11/20/2012

Oops! Day-in-life photos of Prince William pulled by defence ministry

William bed
Prince William makes up his bed on base. A 24-hour shift means staying close to the aircraft overnight. (Crown Copyright)

A photographic glimpse into Prince William's military life almost turned into no glimpse at all.

In yet another carefully crafted move to bring the royals closer to real-life folks, St. James's Palace  breathlessly unveiled 10 photos on the Prince's website Tuesday under the title "A day into the life of Flight Lieutenant Wales."

William computerA few hours later, however, at least four of the photos were taken off the site when it was discovered they showed some names and passwords on computer screens in the background. Worse, the photos had never been cleared by the Ministry of Defence.

The suspect images were re-issued with some details blurred out to satisfy security concerns. And just to make sure, passwords were changed.

"Due to an administrative oversight, these photographs were not properly cleared at RAF Valley and the images showed unclassified MoD user names, passwords and computer screens on a restricted system," a ministry spokesman said.

"The passwords and user names shown have now been reset as a precaution and we are satisfied the images do not contravene security regulations."

The people who run the Prince's Clarence House website were not about to take the fall for the misstep.

"The photos were taken and supplied by the RAF. Any security issues are a matter for the MoD."

The photos themselves are a slice of life from William's career as a seach-and-rescue helicopter pilot. As if to prove his mere-mortal status, there are shots of him in the dining room, making tea, relaxing with his four-man crew and even making his bed.

Typically, the crew will be on a 24-hour shift, where they are on a "Readiness State 15" -- meaning they have to be in the air after a call within 15 minutes -- between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. It's a 45-minute window overnight.

As for routine, there is endless training between rescue operations, which number more than 1,950 a year for search-and-rescue around the UK. Before any mission, each crew member has a checklist. In his role as a pilot for the Sea King Mark 3, William would be responsible for checking things like the airframe, fuel, hydraulic and navigation systems.

How long this will be William's routine is up in the air. He's due to make a decision on his future with the RAF before year's end and the betting is he could move to a part-time role as he ramps up his royal duties.

William brief
The search and rescue crew receive their morning briefing at RAF Valley. (Crown Copyright)

William controls
Flight Lt. Wales carries out a pre-flight check in the Sea King helicopter. (Crown Copyright)

William copter
Prince William inspects his helicopter before every mission. (Crown Copyright)

William lazyboy
A cup of tea and an easy chair are familiar items as the crew waits for a call. They can never be more than a minute from their helicopter. (Crown Copyright) William meal
It's not quite a state dinner, but it's quite enough for the helicopter crews at RAF Valley's dining room. (Crown Copyright)

William relax
Prince William and his crew relax in one of the operations rooms. This would have been one of the photos to cause the MoD some concerns, with computer screens open in the background. (Crown Copyright)

William tea
Cups of tea and coffee always need filling at the base, where crews maintain a steady state of readiness to be airborne within 15 minutes of a call for rescue. (Crown Copyright)

 

 

 

 

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