The Duchess made a visit to Twickenham Stadium where she met with the players of the men’s and women’s squads as they prepare for the Six Nations Championships. Kate Middleton is now officially the new royal patron of the Rugby Football Union and the Rugby Football League.
This role was given to her by the Queen, as the previous patron was her brother-in-law Prince Harry. But with his exit from the royal family, the monarch has been busy redistributing all his previous roles and patronages to other royal family members. This patronage is the first to be publicly announced after week-long speculation about who will get what. And there are certainly more to follow in the next couple of weeks.
On Wednesday, Kate visited Twickenham Stadium. She met with England players from both the men’s and women’s teams, who are preparing for the Six Nations Championships, as well as meeting with the coaches and referees. Being the active person that she is, the Duchess even joined in on a training session taking place on the pitch run by head England coach Eddie Jones.
Earlier in the day, her office at Kensington Palace released a new social media clip to mark her first day on the job. The Duchess said the two “fantastic” organizations “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!”, simply signing off with a “C.”
Kate has always been an athletic and sporty person, as she herself is a patron of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, a sport she herself is quite good at, as well as the occasionally yacht racing with her husband Prince William. This isn’t the first time she has showcased her rugby skills, as she tossed a ball around with young players-in a dress and heels nonetheless-back in 2017 during a visit to Paris.
This new role for the Duchess might mean some interesting friendly competitions with her husband Prince William in the future, as he is a patron of the Welsh Rugby Union, so there is a possibility of a rivalry growing between the couple and their respective organizations.
Back in 2014 Kate’s younger sister, Pippa Middleton, revealed to Vanity Fair that rugby was a family-wide event growing up.
“Picture the scene. It’s Saturday afternoon in the Middleton household. The atmosphere is heavy with expectation,” Pippa wrote. “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”.
England Rugby was among the organizations that thanked Prince Harry for all his support throughout the years in February 2021, after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were confirmed to not be returning to their royal roles.
All the charitable positions, patronages, and support roles that Prince Harry and Meghan had, have been returned to the Queen. Prince Andrew’s military affiliations and royal patronages have also been returned following the numerous sexual assault allegations against him. It is up to the Queen to decide how all these roles will be redistributed amongst the other members of the royal family.
Established back in 1895, the Rugby Football League is the national governing body for Rugby League in the U.K.-covering all forms of grassroots and professional game, such as women’s and wheelchair rugby. The RFL has the mission of managing, developing and promoting the Rugby League, as well as 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 unions in England, having over 1,900 member clubs, making it one of the largest sports organizations in the country.
Founded in 1871, it promotes and runs the sport, educates and trains players and officials, as well as running England men’s and women’s elite performance teams. The goal of the RFU is to strengthen and unite rugby unions in England and produce consistently successful England teams.