By Natalie Oliveri|
The Duchess of Cambridge has jumped straight into her role as patron of the Rugby Football Union by taking part in a training session on the pitch and even scoring a try.
Kate's visit to Twickenham Stadium came just hours after it was announced she had taken over two of Prince Harry's former, and beloved, patronages.
The duchess is now patron of the Rugby Football League (RFL) and the Rugby Football Union (RFU).
READ MORE: Queen gives Duchess of Cambridge rugby patronages held by Prince Harry
These new patronages, which have been given to the duchess by Queen Elizabeth, closely align with Kate's longstanding passion for sport and the lifelong benefits it can provide.
During her visit to the stadium on Wednesday Kate met England players, coaches and referees and even impressed star Maro Itoje who said of the duchess: "She's very good for someone who doesn't regularly play rugby. Her skills are very high."
While there Kate revealed her children Prince George plays both rugby and netball at school, while Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis enjoy the game in the garden at home.
"Louis is kamikaze – we're worrying about when he gets older, he'll be in the middle of everything," the duchess said.
She was then presented with junior England kits for George, Charlotte and Louis and referee whistles.
READ MORE: Kate emerges as Britain's most reliable royal during a turbulent year
Kate's aim is to get both boys and girls interested in ruby, adding she was "very proud" to take on the new patronages.
"Now that there is a move towards co-ed sport, so it's not just girls playing netball but other sports like rugby, which is great," she said.
She spoke to some of the players preparing for the Women's World Cup, to take place in New Zealand later this year.
Kate was dressed for the part, wearing a black official England tracksuit and trainers, later adding a pair of boots when she took to the pitch.
Her visit comes days before the first Six Nations game against Scotland on Saturday.
Kate's new appointments are set to intensify the friendly competition in the Cambridge household as Prince William is patron of the Welsh Rugby Union.
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She was asked about that rivalry and admitted: "We're terribly competitive. The fact we're now supporting two different teams is going to make things interesting."
Kate – who has long been a rugby fan and grew up watching games with her family – took part in training exercises on the pitch with both the men's and women's teams.
She scored a try and kicked a ball through the goal posts, joking later she had "a lot to learn".
Speaking of her visit afterwards Itoje said: "She's a massive fan of the game, she comes to the games, to have her as our patron is fantastic.
"And for the female players especially, for her to further shine the light on the women's game is fantastic."
Kate has long championed the benefits of sport and outdoor activities for physical and mental health and has been a keen tennis and hockey player and sailor from a young age.
Already, she is royal patron of the All England Lawn and Tennis Croquet Club, the Lawn Tennis Association, SportsAid and the 1851 Trust, which aims to inspire and educate young people through sport.
Her new RFU and RFL roles were held by Prince Harry for five years, but in February 2021 the Queen stripped the Duke and Duchess of Sussex of their royal patronages.
That move followed a statement from Buckingham Palace confirming Prince Harry and wife Meghan would not return to the UK as working royals.
Harry, a keen rugby player and fan, was vice-patron of the RFU from 2010 until 2016, when he took over as patron from Her Majesty, who held the role for 64 years.
He took over from the Queen as patron of the RFL in 2016.
One of Harry's final engagements as a senior working royal was hosting the rugby league World Cup draws at Buckingham Palace in January 2020, shortly after announcing he and Meghan were stepping down from public duties.
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