AceShowbiz - British royal Prince William has secretly spent the past three weeks working as an intern at the U.K.'s national security and intelligence agencies.
The second-in-line to the throne learned all about the functions of the MI5, MI6, and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) by spending a week at each facility, and he heaped praise on their hard work in a statement posted to the official Instagram account of his royal residence, Kensington Palace, on Saturday, April 06.
"Spending time inside our security and intelligence agencies, understanding more about the vital contribution they make to our national security, was a truly humbling experience," he shared.
"These agencies are full of people from everyday backgrounds doing the most extraordinary work to keep us safe," the Prince continued. "They work in secret, often not even able to tell their family and friends about the work they do or the stresses they face."
"They are driven by an unrivaled patriotism and dedication to upholding the values of this country. We all owe them deep gratitude for the difficult and dangerous work they do."
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The Duke of Cambridge has concluded a three week attachment to the UK’s Security and Intelligence Agencies (MI5, MI6 and @GCHQ). The attachment comes as the three security services continue their vital work both at home and abroad to keep our people and our allies safe. The Duke of Cambridge said: “Spending time inside our security and intelligence agencies, understanding more about the vital contribution they make to our national security, was a truly humbling experience. These agencies are full of people from everyday backgrounds doing the most extraordinary work to keep us safe. They work in secret, often not even able to tell their family and friends about the work they do or the stresses they face. They are driven by an unrivalled patriotism and dedication to upholding the values of this country. We all owe them deep gratitude for the difficult and dangerous work they do.” The Duke’s assignment began with a week at the Secret Intelligence Service – MI6 – who work secretly overseas, developing foreign contacts and gathering intelligence that helps to make the UK safer and more prosperous. They help the UK identify and exploit opportunities as well as navigate risks to its national security, military effectiveness and economy. His second week was spent at the Security Service – MI5 – where he saw their work to protect our national security, particularly against threats from terrorism. He finished his assignment at the Government Communications Headquarters in Cheltenham, where he spent time with those using cutting-edge technology, technical ingenuity and wide-ranging partnerships to identify, analyse and disrupt threats. With the threat level for international terrorism in the UK set at SEVERE or above for the last five years, the Duke was keen to see first-hand the extraordinary work that staff across the Security and Intelligence Agencies do — visit @GCHQ to find out more about the work of Government Communications Headquarters in Cheltenham.
A source tells Harper's Bazaar the father-of-three made a personal request to visit their agencies as it's something he has been intrigued by for some time.
"The placements didn't happen because of an invitation," the insider said. "This is a strong area of interest for William and something he personally asked to do and (asked) aides at Kensington Palace to arrange."
The 36-year-old, who previously served as a helicopter pilot with the Royal Air Force's Search and Rescue Force, is thought to have participated in new recruit training during his time at MI6 and GCHQ, learning how to identify possible threats to national security.
"Having the Duke of Cambridge spend time with our teams was an incredible opportunity," the GCHQ's head of counter-terrorism operations, identified only as "David," told The Guardian.
"William worked exceptionally hard to embed himself in the team and comfortably held his own among some highly skilled analysts and operators. His royal highness asked some probing questions and demonstrated a real grasp of our mission. This was a rare opportunity to expose, in detail, the technical ingenuity and problem-solving skills needed on a daily basis to help keep the U.K. safe."