THE Princess of Wales visited the Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton in Somerset today (Monday, September 18).

Princess Catherine took part in several tasks and exercises under her new role as Commodore-in-Chief of the Fleet Air Arm, as appointed by King Charles III.

At one point, the Princess erupted in laughter as she was being shown around Royal Naval Air Station.

During a visit to a hangar to meet the rescue and survival equipment team, she tried on a life jacket and was surprised at how quickly it inflated.

Princess Kate grimaced in anticipation whilst pulling the cord to inflate the jacket, which was followed with laughter from herself and spectators as it suddenly inflated.Somerset County Gazette: The moment the Princess of Wales pulled the cord to inflate the military life jacket.The moment the Princess of Wales pulled the cord to inflate the military life jacket. (Image: Ben Birchall/PA Wire)

Louise Evans-Hughes, a leading survival equipment technician, said she knew exactly what was going to happen the moment the life jacket inflated.

 “I told the Princess there might be a bit of a bang because sometimes when the Velcro rips open there is a bit of a noise," she said.

“I think that was why she was a bit apprehensive to pull it - as soon as she pulled it, it inflated.

“I gave the Princess the option whether she wanted to put it on or whether one of my colleagues would put it on.

“I didn’t know if she would or not, but it was really nice that she got hands-on and got really engaged in what we do and making the kit work.”

Describing the Princess’s reaction to the life jacket inflating, she said: “I see it a lot when we train the air crew pilots so it’s something that I see all the time so I knew what was going to happen and it was quite nice to watch her face.

“I think afterwards she said it was quite snug and didn’t realise how big it was going to go and I quickly let some air out so she wouldn’t be uncomfortable.”

The 32-year-old servicewoman, who is originally from Bath, said Kate is the first member of the royal family she has met.

“The Princess was really engaged, really excited and asking loads of questions, which is quite nice,” she said.

She said she did not have any nerves until seconds before she was introduced to Kate.

“It sort of just hit me. I was thinking about saying ‘Good morning, Ma’am’ but she was just so engaging and lovely, as soon as she started talking to me I was really put at ease.”

The Princess also visited the air traffic control tower, spoke with personnel at Yeovilton, and even flew a Wildcat helicopter on a simulator.

Her visit to Somerset lasted three hours before returning home in the Royal helicopter.