Kate Middleton returns to royal duties as Duchess meets troops involved in Afghan rescue


Kate has officially returned to royal duties today, when she headed to RAF Brize Norton. There, she met some of the military personnel and civilians who took part in Operation PITTING. This operation, hailed as the largest humanitarian aid move run by the UK over the past seven decades, saw the evacuation of thousands of people from Afghanistan last month.

The operation was carried out between August 14 and 28 after the Taliban seized back power in the country.

The Ministry of Defence said at the end of last month it had flown out of the country more than 15,000 people – including some 8,000 Afghans.

While at the Oxfordshire base, Kate looked around an aircraft that was used to evacuate people from Afghanistan.

Moreover, she heard more about the evacuation and the first support offered to refugees on their arrival on British soil.

Among those she spoke to were RAF aircrew and medics who helped people at Kabul airport.

There were also civilians and volunteers who established a repatriation centre at the RAF base in Oxfordshire and continued to provide supplies to those fleeing Afghanistan.

In the wake of Kabul’s fall to the Taliban, Western forces led by the US helped evacuate a total of 123,000 civilians from Afghanistan.

Prior to today’s key engagement, Kate was last seen in public on July 11.

READ MORE: Prince Harry snubbed Prince Philip demands to secure invite for Fergie

The tennis enthusiast attended the Wimbledon Men’s Singles final alongside her father, Michael Middleton.

That evening, the Duchess joined her firstborn Prince George and husband Prince William at Wembley Stadium for the EURO 2020 final.

The Duchess is believed to have spent the summer break mostly at Anmer Hall in Norfolk with her close family.

Vanity Fair reported earlier this month a local source claiming to have spotted Kate and William teaching their children how to sail.

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In early August, Kate and Prince William took their children to the Isles of Scilly for the second year in a row.

In the past, the Cambridges have spent some of their summer holidays in Mustique but, since the beginning of the pandemic, they appear to have preferred British destinations.

Vanity Fair also claimed the family of five spent the last week of August with the Queen at Balmoral Castle.

The monarch has been in Scotland for her traditional summer holiday since July 23, and is not expected to return to England before the beginning of October.

While Kate resumed her face-to-face engagements today, Prince William returned to work last week.

On Thursday, he marked 999 Day by meeting first responders, including firefighters and members of the public who have been helped by them.

Yesterday, he took part in the Who Cares Wins awards, where he handed out the 999 Heroes gong to the paramedics Deena Evans and Michael Hipgrave who were stabbed on duty.

Hailing their heroism, he said: “When most of us would, quite naturally, turn away and seek safety, our emergency responders rise to the occasion – running straight towards the danger to provide vital and often life-saving support. 

“Very modestly, they will tell you that this does not make them heroes, and it is all done in the name of duty.

“But sometimes a situation will occur that tests the resolve of even the most experienced responder.

“In times like these, they must face their deepest fears and find the most astonishing level of courage to overcome the obstacles in front of them. And that is truly heroic.

“The winners of this award faced just such a situation, but I am delighted to say they survived and are here this evening.”



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