Prince William begins paternity leave ahead of royal baby's birth

Prince William is officially on paternity leave as he and wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, await the birth of their second child.

The Duke of Cambridge completed the first phase of his air ambulance pilot training early, according to reports, and is now on unpaid leave with his paternity leave beginning as soon as the baby is born.

"The Duke of Cambridge has completed the first phase of his in-work air ambulance helicopter pilot training with Bond Air Services earlier than anticipated," a Kensington Palace spokesperson said, according to Us Weekly. "This is due to a combination of the Duke performing well in the various modules and having very good flying conditions that allowed flight training and assessment to progress more quickly than had been planned."

This means William, 32, can be by his wife's side as they prepare for the new royal baby's arrival. Had Kate, 33, gone into labor while he was away at work, he would have faced a two-hour drive from Norfolk to London.

William will continue with his helicopter training beginning June 1, following a period of official royal engagements on his schedule in late May, reports said.

And, in another bit of fortunate timing, Prince Harry will also be back in the U.K. this weekend. Harry, who is currently stationed in Australia, will make a brief trip home to meet volunteers and hand out winners' medals at Sunday's London Marathon, the palace said -- which means he could get to meet his new niece or nephew before he returns Down Under.