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Prince William goes undercover with British spies


Prince William (file photo)


London: Prince William has spent three weeks on undercover work placements with Britain's security and intelligence agencies to gain a first-hand understanding of the role they play in combatting terrorism.

The 36-year-old second in line to Britain's throne described the experience of working with the MI5, MI6 and Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) as a humbling one, while the GCHQ said the royal had worked exceptionally hard during his internship.

"William worked exceptionally hard to embed himself in the team and comfortably held his own amongst some highly skilled analysts and operators. His Royal Highness asked some probing questions and demonstrated a real grasp of our mission," the head of counter-terrorism operations at GCHQ, an anonymous post, said in a statement.

William, the Duke of Cambridge, undertook his workplace attachments last month and concluded his mission on Saturday.

"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 said.

Staff at the security and intelligence agencies "work in secret, often not even able to tell their family and friends about the work they do or the stresses they face", he said, adding that the country owes them deep gratitude for the difficult and dangerous work they do.

According to Kensington Palace, William learned about risks to the UK's national security and economy and also observed counter-terrorism teams analysing intelligence and carrying out investigations.

During his visit to MI6 the home of fictional spy James Bond William also learnt about the agency's secret overseas missions and how its officers nurture foreign contacts and feed back intelligence to the UK.

He would have attended security briefings with senior officials to discuss the prioritisation of the most serious terrorism threats.

The prince, a former Royal Air Force pilot, had given up his flying career with East Anglian Air Ambulance in 2017 to take on full-time royal duties.

His attachment comes after his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, celebrated GCHQ's centenary earlier this year with a visit to its former top secret base, Watergate House in London.

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