Wednesday, 7 June 2023

The Princess in Sporting Form for Maidenhead Rugby Visit

The Princess of Wales was in sporting form for a visit to Maidenhead Rugby Club.

In February 2022, Kate became Rugby Football Union and the Rugby Football League patron. At the time, Kensington Palace said the patronages "closely align" with Kate's "longstanding passion for sport" and "the lifelong benefits it provides". Today, Kate combined her association with the sport and the cause closest to her heart -- early years. The Princess took the opportunity to speak to players about their early childhoods.

Of course, there was time to get in on the action with drills on the pitch.

Kate was joined by a mixture of amateur and professional players.

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Maidenhead RFC has been at the centre of the local community for almost a century.

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With more than 800 members, the club’s philosophy is to provide an enjoyable environment within which all members can enjoy rugby’s values, both on and off the pitch.

There was a deeply moving moment when Kate met Sarah Renton, whose daughter Issy died in April.

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More from Rebecca English:

'Mother-of-three Sarah Renton's 17-year-old daughter Issy Phipps sadly died just weeks ago after struggling with depression.

Today Mrs Renton met another mother-of-three, Kate, during her visit to the rugby club as part of her Shaping Us campaign, and gifted her a pair of earrings made by her cousin in Issy's memory.

Kate was visibly moved by her interaction with Mrs Renton, who coaches the under-14 boys at the club, and put her arm around the mother before giving her a warm hug.

Mrs Renton later said the Princess had promised to wear the jewellery at a later date in Issy's memory'.

The Issy Star earrings can be purchased for £25 here (with special thanks to a reader who shared the link, I'm out of town this week and appreciate it). £5 from each sale goes to Brave Mind. I have no doubt we'll see Kate wearing her pair soon. 

In a statement today, a Palace spokesperson said: "The Princess has dedicated her life’s work to raising awareness of the critical importance of early childhood and in January 2023, with The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, launched Shaping Us, a long-term campaign. The Shaping Us campaign aims to transform the issue of early childhood from one of scientific interest to one of the most strategically important topics of our time. The campaign also highlights that, by focusing our collective time, energy, and resources to build a supportive, nurturing world around all children and those caring for them, we can make a huge difference to the physical and mental health and happiness of generations to come."

It was noted: "Other participants in the conversation included professional rugby players alongside representatives from Maidenhead RFC and Si Trower, the founder of the mental health charity Brave Mind. Brave Mind works with rugby clubs, universities and schools to provide a national platform to help rugby clubs and schools to improve their approach to supporting mental health in their community."

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It coincides with newly released research by Kate's Royal Foundation Centre for Early Years. The 'Public Perceptions Survey' conducted by IPSOS, "tracks key data" on awareness levels surrounding early childhood.

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The survey found:

"Last year, only 17% of the UK 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% (up 2 percentage points). However, whilst 24% of women identified pregnancy to five years old as the most important period (up 4% from last year), only 14% of men did so."

Christian Guy, Director of the Centre for Early Childhood, said: "It is encouraging to see awareness levels of the critical importance of the first five years of our lives moving in the right direction - though there remains much more work to be done. It is during our early childhood that our brains develop faster than at any other life stage and our experiences, relationships and surroundings at that very young age lay the foundations that shape the rest of our lives.

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"This has got to become an issue that they whole of society embraces – that is talked about in board rooms and sports clubs across the country and not just assumed to be the domain of parent and baby groups or nursery settings. Everyone has a part to play in raising the next generation which is why conversations, such as those that took place at Maidenhead Rugby Club today, are so important."

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A video with plenty of fun moments from the engagement.

The Princess was rugby ready in an athletic look, wearing the England Women's Rugby Gym Training T-Shirt.

Kate's pants are by Sweaty Betty (with thanks to Kate Middleton Style). The navy blue air taper style are discounted to £34 at Brand Alley.

Kate wore the Lululemon Chargefeel trainers. They are available in multiple colours here.

You might remember the style created quite the stir last year. CNN reports:

'While I’ve long considered myself a sneakerhead — or, rather, a running shoe head, as a certified personal trainer and overall fitness enthusiast — it was only until Lululemon’s latest footwear release that I even considered it might be worth it to look toward sneakers designed specifically for the female foot.

Innovating for women’s bodies has been at the core of Lululemon since its inception, and the brand noted across several press materials that it was about time it extended that same technology into the footwear category. To shrink the gender shoe gap, the brand developed three sneaker styles this year, with its most recent being the just released Chargefeel shoe.'

And Kate accessorised with her Orelia London Chain Huggie Hoops.

Just as I was about to hit publish, ITV published a story reporting on the terribly sad news a church in Swansea, which William and Kate previously visited last year, had all its food and toys (part of the vital Food Bank operation) stolen over the weekend. The Prince and Princess have kindly offered to replenish their food stocks. Desperately sad news. The only bright light in the situation is seeing the outpouring of support and togetherness from the local community.

If you would like to lend your support, please click here.

38 comments:

  1. I love these events where Kate can be herself in her element. The smile on her face says it all.

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  2. Sporty Catherine! Gorgeous! Nothing fake and artificial to her!

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  3. The story behind the picture of the hug by R English

    There was an incredibly moving moment earlier when the princess was given a pair of earrings by club coach Sarah Renton made in memory of her daughter, Issy, 17, who sadly took her own life on May 29. Kate hugged her fiercely.
    I know all of us there were utterly lost in admiration for Sarah’s bravery in attending just days after the loss of her brilliant daughter. But she was keen to meet those involved in the mental health charity Brave Mind and thank the princess for her campaigning on the issue.

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    1. Well said. A truly remarkable Woman. I just saw a picture of her beautiful Daughter Issy. I pray that she has found the peace she deserves. The earrings are a lovely tribute to her memory. I'm guessing that they will sell out, which is great because they are also raising money for charity. S.๐Ÿ™‚.

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    2. I have no doubt they will sell out a note though only 20% is going to charity

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    3. Agree. Truly admirable. And so sad.

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  4. The earrings that Kate was given in memory of Issy Phipps are here: https://www.earsass.com/shop/p/issy-star-18k-gold-plated

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  5. Looks like she had a great day out. The Princess wears the rugby top very well. Head to toe perfection for the event. How kind of that poor Woman who lost her Daughter to bring a gift. The Princess is true to her word and I'm sure she will wear them. Charlotte, I also read that story about the food bank. I know things are hard for people at the moment, especially in the UK. What a horrible shameless thing to do, stealing from those who have nothing. I'm sure if they needed food and asked they would of got it. It must be very upsetting for those trying to help others and it's the third time it's happened. Toys and bikes donated for kids taking also. Then you have the stealing from a church. I'm sure that the Royal couple will be more than generous, as well as the good people out there. S.๐Ÿ™‚.

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  6. Kate is brilliant at events like this. She's a natural at all the sports stuff! Lots of girls/women stop participating in sports so she's a good role model on this. Incredibly sad about Issy.

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  7. Valerie in Arizona7 June 2023 at 20:30

    I've just ordered a pair for my granddaughter. For those who live in the U.S., wanted to tell you shipping wasn't expensive at all, total cost for the earrings (which includes the donation) was US$38.13

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    1. Thanks for letting us know Valerie, looks like a perfect gift for a granddaughter and a perfect way to show support.

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  8. Catherine looks great. Those earrings are really well designed and a great price and look to raise money for charity. Ali

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  9. From tiara to sneakers - she can do it all! What an asset she is to her country!

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  10. Looks like she had a great day out she is very sporty gal long time she enjoy the outing of course

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  11. Here is the correct link to purchase the earrings: https://www.earsass.com/shop/p/issy-star-18k-gold-plated

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  12. This is a great cause that combines rugby patronage & shaping us! Love the color of the shirt and a great active look
    All around. Thanks Charlotte! Sue from IL

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  13. Lovely star earrings, but if I might suggest: one should not wear earrings or jewelry of any kind while playing rugby. I am reminded of listening to parents while watching the women's club team play at a famous American university some years ago: "Eleven years of ballet -- for this!" "Yes, well, I thought I was done with paying for dental work after she got out of her braces, but she broke a tooth in the last game." "Mine had to get stitches when one of her earrings got ripped out of her earlobe. Why couldn't she just play volleyball?"

    Enough said.

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    1. Ouch, the picture of a ripped earlobe will haunt me tonight!
      You are absolutely right. No earrings or jewelry when doing sports.

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  14. Slightly bemused at the Royal Foundation ploughing endless time (& resources?) into researching the importance of the first five years, this has been widely known for at least 40 years now.

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    1. Apparently, only 19% think it is an important topic. That would explain why they keep promoting it.

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    2. I've been very bemused myself and for the same reason, as I've commented more than once. And as I said on the last post, I'm really finding the language of the PR releases on this subject to be over the top.

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    3. Could it be that many people think other things are more important perhaps time and resources should be pushed to their concerns of their subjects

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    4. Vittoria, I agree about the language used. But on the other hand, it is a neglected issue and because people have other priorities, Anon 11:50, it is a cause that needs a champion. Most of the people have more pressing concerns than the environment for instance, but would agree something has to be done about it. I think early years is at the root of many other issues and time and resources should absolutely be allocated . Apparently and surprisingly for me, this isn't the case yet.

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    5. People may understand it is important but it takes money to provide the resources, so you keep promoting to keep funds coming in. Breast cancer is a good example, people have known for years about early detection and treatment for breast cancer but you still need to promote it to keep funds coming in to make sure early testing and treatment are available and so that new research can be continued to improve the diagnosis and treatment and prevention. The resources for early childcare help need to be funded, just knowing about the need for it does not insure that help can be provided. Research into the best practices and which communities need extra help is an evolving ongoing fluid activity.

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    6. Natacha, it's not a neglected issue. That's my point and that of some other posters. It's been a topic of discussion and publication and the premise of many programs in many countries for long years now. It's had plenty of champions, too. Look at Maria Montessori in the early 20th century, to name just one of the most famous champions of early childhood development, care, and education. Research has been going on for many, many years, and it will continue to go on whether the Princess of Wales is involved or not. Her involvement is great, but this just isn't a new issue and shouldn't be presented as one. That's unfair to all of the people who've been working and researching in this field for a long time.

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    7. Vittoria.This is not a new issue and everything you say is true, but it is not a mainstream issue or even an important societal question. Even other posters like anon 11:60 seem to say people are not interested because they have more important problems. My children go to a Montessori school and the teaching still is visionary a century later. It hasn't permeated society as much as it could have. Of course all this could happen without Kate. But I think she asked and received advice from those very people who've been working and researching in this field for a long time and the conclusion was, they needed it to become a topic. Not limited to experts but reaching everyone. At least that is how I understand what Kate is trying to do.

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    8. I'm sorry, Natacha, but I disagree. It IS a mainstream issue and an important societal question and has been for many decades. That is a simple, historical fact. And my guess is that some of those very people from whom the Princess requested "advice" were both amused and bemused, given their many publications and well-known work, but of course they weren't going to be rude and say, "Well, you know, this is hardly a new issue, so why are you claiming that it is?". They were polite, and bless them for being so. But, I'm sorry, this is not a subject that's been confined to "experts". It HAS been discussed by "everyone" and for a very long time. As I said a few posts ago, it is not an ivory tower issue; it's been a public issue for many years.

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    9. Natacha, I love Montessori. As you probably know, Montessori's methods were re-introduced in the US in 1960. The 1st school opened was in Connecticut & the 2nd one opened, was in Suburban Chicago. I attended this school during my early years & am a big fan! :)

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  15. She is a natural at sports, and looks great. I feel so sorry for Sarah Renton, RIP Issy x

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  16. I love these events where Kate is in her element. She looks fantastic.
    I will be watching for her to wear the beautiful Issy earrings.

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  17. Love this, Kate is just a natural athlete! Sweaty Betty is a great brand!!

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  18. I wonder what how they will shape the campaign to up the 14%? Because as long as the mothers take on the majority of childcare in the first 5 years I don’t see how you effectively can get men. Availability (spots and money) of nurseries are a problem. Pay gap is a problem. And the mind set. If you don’t want to put your child into nursery- why doesn’t the father stay home at one point? I see so many families, where, even if it would be financially possible the fathers don’t take time off to take on their children. As long as it’s mostly the woman that stays home, they will be the one experiencing this time intensely while men have way less inside and experience. This goes for the good (development, wonder, teaching, bonding, caring…) and the bad (tantrums, caring, fights, teaching, illness…). As long women earn less on average, swapping roles at one point is also often not possible. So they stay home and continue to stay home because their income would be swallowed up by nursery fees (which might be a zero-sum situation but would be an investment in career/promotion/pay raise options down the line and of course in terms of pension).
    Many countries have put on schemes to allow parents more options in their decision how they want to handle parental leave. The UK is not bad but there is room left.
    Kate is careful not to put pressures onto politics but I don’t see her campaign suited for reaching men. Those nice day time events won’t reach the working parent because they are at work- aka majorly men. If you look at the picture- it’s all women. Which is sad, because it kind of puts the responsibility fully in them. They become the ones that are aware, that had gotten tips/ideas/support. It becomes yet another job we can put ourself under pressure and fail.

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    1. I agree! Although this time it was about men.

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    2. Well... I am fortunate to say... that everyone in all branches of our family, were/are blessed to have both maternal & paternal leave benefits. How most have used it, is to stagger it, so that they had the longest amount of time before the Baby/Children had to go into/back t daycare. So first the Mom stayed home & when her time off was up, then the husband stayed home. All the fathers (including my husband, our sons, my brothers & my cousins) have stayed very actively a part of the parenting process. Many of them happen to be "Girl Dads".

      I have to say, that I don't believe this would have happened, unless there hadn't been a shift in our society. There still is a long way to go, in order for everyone to have these options.

      However, I think back to how Kate said, that in their positions, they can take on issues for life. So as long as she's banging on about this, it will continue to be part of the conversation & I think it will ultimately make a difference. Decisions will be made, based on the priorities of UK society. The politicians & companies do make decisions based on what are the trends in the bulk of society. That's how the concept of "Paternal Leave" even became a part of any work benefits package, over here.... Just my 2 cents.

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  19. Agree totally Becca. Lots of changes have come about with conversations and society trends. It was not so long ago a mere few decades when women had to give up their jobs when they married. King Charles went on and on about the environment from the seventies and he was laughed at for it for decades and now there is hardly a more mainstream position. Royalty are not CEOs of companies and should not be expected to operate as as CEOs. Their role is to highlight causes and reflect the peoples and countries they serve, which in my opinion they do well.

    Was very glad to see what a success The Queen's reading room has become and that was started as an instagram account to help people during covid lockdown. It is also good to see lots more media and social media coverage of other Royals. Long overdue in my view. Am also enjoying the changes emanating from the communications team.


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    1. Exactly Anon 7:13! It's having a vision & playing "The Long Game". I think it actually gives the Royals a sense of purpose. Otherwise, I think even they could get caught in a frustrated loop of questioning what purpose they actually serve? I think supporting & shining a light on their passionate issues, not only gives attention to these areas, but I think it probably gives them an increased sense of purpose. I believe it's been mentioned several times, that this "Early Years" campaign, is going to be Kate's greatest purpose.... similar to Charles & his early passion for the environment, which William shares & is taking to the next level. It's quite a good use of their positions, just my 2 cents.

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  20. Looks like she had a great day out. The Princess wears the rugby top very well. Head to toe perfection for the sporty "Early Years" campaign, is going to princess of wales greatest purpose i remember the young king Charles whose very advocate environment and the prince of wales shares the same energy and taking the earth shot prize whole new level

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