Kate takes pilot’s seat as William holds her handbag

Tony Jones

The Duchess of Cambridge showed off her aerial skills in a flight simulator as her husband was left holding her handbag.

William, who learnt to fly with the RAF and piloted the service’s search and rescue helicopters, watched as Kate took the controls of the light aircraft simulator during a visit to meet air cadets in London.

The event was the couple’s first joint public engagement since the death of the Duke of Edinburgh on April 9.

Kate joked with William – who wore a black tie as a mark of respect to his grandfather – as she clambered into the simulator and then put on a headset with a microphone attached.

She was talked through the controls of the Grob tutor, a light aircraft which thousands of cadets use each year for air experience flights.

Philip was the Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Air Training Corps for 63 years before he passed on the patronage to the duchess in 2015.

Kate met the cadets in her role as Honorary Air Commandant of the RAF Air Cadets, which comprises the Air Training Corps (ATC) and the Combined Cadet Force (RAF).

The Cambridges chatted to the young people during their visit to 282 (East Ham) Squadron, Air Training Corps, east London, to learn how they develop life skills during their time with the ATC.

During the visit the cadets honoured the memory of Philip with three cheers.