Prince William is quitting his day job. On Thursday, the father of two retired from his role as an East Anglian air ambulance pilot to focus more on his official royal duties on behalf of the Queen. But the decision wasn’t easy: The prince got emotional before his last day on the job.

“Over the past two years I have met people from across the region who were in the most desperate of circumstances. As part of the team, I have been invited into people’s homes to share moments of extreme emotion, from relief that we have given someone a fighting chance, to profound grief,” he wrote in a letter for the Eastern Daily Press.

Prince William Helicopter - LEAD
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“I have watched as incredibly skilled doctors and paramedics have saved people’s lives. These experiences have instilled in me a profound respect for the men and women who serve in our emergency services, which I hope to continue to champion even as I leave the profession. I am hugely grateful for having had this experience.”

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Credit: Heathcliff O'Malley - WPA Pool/Getty

The royal, who champions mental health charities, also discussed the importance of open discussion. “I have also been very fortunate to work with an organization which recognizes the stress its staff deals with and puts their welfare as such a high priority. You need to be physically and mentally fit to do this job properly and so we are encouraged to talk through the things we have seen, to share the trauma within the team,” he wrote.

Prince William Helicopter - 1
Credit: Heathcliff O'Malley - WPA Pool/Getty

Prince William’s last shift on the job wasn’t without incident: The air ambulance pilot flew a critically-injured woman to the hospital during his last day on the job, The Telegraph reports.

The prince’s retirement from his day job can only mean that we’ll be seeing more and more of the royal out and about while performing his official duties.