Skip to Content

The Princess of Wales Hosts Rugby Reception at Hampton Court Palace

The Princess of Wales Hosts Rugby Reception at Hampton Court Palace

The Princess of Wales hosted a reception this afternoon for England’s World Champion Wheelchair Rugby Team.

The reception was at Hampton Court Palace

In this photo, you see the Princess with Simon Johnson, chair of the Rugby Football League. Many readers will recall the Princess is the league’s patron, a position she has held since February 2022. 

Below, the Princess as she greeted team members today.

We learn more about the team’s success in this People story

The festive event was held in honor of the team’s win at the Rugby League World Cup Final in November 2022, where they defeated France 28-24 to become world champions. The victory was especially sweet for Team England, as their first World Cup win since the first Wheelchair tournament was held in 2008.

And additional perspective comes via this Sky Sports piece

Victory for the host nation over their old rivals and reigning champions France in a tightly fought final brought a fitting end to the World Cup, which has succeeded in elevating wheelchair rugby league to previously unheard-of heights.

As well as delivering a long-awaited second triumph for England, the tournament introduced a new audience to the sport, saw the USA make their debut, and has led to semi-finalists Wales being set to embark on a ground-breaking tour of Brazil in February.

A video from today’s event.

Below, the Princess shakes hands with James Simpson. 

We learn more about Mr. Simpson’s conversation with the Princess in this Town and Country article by Victoria Murphy. 

“It’s been incredible, it’s been amazing,” he told Town & Country. “I’ve been playing this game for 10 years and we started off six teams in the shadows in sports halls, nobody really knew about us. The world cup we had last year, we had 1.5 million watching the final, 4,500 there watching. And to know that we had members of the royal family watching the game, to know that they took an interest in watching us play, it kind of gives you that feeling where you’re on this new level that we’ve never been on before where the country is watching at every level, watching us perform and backing us as an international side. It makes you feel brilliant that all the work you have put in since day one has paid off.”

The Belfast Telegraph has more about today’s reception.

Kate said she, William and their three children had watched the final on television, in which England narrowly defeated France 28-24. 

Asked whether her children were interested in rugby, she said: “We’re always slightly competitive with each other. They all love sport and Louis is mad about rugby. They are at an age where they just love running around.”

The princess added: “I do it all: whenever I can squeeze in exercise, I do, even jumping on the trampoline with the children before school.”

The Princess with Josie Hill (left), James Simpson, and coach Tom Coyd (right) with the Rugby League Wheelchair World Cup trophy.

We return to The Belfast Telegraph piece

Head coach Tom Coyd said Kate told him that Louis in particular was a fan of the sport.

He told the PA news agency: “She said Louis is doing tag rugby at school. She was saying that it is quite basic at the minute, that he is just getting to grips with the passing and the running around.

Coyd added: “She said it would be great for us to go and do an engagement session at the school where her children attend.”

Rebecca English of The Daily Mail reports, “The Princess is keen to show her support and shine a light on the increased interest in the sport.”

And from the Town and Country story

Player Sebastien Bechara described how the win has given them a “massive platform” to help grow the sport and be part of events such as today’s. “It’s just amazing,” he said.

“It’s great to see how she knew what she was talking about,” he said of Kate. “She had watched the game with her kids. She was really happy and involved with it and she was really keen on trying it one day with her children. It just filled me with joy to see how she was really interested in it.”

A formal photo to commemorate the day. 

Now for our look at what Kate wore.

She was in the Roland Mouret separates first seen during the December visit to Boston

Beneath the blazer, the Princess wore an ivory knit top or sweater that is not yet identified. I will take a look for it this afternoon but would be surprised if it is identifiable from the available photos. UPDATE: With thanks to Antonelle for her comment, this looks like the UFO sweater worn in December 2020 on day two of the royal train trip. 

Today’s pumps look like the Gianvito Rossi 105 in Bordeaux suede. 

The Princess wore a new (to us) Daniella Draper necklace, the Gold Citrine Baby Treasure Necklace ($1050).

The necklace is made of 100% recycled solid 9-carat yellow gold, set with a citrine stone. Thank you to Data Duchess for her speedy ID of the stone used in the piece. 

The Princess also wore her Mini Cupid Hoop Earrings ($255) by Daniella Draper.



Learn more about James Simpson in this video.

  Sky News offers about one minute of video.

See highlights from the championship match against France in this video.  


Pin It

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Wednesday 25th of January 2023

I like the magenta color of the jacket and pants, but without the pretty pink blouse with bow, this outfit has very little that I am interested in. Magenta is a lovely color for the princess and I just wish she'd wear more color (and/or more unique accessories too). The expression, "playing it safe" keeps popping into my head lately, when it comes to what Princess Kate wears.


Wednesday 25th of January 2023

This is a very “serviceable” and elegant outfit for professional engagements. Was this a reception or just a receiving of visitors? To me “reception” sounds dressier, like cocktail attire but perhaps in this case it just means Kate was receiving the team and hosting them at Kensington Palace. An afternoon reception also seems less dressy than an evening reception. Anyway, Kate and her team would know better than me the exact requirements for dressing for each event.

This suit looks lovely, again. Elegant and professional. The sweater instead of the pussy bow blouse seems to dress it down a little and her hair also looks a little more casual. That’s not a criticism. This rewear is less sharp, more cozy and approachable. Maybe it would be fun to see a sleek ponytail next time? I love the Daniella Draper earrings and enjoy seeing them anytime she wears them.


Friday 20th of January 2023

She looks wonderful. And she has discovered what many of us have and an earlier commenter spoke to. We are all busy but want to look good. Sometimes a suit which does half the work for you (just have to choose the shirt/blouse to go with and shoes) makes an easy choice on those days we want to look nice but don't have the energy for more. Even Catherine must have those days! Or by wearing these suits I imagine she does.


Friday 20th of January 2023

This Mouret pant suit continues to look fabulous on Catherine, the skill of the designer is demonstrated in how well it hangs, and how good the wide leg looks, keeping the extra fabric in check with a clever cut. It interests me how creating a tight fit at the hips helps keep the trousers looking sleek.

It's also fun to see Catherine demonstrate the outfit's flexibility by switching from the more formal bow blouse worn previously, to the potentially more sporty classic crew neck layer top for today's rugby engagement. The achievements of the British wheelchair team are fantastic and make me sorry I failed to catch up with them at the time.

The new Daniella Draper pendant is simple and attractive, the plain jumper needs to have its surface broken up a little. The Mini Cupid earrings are fun and modern. The height of those Rossi heels continues to strike awe into me, but the pointed toes look very swish peeking out from under those full pant hems.


Friday 20th of January 2023

It's amazing what a change in shirt can do for an outfit – I actually didn't even click that this was the Roland Mouret suit because it looked so much more purple than burgundy with the cream-coloured top underneath. It's a nice, simple look, appropriate for the occasion. I enjoyed the anecdotes that came out of this engagement; how fun to learn that Louis is already playing rugby. Must help to have a former rugby player in the family! I think it's also great that in her role of patron of these sports organisations, Kate makes sure to highlight not just the men's and women's teams, but also the lesser known teams and tournaments. I remember she did something similar after the 2021 US Open, highlighting the wheelchair players successes alongside the much more talked-of Emma Raducanu.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.