The Duke of Cambridge warned officer cadets about the “great demands” service life places on families as he represented the Queen for the first time at the Sovereign’s Parade at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst.

William, who graduated from Sandhurst in 2006, also spoke of the “immense privilege” that came with serving in one of “the finest military academies in the world” as he addressed the cadets as they celebrated the completion of a year’s intensive training.

“Service life places great demands on family life, but I want you to know that your country is extremely grateful for the sacrifices you make in order to protect the nation,” the duke said.

The duke joined 169 officer cadets from the UK on the parade ground in Camberley, Surrey, on Friday, along with 25 cadets from 19 overseas countries.

The Sovereign’s ParadeThe duke warned the cadets of the “great demands” which serving in the military places on family life (Jonathan Brady/PA)

William, who served seven-and-a-half years in the military before leaving in 2013, encouraged the officer cadets to “go forward with confidence” and praised their “remarkable accomplishments”.

The duke, who wore his Blues and Royals coat, also presented a series of awards including the Sword of Honour and the Queen’s Medal.

During his seven-and-a-half years in the military, William served in the Royal Navy, British Army and RAF.

The Sovereign’s ParadeSome 169 officer cadets from the UK were on the parade ground in Camberley, Surrey (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Last year, Prince Harry attended the parade, 11 years after his graduation from Sandhurst.

It was during Harry’s visit to Sandhurst that Kensington Palace announced the date and location of his wedding with Meghan Markle.