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A Rugby Training Session to Mark Two New Patronages for the Duchess

Two new patronages for the Duchess of Cambridge were announced today.  She is now royal patron of the England Rugby Union and the Rugby Football League. To mark the occasion, she joined a training session at Twickenham Stadium.  

Above you see her with players Courtney Lawes (l) and Sarah Hunter (r).  More from Hello’s story:

Kate, wearing a black England rugby top, black sports leggings and trainers, was asked whether she was ready for her session as she was greeted at Twickenham.

The Duchess replied: “Absolutely. I’ve got my kit on.”

She switched into a pair of rugby boots as she headed onto the pitch.

Coinciding with the announcement, the release of a short video showing the Duchess with three England Rugby League players and three players from the Rugby Football Union.

Another photo from today’s session.

In a statement on social media, the Duchess said:

“I am so thrilled to become Patron of the Rugby Football League and Rugby Football Union – two fantastic organisations who 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! C.”

We return to the Hello story: 

During her visit, the Duchess met members of the men’s and women’s squads and their coaching teams as they prepare for the Six Nations Championships.

Kate heard about their hopes for the upcoming year, including for the Women’s World Cup, which will take place in New Zealand in the autumn, and how the pandemic has impacted the sport over the past two years.

England will host the Rugby League World Cup this October and November after it was postponed in 2021 because of the pandemic.  The Six Nations Championship, with teams from England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales, gets underway much sooner, with matches starting this Saturday. 

Some readers will recall that Prince William is the Welsh Rugby Union’s patron. There is sure to be a little rivalry when England and Wales play each other. 

In a statement, Rugby Football Union CEO Bill Sweeney said, “As rugby clubs have re-opened across the country, players, officials and volunteers are celebrating being back in the game together, and we know the support of The Duchess will be greatly valued from our grassroots clubs and fast-growing women and girls’ game, right up to our elite men’s and women’s England teams.”Ralph Rimmer, CEO of the Rugby Football League CEO, said, “…we look forward to working with The Duchess in the years to come, and I know all levels of our sport will welcome her to the Rugby League family’.

If wondering about the difference between the Union and the League, you’re not alone. Here is more from People‘ s story.

Established in 1895, the Rugby Football League is the national governing body for Rugby League in the U.K., – covering all forms of grassroots and the professional game, including women’s and wheelchair rugby. The RFL is committed to managing, developing and promoting Rugby League, alongside delivering entertainment to its fans and improving the lives of local communities.

The Rugby Football Union is the national governing body for grassroots and elite rugby union in England and with 1,900 member clubs is one of the largest sports organizations in the country. Founded in 1871, it promotes and runs the sport, educates and trains players and officials, and runs the England men’s and women’s elite performance teams. The RFU’s goal is to strengthen and unite rugby union in England and produce consistently successful England teams.

Today the Duchess took part in a “line-out play, where a player can be hoisted in the air by their teammates to receive a ball after it goes out of the field of play, per People’s article.

Over the years we have seen the Cambridges at many rugby-related events. They attended a 2012 match in Cardiff between Wales and New Zealand. 


When touring New Zealand in 2014 the Duke and Duchess each ‘coached’ a children’s contact-free rugby team during a match. 

Below, at the 2015 Rugby World Cup opening ceremony.

And at a match between England and Wales during the 2015 World Cup. 

When visiting Paris in 2017, the couple took part in a training session with children.  

Later that day attending a match between England and France.

We saw the Duke and Duchess take part in exercises at a Derry Rugby Club in Northern Ireland last September

After today’s training session, the Duchess shared another social media post.

 Now for our look at what Kate wore today. During the training session, she was in the England Rugby kit with its distinctive rose emblem. Below, a top that looks like what the Duchess wore, the Women’s Half-Zip ($88).

In the video that was released, the Duchess wore a Sweaty Betty top, the brand’s Hooded Long Sleeve Top ($78) in oxford blue. 

Made of a nylon/elastane blend, the high-stretch piece is lightweight with breathable panels. Thank you to Sophia for this ID. Her Nike trackpants are a style that is sold out, the Swift, per Middleton Maven.

Today’s theme meshes perfectly with my most recent in-depth post, The Duchess at 40: Sporty and Casual Styles


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Sunday 6th of February 2022

I'm very excited to see Kate be the recipient of these patronages, two of the ones that became vacant after Harry and Meghan stepped back as senior royals. I imagine that means The National Theatre patronage will go to someone else, though it shows just how diverse Kate's interests are that she can be both patron of rugby organisations and arts organisations like the V&A. The fact that William is patron of Welsh Rugby will surely make for a fun rivalry, and I can't wait for tales and photos from the England-Wales Six Nations match later this month!

Kate as usual looks chic in her sporty clothes. The Sweaty Betty top in particular seems very pratical and I may have to get my hands on it for some winter running. The pictures from today are just brilliant. Imagine being one of the players to lift a future queen into the air!


Thursday 3rd of February 2022

Looks like they gave her a bespoke top without the O2 sponsor logo which makes political sense.


Thursday 3rd of February 2022

Looking at old pictures of kate from 2015 i think she would really suit a fringe again.


Thursday 3rd of February 2022

Funny! I have the exact opposite thought when I see the bangs.


Thursday 3rd of February 2022

As a former athlete I have always LOVED how sporty Catherine is and how she isn't afraid to dig in at events whether she's dressed in sneaks or heels. I also love that she can still look relatively fashionable while playing rugby! I know she'll be completely in her element representing these organizations and can't wait to see how she promotes them in the future. Kudos! Also - I am always impressed at how she has mastered the chic ponytail.


Thursday 3rd of February 2022

There are some fantastic photos here. I’m sure Kate will do a great job to promote these organisations and having a women as patron is a smart choice given that all grassroots sportsare now working to involve girls as much as boys. I hope she gets a role promoting English Cricket too ?

She looks great, very natural, having fun and whilst I agree with others that there’s not a lot to say about her clothes, there is a message out there that sports clothes for girls are now very stylish and look good. I’m sure good sports kit encourages people to take part.

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