Kate Middleton celebrated her new role as rugby patron by showing off her own athletic skills.
The Duchess of Cambridge was officially named the new royal patron of the Rugby Football Union and Rugby Football League. She took over the role previously held by her brother-in-law Prince Harry, who was stripped of his royal patronages by Queen Elizabeth II after he stepped down from his royal duties.
Middleton, 40, visited Twickenham Stadium Wednesday to meet England players from the men’s and women’s squads, who are preparing for the Six Nations Championships, People reported. She also met their coaches and the referees.
Prince William’s wife showed off her athletic prowess when she joined a training session taking place on the field by head England coach Eddie Jones.
In photos published by the outlet, Middleton expertly caught the ball while she was being lifted up. The duchess was all smiles and appeared to have a blast with the athletes.
Middleton’s office at Kensington Palace marked her first day as rugby patron by sharing a clip on Instagram that showed the duchess throwing around a rugby ball.
Middleton wrote in the caption that she is “thrilled” to become the patron of the Rugby Football League and Rugby Football Union, which she described as “fantastic” organizations.
According to the duchess, the groups “are committed to harnessing the power that sport can have in bringing communities together and helping individuals flourish. I look forward to working with them across all levels of the games, and to cheering England on in what promises to be an exciting year for both sports!”
The royal is known for her athleticism. She previously showed off her rugby skills during a 2017 trip to Paris, where she tossed a ball around with young players while wearing a dress and heels.
Her younger sister, Pippa Middleton, also previously revealed that she and her family are big rugby fans.
“Picture the scene. It’s Saturday afternoon in the Middleton household. The atmosphere is heavy with expectation,” she wrote in a piece for Vanity Fair in 2014. “All eyes are on the television … we’re watching England play Ireland in the 1996 Five Nations Rugby tournament … Rugby was a big thing in our family, and the focal point was international matches … We’d plan our weekends around the matches … If we lost, my dad would be in a state of despair for the rest of the afternoon, as if he’d actually lost the game himself.”
Middleton’s new role sets up a husband vs. wife sports rivalry with her husband Prince William, who is the patron of the Welsh Rugby Union.
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