Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Host Christmas Party

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Visit Sunderland


London and Cyprus

Tuesday 4th and Wednesday 5th December, 2018

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will undertake two engagements in support of deployed military personnel and their families who will be apart over the festive period. Their Royal Highnesses wish to deliver a message of support to deployed personnel and to acknowledge and honour the fact that many Serving personnel are away from their families at this time of the year.

Approximately 7,500 military personnel are currently serving overseas or away from home on exercises. A large portion of these have children who will have a parent away over the festive period.

On Tuesday 4th December, Their Royal Highnesses will host a Christmas party in London for families and children of deployed personnel from RAF Coningsby and RAF Marham serving in Cyprus. The Duke is Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, which is home to Typhoon Sqns, who currently deploy to Cyprus in support of Op SHADER. RAF Marham have 31 Squadron, who are also contributing to OP SHADER.

The event is being supported by The Royal British Legion in recognition of the unique contribution and sacrifices Serving personnel and their families make year round, and especially when they are separated during the festive period. The support of their families and loved ones is vital not only when personnel are serving, but through transition, recovery and civilian life after service, and The Royal British Legion ensures that those family members are supported in return.

The family focused event will feature a number of stalls where children can take part in activities including stocking decorating, cracker making, snow globe decorating and creating Christmas party kits. There will also be children’s entertainment from Sharky and George, as well as a photo booth and a post box so that guests can take pictures and send messages to their loved ones in Cyprus.

The following day on Wednesday 5th December, The Duke and Duchess will fly to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus to meet with Serving personnel, families living on the base, wider station personnel and members of the local community. RAF Akrotiri is home of the Cyprus Operations Support Unit which provides joint support to British Forces Cyprus and operations in the region to protect the UK’s strategic interests.

On arrival in Cyprus, Their Royal Highnesses will meet deployed personnel from 11 and 31 Squadrons, operating Typhoon and Tornado GR4 Squadrons aircraft respectively, who are engaged on operations in support of Op SHADER, the UK’s contribution to the ongoing campaign against Daesh. They will also meet personnel from the lead infantry company of 2 Mercians, who have recently been supporting Op TORAL in Afghanistan.

The Duke and Duchess will then visit and officially open the Oasis centre which is used by Serving personnel on the base as a recreation area when they are not on shift. The centre has recently been renovated by staff working on the base, with trade work having been provided by members of the local Cypriot community. Before unveiling a plaque, Their Royal Highnesses will visit the cinema room, the video room where personnel can make private calls to their family and friends back home, and the café area which is run by CESSAC. CESSAC is The Church of England Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmen’s Club which operates amenity centres in military stations and other places at home and abroad and manages rented housing for elderly ex-Forces personnel and their families.

Their Royal Highnesses will then have the opportunity to meet station personnel, their families and representatives from British Forces at the Sergeant’s Mess. On arrival, The Duke and Duchess will do a short walkabout to meet as many people as possible based at RAF Akrotiri. They will then join a number of families at a Christmas reception where they will have the opportunity to find out more about life on the base. Before departing, Their Royal Highnesses will hand over presents to personnel from 11 Squadron from families they met the previous day at the Christmas party.

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