Kate Middleton takes part in a game of goalball blindfolded with delighted students as part of Mental Health Day celebrations.
The royal couple was up against it — physically and mentally — as they took part in a mental fitness workshop organized by the charity SportsAid on Thursday. The visit is part of a series of outings the Prince and Princess of Wales have conducted this week to mark World Mental Health Day.
Joined by SportsAid ambassadors — including gold medal-winning Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds and Commonwealth champion netball player Ama Agbeze — the couple visited Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, to take part in two practice sessions with young athletes focused on building mental resilience.
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The first challenge saw the royal couple try to score points in a netball hoop under various external pressures, such as performing around the clock or with some crowd noise. Princess Kate raised her arms in victory after making a shot on her second attempt.
Then the couple participated in a game of goalball, a Paralympic sport for the visually impaired where all the players wear eyeshades or Blindfolded. Tactile lines are used for players to feel where they are and the ball has an internal bell allowing the players to hear where it is.
Sharing a video on social media, Sportsaid explained, “Their Royal Highnesses have been blindfolded, to replicate the visually impaired conditions of goalball, as they attempt to score past the goalball athletes. The sport has to be played in silence to hear the ball which has a bell inside it….The Princess excelled!”
Goalball U.K. even responded to the post: “Brilliant!”
The couple arrived at around 11 a.m. local time. Kate, who removed her blue blazer to compete, had bandages on the first two fingers of her right hand once again — most likely a precaution with the games ahead in mind. She injured her hand recently while playing on the trampoline with her children, Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5.
SportsAid was established in 1976 and over almost 50 years, the charity has helped young British sportsmen and women aspiring to be the next Olympic, Paralympic, Commonwealth and world champions. The Princess of Wales has been a patron of the charity since 2013.
“Today’s visit from The Prince and Princess of Wales is helping to raise awareness and understanding of the vital importance of supporting young people and their families to manage their mental wellbeing, recognising how they can help themselves, as well as each other, to build the skills for happy and healthy experiences in sport and life,” Sportsaid said on X (formerly Twitter).
In 2022, the couple visited SportsAid’s Team England Futures program at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and were joined by Princess Charlotte, who revealed that her favorite sport at the time was gymnastics.
The visit follows an Athlete Mental Health Survey conducted by SportsAid in association with BelievePerform, a specialist culture change consultancy. The survey found that 42% of young athletes say they “occasionally” feel anxious in their day-to-day life with 20% saying they “often” or “always” feel anxious and 40% of all athletes have “little,” “none” or are “not sure” of how much access they have to mental health services or support.