Prince William leaves military, will embark on a life of ribbon-cutting, etc.

The future king at the controls of a Sea King helicopter. (John Stillwell / AFP/Getty Images)

The future king at the controls of a Sea King helicopter. (John Stillwell / AFP/Getty Images)

Prince William has wrapped up his active-duty military career — and is now freed up to join family business full-time. The Royal Air Force announced Thursday that the second-in-line to the throne has closed the books on seven years of military service, first with the Army and most recently as a helicopter pilot who participated in 156 search-and-rescue operations. Next up? Well, probably a lot of ribbon-cuttings, charity confabs, speeches and funerals of foreign dignitaries; his father, Prince Charles, logs several hundred such events a year, as well as promoting pet causes like urban design and environmentalism. The palace said William will focus on endangered species and charities that help children and veterans.

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