- Lt Will Key, 27, was presented with the Sword of Honour by the Princess Royal
An Army officer who was honoured by Princess Anne after being named the top student at the world-famous Sandhurst military academy is being court-martialed after being accused of sexual assault.
Lt Will Key, 27, was presented with the Sword of Honour by the Princess Royal when he passed out of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 2021.
The award is given to the officer considered to be the best of their intake by the academy commandant.
But the Parachute Regiment high flyer is now, if convicted, facing a potential jail sentence after being accused of sexually assaulting a senior British female civil servant, who was working for the Ministry of Defence.
Pictured, Lt Will Key, 27, being presented with the Sword of Honour by Princess Anne
The incident is alleged to have taken place inside the officers’ mess at the British Army Garrison in Brunei, Southeast Asia, where Lt Key was taking part in an Army exercise.
Lt Key, a farmer’s son from Norfolk, was charged under section 3 of the Sexual Offences Act in July, less than two years after graduating from Sandhurst.
After his passing out ceremony, the officer went on to have lunch with Princess Anne, where they chatted about sheep and the Norfolk cattle market.
At the time, he said working on his family farm in his younger days was one of the prime reasons why he excelled at Sandhurst.
He said: ‘It instilled in me… you have to get your hands dirty and never leave things unfinished.’
After passing out of the academy Lt Key went on to complete the punishing P company course as well as completing 10 parachute jumps to gain the world-famous maroon beret.
Princess Anne represents Her Majesty The Queen as the Reviewing Officer at The Sovereign’s Parade
He said: ‘The history of the regiment inspires me and I am inspired by what they continue to do today, such as in Kabul.’
His father Pat Key, 57, who farms at Reedham, Norfolk, added at the time: ‘I still have to pinch myself that William was given the sword of honour and chatted to Princess Anne at lunch.’
Lt Key has pleaded not guilty to the offence and his trial will begin in January.
An Army spokesperson said: ‘We can confirm that a soldier is to face trial at Bulford Military Court Centre on 31st January 2024, charged with a sexual offence.
‘As the matter is the subject of an ongoing legal proceeding it would be inappropriate to comment further.’