Infamous lover of sports Princess Kate hit the rugby pitch Wednesday morning as part of her ongoing mission to stress the importance of early childhood development—while getting some quality time in with one of her royal patronages.
She visited the Maidenhead Rugby Club to participate in training exercises with the team and talk with the rugby players for her Shaping Us initiative. She spoke with players about their childhoods, and the importance of teamwork and supportive environments for kids. She also spoke with the players about fatherhood, and their roles in children’s formative years.
“There are parents up and down the country who haven’t had positive childhoods of their own and who are struggling with their own kids,” the princess said, according to the Daily Mail. “As well as highlighting the importance of the issue, making sure that families have as much support as possible to do the best possible job they want to do is important. Every parent wants to do the best job they possibly can, but they don’t have the lifelines of their own family or community places such as this.”
Speaking of parenting, Kate is apparently working to instill her killer sporting instinct in her own children, especially Princess Charlotte, according to Nigel Gillingham, president of the Rugby Football Union.
“She regularly plays rugby in the back garden with the children—she plays all sports with them,” he said. “Apparently Charlotte is very much in her mold—very competitive as well.”
Kate wore joggers from British athleisure brand Sweaty Betty and white sneakers from Lululemon along with a blue top with a red rose, the insignia of the English national rugby team. She took the ball as patron of the program from Prince Harry after he and wife Meghan Markle stepped back from their roles as senior working royals and their royal patronages were redistributed.
The princess was also hailed as a positive role model for younger women in sports, and was gifted a pair of earrings that had been made in memory of a 17-year-old rugby player, Isobelle Phipps, who died by suicide in April. The earrings, which Kate promised to wear, are being sold with some profits benefitting mental health charity Brave Minds. Phipps’ mother, Sarah Renton, said that Kate gave her a hug and was “really empathetic.”
By visibly participating in athletic activities, including Wednesday’s game of “walking rugby” with the men’s team, club coach Zoe Cox said Kate is opening doors for other athletes.
“Kate being female and coming in and playing sport and being so involved with the Rugby Football Union that she is. It’s massive for young girls to see that,” Cox said. “It’s something that’s been missing until Kate got into that position. When I was in youth rugby that’s someone you needed to look up to. The girls that are coming through now are so lucky to have that.”
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