Today, The Duchess of Cambridge visited the Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre, to attend a sailing roadshow for her patronage, the 1851 Trust.
Catherine was there in her role as patron of the Trust, which is the official charity of Britain’s America’s Cup sailing team. The Trust uses sailing to encourage young people to get involved in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).
The Duchess looked to be enjoying her visit, as she happily high-fived local students. However, during a lesson on the environmental impact of plastic on birds, Catherine was put on the spot, when year five student, Rafi asked her: “How many cars do you have?”
The Duchess burst out laughing before stating, “oh my goodness”. She then went on to say that she had a Land Rover, before asking the pupil: “What’s your favourite car?”
Rafi replied: “A Lamborghini!”
Kate then helped pupils from several schools participate in a treasure hunt using QR codes that triggered science questions, before watching the students sail in the docks.
Later in the day, Catherine told British Olympic sailor Ben Ainsley how she and her husband, Prince William had been “glued” to the television watching the British team lose out in the America’s Cup semi-finals.
The four-time gold medal winner told the Duchess by video-link: “It’s fantastic to see the work the trust has been able to put together, it’s great to have your help with that. To have young people come down to see how the boats get designed and built and hopefully inspire them to a future in engineering and design, that’s a fantastic project.”
The Duchess also revealed that she was named after one of her school’s Guinea Pigs as a childhood nickname. “There was one called Pip and one called Squeak, so my sister was called Pip and I was Squeak”, she explained.
The 10 year old pupil later said, “She looked even better in real life than in photos. She asked me if I’m going sailing and I said I was doing it last. It was amazing to meet her!”
Later in the day, Catherine participated in an ocean plastics sea-bird activity, which aimed to highlight the environmental damage caused by plastics and promotes sustainable living.
Education manager of the 1851 Trust, Beverley Smith, told the Duchess and the children how when birds eat plastic they feel full, but can subsequently starve because plastic has no nutritional value. She remarked, “The birds starve to death. We haven’t just made this up – this is very real. They think they are full up. We’ve talked about the problems, now we are going to talk about how you can do something about it.”