The Princess of Wales Wears Athletic Kit for Rugby Engagement

The Princess of Wales chose athletic wear for today’s engagement at the Maidenhead Rugby Club.

A quick video from Rebecca English as the Princess was welcomed to the club.

Below, the Princess speaks with Ugo Monye, a former player, and father of two who is also a Shaping Us champion.

She was at the club as part of the Shaping Us campaign and in her role as the Rugby Football Union’s royal patron. The Princess took part in some drills and a game.

The Maidenhead Rugby Club is described as “a vibrant, inclusive sports club with over 800 members which has served the local community for over 90 years. “

More on today’s rugby play via this piece in the Royal Borough Advisor,

One player told her “you did well”, while Fergal Scully, 22, who plays for Maidenhead Rugby Club said: “She’s better than a lot of players – she should sign up.”

“She was really nice and down to earth. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all.”

“She dived in head first. She was one of the team, she mucked in like everyone else. She was lovely,” added Stephen Bough.

Here is a video from the workout.

In this next photo, you see the Princess and Courtney Lawes, a professional player.

And in this image, you see the club’s chairman, Stephen Bough, on the left.

Another view from the workout.

Coinciding with today’s engagement, the release of new data from the Princess’s Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood.

We learn more from Simon Perry’s People story.

Her visit came as her Early Years Foundation found that men are less likely than women to realize the importance of the first years of a child’s life. In the first perceptions survey since she launched Shaping Us, researchers found there is still much more effort needed to raise awareness.

While last year only 17% of the U.K. population identified the period between pregnancy and the age of five as the most important period for shaping a child’s future, this year’s survey found that this figure has risen to 19%.

But men are still significantly less knowledgeable than women of the extraordinary impact of the first five years of a child’s life. While 24% of women recognized the time as the most important period (up 4% from 2022), only 14% of men did so, the survey on behalf of Kate’s Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood found.

More on the day’s activities from Victoria Murphy’s Town and Country story.

The Princess also met some of the club’s female players, who talked about the importance of having a woman at the helm of the sport. “I think it’s massively important with Kate being female and coming in and playing sport and being so involved with the Rugby Football Union. It’s massive for young girls to see that,” said Zoe Cox, a player and coach. “And it’s something that’s been missing until Kate got into that position…The girls that are coming through now are so lucky to have that.”

Club volunteer co-ordinator Kate Swinn described Kate as “very personable,” adding that she was “real.” “I know that there’s an image and who she is, but she genuinely seems to listen and genuinely seems to be trying to hone in on the right things.”

The Princess was given a pair of earrings by a woman named Sarah Renton (left), who coaches Maidenhead’s under-14 players.

More from The Daily Mirror’s coverage.

While visiting the club, she was introduced to Maidenhead under 14s coach Sarah Renton, whose talented sportswoman daughter, Issy, tragically took her own life at the age of 17.

On meeting the princess, mum-of-three Sarah gave her a pair of star-shaped earrings that had been made by her cousin in Issy’s memory.

Emotional Kate turned and hugged Mrs Renton fiercely and promised to wear them.

Mrs Renton explained afterwards: “The proceeds from the earrings are going to a charity called Brave Minds, a mental health charity that supports children using the platforms of rugby clubs. Mental health is such an important issue.

“The princess said she would wear the earrings. She is very passionate about what she does. It was so great that she came down here today.”

After the training, the Princess and players headed inside for a conversation.

We return to the Daily Mirror’s coverage.

Inside the club, Kate sat down with a group of players, including Lawes and Danny Care, to speak about their experiences as fathers along with Si Trower, the founder of mental health charity Brave Mind, and other club players.

“Do you feel, particularly as a first-time dad, there was information out there to help guide you?” asked the princess.

“Not at the time,” Mr Trower replied. “But neither did I go out looking for it. It’s a big life change and could be really hard at the time.”

Lawes said to laughter from Kate and the other players: “As a dad for the first six to nine months my Mrs. was breastfeeding and you feel a bit of a spare part a lot of the time.

“If you knew the first five years of their life was such an important period you would be more likely to dive right into it. Instead of thinking, well they’ll get to six or seven and start playing football and then we’ll be sweet!”

This video offers a portion of the meeting.

More from The Daily Mirror’s coverage.

Kate said: “What started my journey looking into the first five years was going into schools, talking to them about mental health. The staff were telling me that so much more needs to be done before they even step past their door.”

She continued: “So many of those years are non-verbal. Teenagers can articulate how they feel.

The conversation included a discussion about the impact that settings like local sports clubs can have in fostering a network of support around those helping raise children.

As everyone posed for group photos, the Princess gave a football a healthy kick; media reports say it sailed clear over the head of other players and attendees, and the photographers.

Now for our look at what Kate wore.

The Princess wore an England Ladies’ Jersey Training Top ($34) similar to the style shown below but without the O2 logo in the center. A somewhat-similar design is available here ($25).

With thanks to Middleton Maven and Carly at Kate Middleton Style, the joggers are by Sweaty Betty, the Air Taper 27″ Leg Run Pant (originally £85, about $105, now sold out). They are 96% nylon with 4% elastane; it is described as “sweat-wicking with 4-way stretch.” The style features an elastic waist with a tapered leg, an adjustable internal drawcord, and two zippered front pockets.

The Princess wore the Lululemon Chargefeel Low Women’s Workout Shoe ($138), with thanks to Elizabeth at Kate’s Closet for the ID. Its “midfoot frame provides support for both running and training,” and the “dual-density midsole is springy enough for running, agile enough for training,” per the product description.

We saw the return of the  Chain Huggie Hoop Earrings ($23) in 18K gold-plated brass, crafted by Orelia.

On an unrelated note, the Prince and Princess have offered to replace items stolen from a church foodbank they visited last September. Below, the couple at St. Thomas Church in Swansea, Wales.

More from this BBC story.

St Thomas Church in Swansea had food, drink, baby toys and even bikes stolen on Saturday evening.

Rev Steve Bunting said he received the unexpected call from Kensington Palace on Wednesday. “They were keen to make sure we could replace the items taken from the food bank,” he said.

“I’ve no idea how they got wind of the story, but I got a phone call early today expressing that the Prince and Princess of Wales were concerned about what happened.”

The couple’s September visit was their first with their new titles.

The BBC story notes, “…the Rev Bunting was not surprised that the prince and princess wanted to help, describing them as “a part of our team here, although a very distant part.”


The Royal Family Channel offers almost four minutes of coverage in this video.
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The Times covers the arrival and group conversation.
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