The Duchess of Cambridge is a keen sportswoman and believes that sport has the power to engage, educate and inspire and change lives for the better. The Duchess of Cambridge's passion for sport stems from Her Royal Highness's own experience and enjoyment of playing sport from a young age, in particular tennis, hockey and sailing.
The view that sport can change lives for the better is one Her Royal Highness shares with her husband, The Duke of Cambridge and her brother-in-law Prince Harry, Her Royal Highness. Together they launched the Coach Core programme through their Royal Foundation.
Coach Core engages with young people, encouraging them to take up sport coaching as a profession and to become role models within their own communities. After visiting these programmes in Glasgow and London and meeting the young people taking part, The Duchess has seen first-hand how sport really can be a catalyst for positive change.
The Duchess of Cambridge has continued this work by showing her support for those organisations engaging young people through sport. In particular, she is Royal Patron of two sport-related institutions: The 1851 Trust and SportsAid.
The 1851 Trust
Her Royal Highness is the Royal Patron of The 1851 Trust, supported by Ben Ainslie Racing. The 1851 Trust aims to inspire and engage a new generation through sailing and the marine industry, providing young people with the education, skills and training to become innovators of the future, and stewards of the marine environment.
The trust has been launched in tandem with the four-time Olympic Gold Medalist Sir Ben Ainslie's bid to enter a team in the America's Cup in 2017 to bring the trophy back to Britain for the first time since 1851.
The Duchess of Cambridge is a talented sailor herself, having crewed on a round the world yacht during her gap year. Her Royal Highness demonstrated her sailing skills during the Royal Tour of New Zealand in 2014, when racing against her husband, The Duke of Cambridge, on America's Cup Yachts in Auckland Harbour with Team NZ.
The Duchess of Cambridge said of the patronage: "I am delighted to be Royal Patron of The 1851 Trust. I feel very fortunate to have enjoyed sailing from a young age and I know it is a great way of providing young people with the opportunity to develop skills and confidence. It is a hugely exciting time for sailing as the British challenger bids to bring the America's Cup back to Britain. I am looking forward to being part of this journey and I hope that through the 1851 Trust we can engage and inspire a new generation into sailing along the way."
Her Royal Highness has also been Patron of SportsAid since 2013, an organisation which helps athletes to achieve their ambitions by giving them mentoring and practical support in the form ofcash awards to help them meet essential costs such as travel, training, accommodation, competition fees and equipment awards during the critical early years of their careers.
These athletes are typically aged 12-18 years old and include some of Britain’s brightest hopes for future Olympic and Paralympic success. Former recipients of SportAid’s support, include Sir Chris Hoy, Dame Sarah Storey, Sir Bradley Wiggins, David Weir CBE, Rebecca Adlington OBE, Ellie Simmonds OBE, Jessica Ennis CBE, Tom Daley and Mo Farah CBE.
SportsAid alumnus Sir Chris Hoy said of the Patronage: “SportsAid played an important role when I was starting out so I know what a huge boost this will be to the young sportsmen and women thecharity helps today. As Patron Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge will give them the profile they deserve.”
In October 2013, The Duchess of Cambridge joined more than 70 SportsAid athletes past and present at the Copper Box Arena in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for her first engagement as the charity’s patron. The workshop was an opportunity for the Duchess to find out more about the challenges that young athletes face and how SportsAid helps them to overcome them.
In addition to attending a number of SportsAid events and engagements, The Duchess of Cambridge has used her attendance at a number of high profile sporting events to shine a spotlight on the Sports Aid's promising young athletes.
During her visit to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in August 2014, Her Royal Highness met some of the rising stars of British sport at a reception hosted by SporstAid at SSE’s Home Nation House in Glasgow and visited a mentoring session led by tennis star Laura Robson.
Laura Robson said after the event: “It is a massive help to have someone so high profile be part of such a great organisation. It’s great that she is involved and I look forward to doing more events like this in future.”
Royal Tradition of Supporting British Sports
Her Royal Highness has also championed the very best of British sporting talent and often represents the Royal Family at major national sporting events to galvanize support.
The Duchess of Cambridge acted as a Team GB Ambassador during the London 2012 Olympic Games with The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry. This role recognised their unique international profile and the work they have done to promote sports for young people and to support promising athletes.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry were also among the senior member of The Royal Family to support The XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, where they watched the athletics and other sports and met competitors from across the Commonwealth. Their Royal Highnesses also joined The Queen and Members of the Royal Family as they congratulated members of Team GB following their record-breaking achievements at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Their Royal Highnesses joined forces again in 2014 to support The Tour de France Grand Depart in Yorkshire, where they met British cycling stars including Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome on the start line as they officially opened the race at Harewood House. The Duchess went on to present the iconic Yellow Jersey to the Stage One winner at the finish line in York.
The Duchess is a keen tennis fan and has regularly attended the Wimbledon Championships, including the men's final in 2014.
Together with her husband, The Duchess of Cambridge was elected an honorary life member of the Marylebone Cricket Club, whose Patron is The Queen. The Marylebone Cricket Club, (also known as Lords) which is celebrating its bi-centenary this year, has enjoyed an excellent relationship with the Royal Family over the years.
The Prince of Wales is Honorary Life Members of the Club, while The Duke of Edinburgh is an Honorary Life Vice-President.