Catherine plays rugby to bring early years’ conversation to the boys

The Princess of Wales was helping expand the reach of understanding about childhood development

The Princess of Wales continued the work of her ‘Shaping Us’ campaign today, with a visit to Maidenhead Rugby Club.

Catherine, who became patron of the Rugby Football Union in February 2022, decided it was time to broaden the conversation and talk to men about early childhood and fatherhood. She was joined by Shaping Us champion Ugo Monye, and England ruby players, Courtney Lawes and Danny Care for the visit.

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Not long after arriving, the Princess took to the training pitch to run some drills and play some games with members of the club. She took part in a game of netball rugby – accidentally hitting a teammate during it!

Those taking part noted how good her rugby skills are, with Chairman Steven Bough even saying that ‘it makes a massive difference that she comes and joins in. It’s not just the participating, it is the way she comes across. Immediately, when she came out of the car, it’s like saying hello to a friend. The key thing is she is honestly interested and is not going through the motions, and she is passionate. She fits in like she’s just another person.’

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The Princess of Wales became patron of England’s Rugby Football Union last year.

Kate told Nigel Gillingham, who is President of the RFU, that she regularly plays rugby with her kids and that Princess Charlotte is just as competitive as she is.

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After all the fun and games, it was time to go inside and get down to business. This visit comes as The Royal Centre for Early Childhood found that men are less likely to recognise the importance of early childhood than women. The Shaping Us campaign hopes to ‘transform the whole conversation’ around the importance of early childhood and developemennt, something she has been interested in for years.

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Soon her second early years’ engagement in two days came to an end, but Catherine did not leave empty handed. She was given a pair of earrings designed that had been designed in memory of Isobelle Phipps, who in April at only 17.

The Princess met with Isobelle’s mother, Sarah, and heard all about the youngster, and how she had played for Maidenhead club since she was four. Part of the conversation explored how the rugby club has supported her family since her untimely death, with the royal visitor offering a hug.

The ‘Issy Star’ earrings are on sale to the public, with £5 of each sale going to Brave Minds, a mental health charity.

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