Her Royal Try-ness! Kate Middleton replaces Prince Harry as patron of English rugby

Kate Middleton replaces Prince Harry as patron of English rugby… pitting her against husband William who backs Wales

  • The Duchess of Cambridge is to be unveiled as patron of Rugby Football Union
  • Kate, 40, will become the first royal to take on one of Prince Harry’s patronages
  • The role pits her against Prince William, who is the patron of Welsh Rugby Union










The Duchess of Cambridge will become the first member of the Royal Family to take on one of Prince Harry’s patronages when she is announced as the new figurehead of English rugby.

Kate, 40, is due to be unveiled as the patron of the Rugby Football Union ‘imminently’, sources told the Daily Mail.

Her role sets her up in direct competition with William, who became patron of the Welsh Rugby Union in 2016. The move comes ahead of England’s Six Nations campaign, which begins next week.

Harry was forced to step down from the role of RFU patron last year after he and Meghan confirmed to the Queen that they would not be returning as working royals. Their decision followed a year-long ‘cooling off’ period after they acrimoniously quit royal life and settled in the US.

Harry himself took over the patronage from the Queen in 2016. Before that he was vice patron from 2010 and was seen as a committed ambassador for the England side. He even went on an alleged 25-hour drinking session with the team in Paris in 2007 after they lost the World Cup.

The Duchess of Cambridge plays rugby with young French rugby fans at the Trocadero square near the Eiffel Tower in March 2017

But Buckingham Palace made clear that the Queen had no choice but to ask Harry and Meghan to relinquish their ties with the charities and organizations she had given them due to their decision to pursue commercial careers.

The palace’s statement, released last February, said their ‘honorary military appointments and royal patronages’ will be ‘returned to Her Majesty before being redistributed’.

Until now, no member of the Royal Family has been handed one of the Sussexes’ patronages.

Some suspect the Queen did not want to risk antagonizing her grandson, who has spent much of the past two years taking pot-shots at his family from across the Atlantic. ‘People just tread a bit carefully when it comes to them,’ one source remarked.

But with the Six Nations Championship coming up next week, the need for a figurehead is pressing.

Kate Middleton with William in a Wales sweatshirt and Harry in an England top at the Rugby World Cup in 2015

Kate Middleton with William in a Wales sweatshirt and Harry in an England top at the Rugby World Cup in 2015

And it can be revealed that Kate, who once enjoyed a warm relationship with her brother-in-law, is about to step into his shoes and will be ‘front and centre’ at the upcoming games.

There is no word yet as to whether she will also take on Harry’s former role as patron of the Rugby Football League. But it is expected that the Queen may now start to redistribute more of the couple’s dormant patronages.

For Harry these include, in addition to his ex-military affiliations, the presidency of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust and the London Marathon Charitable Trust.

Meghan also had to hand back patronages with the Royal National Theater and the Association of Commonwealth Universities, as well as her vice presidency of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.

Kate is one of the sportiest members of the Royal Family and she is already royal patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

The Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry attend the Anzac Day Commemorative Service held at Westminster Abbey in London in April 2019

The Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry attend the Anzac Day Commemorative Service held at Westminster Abbey in London in April 2019

She is a frequent visitor to the Wimbledon Championships – but it is less well known that Kate is also a huge rugby fan.

Her sister, Pippa, wrote in Vanity Fair magazine in 2014: “Rugby was a big thing for our family, we’d plan our weekends around the big matches.”

Princess Anne, who also enjoys the sport, is the patron of the Scottish Rugby Union.

England are due to play Wales at Twickenham on February 26, with both William and Kate cheering on their respective sides.

‘They are famously competitive with each other and this will be no different – ​​probably even more so now that they have an invested interest in the outcome of the game,’ a source said.

n Prince George, eight, enjoys playing computer games, William revealed yesterday during a visit to the Bafta charity in London.

He said that he and Kate have to ‘regulate his screen time’.

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