Prince William is to get his hands on the ultimate boy’s toy – a luxury helicopter paid for by the Queen.
The six-year-old Agusta A109S Grand, which has already been dubbed ‘Heirforce One’ after the US President’s aircraft, has no previous owners and boasts a top speed of 180mph.
It will be used to whisk William and his wife Kate between official engagements so they can spend as much time as possible at home with their son, Prince George.
The Duke of Cambridge, who celebrates his 32nd birthday today, is a qualified RAF helicopter pilot.
However, it is not clear whether he will get behind the controls of the Augusta, according to the Daily Mirror.
The newspaper said the aircraft will be leased out by the Queen, with other members of the Royal Family able to hop on board.
A royal source told Sky News the helicopter, which can stay in the sky for up to four and a half hours, covering a maximum distance of more than 530 miles, represented “better value for money”.
It would also be safer, since checks will need to be carried out on just one aircraft rather than several, the source said.
Prince William started his flying training in 2009 at RAF Valley in Anglesey, Wales, where he learnt to pilot search and rescue aircraft.
The Duke, or Flight Lieutenant Wales as he is known in the military, landed a Sea King helicopter on water during a tour of Canada in 2011.
He also took to the skies above the Falkland Islands during a six-week deployment the following year.