Prince William hosts his first investiture

Andy Murray: "I thought he seemed very confident, he spent a long time chatting with everyone"

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Prince William has hosted his first investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Among those honoured were Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, who was presented with an OBE.

It represented an extension of the Duke of Cambridge's public duties after he left the Royal Air Force last month.

Standing in for the Queen, William presented awards recognising achievements in a wide range of fields to recipients from across the UK.

For Prince William, this will be yet another taste of what lies ahead for a future king.

He has left the RAF and during what his officials have called a "transitional year" - less charitable individuals have labelled it a gap year - he is looking for another full-time role while continuing to undertake some royal duties.

Conducting a few investiture ceremonies, which require the royal host to stand for an hour at a time, will help the Queen, his 87-year-old grandmother.

This morning, William will wield his ceremonial sword, gently, in the presence of two fresh knights; and pin awards on a wide range of recipients including the Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and Helen Butler, who has dedicated herself to the conservation of red squirrels on the Isle of Wight.

Andy Murray was on time for the ceremony despite tweeting that he had been held up by a random drugs test.

"In the middle of a drug test hahaha I'm goin to be late!!!" he wrote.

Vicar Of Dibley producer Jon Plowman was also made an OBE by the prince, while broadcaster Aled Jones became an MBE for services to music, broadcasting and charity. Conservationist Helen Butler received an MBE.

Transitional year

Around 25 such ceremonies are held every year, either in the ballroom at Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh or at Windsor Castle.

The majority are hosted by the Queen but some investitures are carried out by the Prince of Wales or Princess Royal.

Prince William already carries out engagements connected to his charitable interests and those of the Royal Foundation he is joint patron of with the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

Following the end of a military career that has occupied the prince since January 2006, the full shape of his public duties has yet to be decided.

The next year has been described as "transitional" by palace officials as the duke prepares to become a full-time royal.

He plans to expand his conservation work, particularly on the protection of endangered species, through his Royal Foundation.

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