It was lovely to see them having so much fun,' Kate added.
'A very merry Christmas to you all,' said William, 'although it feels too early to say it...but we are not going to see you. So put it on ice until the day!'
Scott Stewart, 33, from RAF Spadeadam in Cumbria spoke to William and Kate as they visited an aircraft hanger on the base shortly after arriving.
The dad of three told the royals how he was looking forward to seeing his children, aged six, three and just 26 weeks when he returns home in two weeks.
Scott, a Communications specialist with No. 903 Expeditionary Air Wing, said: 'Having William and Kate here is a massive boost for everyone here.
'As a former serviceman himself he spoke to us about how he understands it's hard being away from our families.
'Kate said how she thought time means so much especially in the early years so it great to have them recognise the sacrifices that we are all making here.
'I'm lucky enough to be going home for Christmas but many people won't be.
'Everyone misses their families and friends but we're all getting on with the job in hand and luckily I can FaceTime my children before they go to school and before bedtime and it's the little things like that that are really important for keeping focussed out here.'
No. 903 Expeditionary Air Wing is an Expeditionary Air Wing of the Royal Air Force It is currently based at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus and is tasked with conducting operations against the Islamic State terror organisation in Iraq and Syria.
Another soldier from 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment called Jesse (wouldn't give surname) said it was 'important' the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took the time to travel to the base.
He said: 'We've just come back from three months in Afghanistan where we were stationed in Kabul and now we are waiting to go home again in two weeks.
'To meet the future King of England is a huge deal for a lot of people here and it's really appreciated.
'William said everyone back home appreciates what we do and as a former serviceman himself you get the feeling he really understands.'
The duke and duchess also spoke of the perils of throwing a children's party, after their Christmas event for RAF families left their young guests on a sugar high.
The royal couple, who met the parents of the children who yesterday came to their Kensington Palace party, admitted they felt rather 'responsible' for the number of sweets and marshmallows consumed.
The Duchess also told how Prince George and Princess Charlotte had missed out on the party, turning up after school to find the snow machine and edible treats had been cleared away.
Meeting the troops in Cyprus, the Duke and Duchess delivered presents directly from the children to their parents in 11 Squadron, in what servicemen jokingly described as the 'worst kept secret' in town after they read about the party in the newspapers this morning.
'If you see a helicopter can you take a picture,' George asks William
Prince George asked his father the Duke of Cambridge this morning if he could take a picture of any helicopters he sees today.
William revealed the cute exchange while speaking to pilots at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, saying: 'I told George this morning we were going to see the pilots today, and he said 'if you see a helicopter can you take a picture?'
George is known to have a love of helicopters, and got a treat in July 2017 when he was allowed to sit in one during a tour in Hamburg.
He beamed as he was allowed by his pilot father to step inside the cockpit, strapping on a helmet and sitting down.
George, whose father flew with the East Anglian Air Ambulance, is also known to be a fan of volcanoes, planes and trains.
'Did we meet any of your families yesterday?' the Duchess asked a small circle of service men and women. 'I hope they enjoyed it. It was very kiddie friendly. I think some of the grandparents felt slightly bombarded.
'They [the children] had a lot of sweets by the end of the day. We felt quite responsible. The sugar highs... there were a lot of marshmallows. Did they get back [home] ok?'
Empathising with the time troops were spending away from their families in service to the country, she added: 'Some of the children really understood what their mums and dads are doing and missed you all. I'm sorry that we couldn't bring your families with us for Christmas.'
Speaking to a second group, she disclosed she had tried to show George and Charlotte the festive treats laid out for military families when they arrived home from school and nursery yesterday afternoon, laughing as she added: 'We took the children down to where the party was but everything was gone - they were so disappointed!'
It was not all lost for the Cambridge children, however. The Duke told pilots: 'I told George this morning we were going to see the pilots today, and he said 'if you see a helicopter can you take a picture?'
The couple handed out gifts for select personnel at the base, sent by their children and to be opened in private at Christmas.
They later enjoyed tea and cakes with families living in the Cyprus military bases, asking children their names and ages, and quizzing adults about life out there.
'Are any of you football fans?' the Duke asked at one point, bringing up his favourite topic of sport. After a look from his wife, he conceded: 'I'm sorry!'
'You're not going to find an Aston Villa fan everywhere,' the Duchess told him, amused, before the Duke pulled his trump card: 'I've found one already actually.'
The Duchess also made time for some more serious conversation, sharing some of her research into children's early years development and the importance of mental health.
'Is mental health something you guys are interested in as part of your work?' she asked. 'Some of the stuff we have learned has shown that everyone should have some sort of basic mental health training. I really want to get mental health training as part of teacher training, not just for the sake of the teachers themselves but for the children too.'
Around 450 soldiers and 150 family members made the move to the Mediterranean from their base in Chester, and will stay in Cyprus for another year of a two year posting.
RAF Akrotiri is the home of the Cyprus Operations Support Unit which provides joint support to British Forces Cyprus and operations in the region to protect the UK's strategic interests.
Although they are visiting an RAF base in William's role as Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, the couple's two days of engagements have been designed as a way of recognising all the 7,500 military personnel currently serving overseas or away from home.
An aide said the prince had been very keen to do something for the RAF community for some time.
Yesterday he and Kate enjoyed a fake snowball fight at the party in the palace's temporary Orangery cafe, played games and helped the the children make Christmas cards and treats. 
The event was supported by The Royal British Legion in recognition of the sacrifices serving personnel and their families make year round, and especially when they are separated during the festive period. 
The palace's orangery café had been turned into a winter wonderland, with a fake snow machine, decorations including giant crackers and even a real life Father Christmas.
There was also a photo booth and a post box so that guests could take pictures and send messages to their loved ones in Cyprus.  
Among the families there were Barrie and Ann Macdonald from Manchester who are looking after their grandson Harry, five, in Coningsby while his mum, Claire - their daughter - and dad Paul, both wing commanders, are away in Afghanistan and Cyprus respectively. 
Kate paid tribute to the couple for moving in to look after Harry, whose father will not be home until January and mother until February. 'So you are looking after Harry, are you? It's amazing that families pull together like this,' she said. 
In a speech the duchess also spoke about life as a service wife with a husband posted abroad. 
She recalled being left at home when William was serving as an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot, not least when he spent six weeks in the Falklands in February and March 2012.  
She said: 'William and I just wanted to pass on our huge gratitude to all of you here today. Not only are we grateful for you coming here to join our party, but also for the sacrifices you make on a daily basis on behalf of the nation.' 
'As someone whose husband has served, I know how hard it feels when a loved one leaves home to do the job they've trained for. When William served in the Falklands or went search and rescue, I remember how it felt. 
'But I can't imagine how it feels when your loved ones are away on active service over Christmas or at those special family moments. 'The absence of people you love must be especially hard at this time of year. 
'William and I, however, hope that today shows, in some small way, how much you are all valued. 'We should never forget our military families and all the service you do for us all.'
William is Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, which is home to Typhoon squadrons which deploy to Cyprus and fly operations in support of Op Shader, the UK's contribution to the ongoing campaign against Islamic State.
They work alongside 31 Squadron, a Tornado GR4 unit based at RAF Marham in Norfolk, which is also involved with the campaign. 
 
Kate steals Meghan's style! Duchess of Cambridge wears suit trousers in public for the FIRST time - just like the wide-legged ones loved by her sister-in-law
By Siofra Brennan For MailOnline 
They're said to be at loggerheads behind the scenes, but it looks as if her sister-in-law Meghan's style influence is rubbing off on the Duchess of Cambridge

Kate, 36, arrived in Cyprus this afternoon to visit RAF personnel, wearing a very Meghan-like ensemble of black wide-legged trousers, teamed with a white silk top and recycled khaki blazer from Canadian brand Smythe. 
While the Duchess of Cambridge has previously worn dark skinny jeans and jeggings on royal engagements, this is believed to be the first time she's ever donned black suit trousers during an official royal engagement.
Meanwhile, her sister-in-law Meghan, 37, has made the style a staple of her royal wardrobe, regularly wearing trouser suits on official engagements. 
And the wide-legged style is her particular favourite, worn on multiple occasions since she took up royal duties a year ago.  
Indeed, smart trousers have become something of a trademark for Meghan with the Duchess opting for a suit on evening occasions when other royals would have turned up in a dress. 
However, it wasn't a complete departure from her usual fashion for Kate today as she once again showed her thrifty side by recycling an old blazer. 
Canadian brand Smythe is also popular with Meghan, although Kate has been wearing the label since long before her sister-in-law came on the scene. 
The Duchess donned her trusty khaki jacket with gold buttons by Smythe, which she previously wore on the royal tour of Canada in 2016.
She looked perfectly co-ordinated, matching her khaki suede clutch bag and heels to her blazer.  
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are in Cyprus for a whirlwind visit to bring festive cheer to RAF personnel who will be away from their families this Christmas.
William and Kate touched down at RAF Akrotiri on the government's Voyager aircraft, which is used by the Royal Family and ministers, after making the five-hour flight from the UK.
RAF Akrotiri is the home of the Cyprus Operations Support Unit which provides joint support to British Forces Cyprus and operations in the region to protect the UK's strategic interests.
An aide said the prince had been very keen to do something for the RAF community for some time.
Yesterday, the couple held a festive party for families of personnel deployed to Cyprus in the Orangery at Kensington Palace.
 
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