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Posted: June 23, 2014

Queen gives Prince William a helicopter for his birthday

Rob Griffith
Their Royal Highnesses Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, watch a wildlife show during a visit to Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia, Sunday, April 20, 2014. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are on a three-week tour of Australia and New Zealand, the first official trip overseas with their son, Prince George.(AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

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Their Royal Highnesses Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, watch a wildlife show during a visit to Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia, Sunday, April 20, 2014. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are on a three-week tour of Australia and New Zealand, the first official trip overseas with their son, Prince George.(AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

By Ben Lawson

LONDON —

Lots of kids hope for a car for their birthday, but if your grandmother is Queen Elizabeth II, why not aim a little higher? The British monarch gave her grandson Prince William a helicopter for his 32nd birthday.

The helicopter, dubbed "Heirforce One" by the media, will be used for royal engagements. It should allow William and his wife Kate to spend more time with their son Prince George and hopefully save the crown some money in the process. (Via Daily Mail)

The 8 million pound purchase will come out of the Sovereign Grant, a sum of money given to the queen by the government each year. The Daily Mail points out this news comes after William and Kate spent 4 million pounds of taxpayer money to renovate their new home. (Via Inquisitr)

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It also comes a year after Prince Charles and his wife Camilla had a close call while traveling by helicopter and were forced to make an emergency landing. (Via ABC)

The new chopper, which will be available to other members of the royal family as well, can hold up to seven passengers, has a range of 537 miles and can stay in the air for approximately 4 1/2 hours. (Via Daily Mirror)

It's unclear if Prince William, who was trained as a search and rescue pilot in the Royal Air Force, will be in the pilot seat or not. (Via BBC)

The helicopter should prove to be a safer mode of transport for the royal family since safety checks will only need to be carried out on one aircraft, rather than several.

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