King Charles III is giving Prince William command of the British Army unit in which his brother Prince Harry once served, in a round of military appointments before the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s death.
In an announcement Friday, Buckingham Palace confirmed that William will now become colonel-in-chief of the Army Air Corps—the combat aviation arm of the British Army in which Harry served as a helicopter pilot in Afghanistan. “The new appointments will continue to reflect the close relationship between the Armed Forces and the Royal Family in His Majesty’s reign,” the statement read.
William’s wife, Kate Middleton, was also given three new roles, including commodore-in-chief of the Fleet Air Arm. That title used to belong Prince Andrew, but he was stripped of the role when he was accused in civil sexual assault case that he reportedly paid millions of dollars to settle.
Another of Andrew’s erstwhile titles was given to Prince Edward’s wife, Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, who now becomes colonel-in-chief of the Royal Irish Regiment. The appointment means that the reshuffle has not returned any of Andrew’s former military titles.
Prince William, who once served as a Royal Air Force (RAF) search and rescue pilot, has also been made colonel-in-chief of the Mercian Regiment—an infantry regiment in the British Army—as well as royal honorary air commodore of RAF Valley, a military installation on the island of Anglesey off the coast of Wales. William spent three years stationed at RAF Valley until 2013, during which time he reportedly took part in 156 rescue operations that saved 149 people.
But it’s his appointment in command of the Army Air Corps and Harry’s former unit within it—662 Squadron—that may cause some raised eyebrows in jolly old England. Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty Magazine, said he believes it is “quite feasible” that Harry himself could have been in contention for the job had he not withdrawn from life as a working royal. “Had Harry still been around he might well have had more appointments going his way,” Little told the Daily Mirror newspaper.
The Duke of Sussex rankled some sections of the British military establishment earlier this year when he confessed in his memoir Spare to killing 25 Taliban during his time in Afghanistan with the squadron. “They were chess pieces removed from the board, Bads taken away before they could kill Goods,” he wrote in the book, adding that the number gave him no “satisfaction” nor did it make him “feel ashamed.”
King Charles—who serves as the head of the British armed forces in his role as sovereign—will also take on eight new military affiliations. “His Majesty is a military veteran himself, having trained and served in both the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force,” Buckingham Palace’s statement said.
The military shakeup comes as the British royal family prepares to mark the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s death next month. A report in the U.K. media earlier this week said William and Kate will be the public face of the commemorations, with a source in the Waleses’ office confirming to The Daily Beast that “there is likely to be an acknowledgement” of the anniversary, though detailed plans have yet to be worked out.