Why the Duchess of Cambridge will be Queen of sport

·Royal Correspondent
·9-min read

Watch: Kate watches women's final at Wimbledon after period of self-isolation

From tennis to rowing, from football to skiing, the Duchess of Cambridge is a fan or a player of them all.

Kate, 39, will join a roster of sporty monarchs when she one day takes the throne as queen consort alongside her husband Prince William.

Over the weekend, she enjoyed the finals of both the ladies and gentlemen's singles competitions at Wimbledon, soaking in the atmosphere of centre court with her husband William and her father, Michael Middleton.

It's easy to see how much the duchess enjoys watching the tennis at the iconic SW19 venue - and she loves playing, too.

It's reported she had a tennis court added to the grounds of Anmer Hall, their Norfolk home, when they married, and she and her family are friends with tennis great Roger Federer.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 11: Michael Middleton and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend day 13 of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 11, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
Michael Middleton and the Duchess of Cambridge at day 13 of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships 2021. (Karwai Tang/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 10: Ashleigh Barty of Australia is presented with the Venus Rosewater Dish trophy by HRH Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge after winning her Ladies' Singles Final match against Karolina Pliskova of The Czech Republic  on Day Twelve of The Championships - Wimbledon 2021 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 10, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by AELTC/Ben Solomon - Pool/Getty Images)
Ashleigh Barty of Australia is presented with the Venus Rosewater Dish trophy by Kate after winning her Ladies' Singles Final match. (AELTC/Ben Solomon - Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 10: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Billie Jean King, and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge attend Wimbledon Championships Tennis Tournament at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 10, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
Kate looked to be enjoying herself as she watched the tennis with husband William. (Karwai Tang/WireImage)

What Kate loves to spectate

Kate is a regular at Wimbledon each year, and not just because she's a patron of the All England Tennis Club. She loved taking in the tennis, even when she wasn't royalty, and was spotted court-side before she married William.

The Royal Family website notes sailing, tennis and hockey as the particular sports she enjoyed when she was growing up, and refences her as a "keen tennis fan". 

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 11: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge shows her dejection at the end of the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Final between Italy and England at Wembley Stadium on July 11, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Eamonn McCormack - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)
Kate showed her dejection at the end of the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Final between Italy and England. (Eamonn McCormack - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)
LONDON - JULY 02:  Kate Middleton, girlfriend of Prince William (L) looks on from the crowd during the Men's Singles third round match between Robin Soderling of Sweden and Rafael Nadal of Spain during day seven of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 2, 2007 in London, England.  (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Kate watching Rafael Nadal play at Wimbledon in 2007, with a friend. (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Though it's her husband who has previously been associated with football, the duchess showed she also enjoys it as she attended two matches during the UEFA Euro Championships.

She went with William and their son Prince George to England's matches against Germany and Italy, and showed how invested she was when she put her head in her hands as England lost on penalties in the final.

Kate has long supported William when he plays in polo matches too, and she often takes George, Charlotte and Louis with her to enjoy a day out while he plays.

She has taken well to the Royal Family love of horses, attending events like Royal Ascot with the wider family as well as watching William play polo.

However it's thought that racing is not one of her favourite sports, and she and William did not attend Royal Ascot in 2021.

Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, kisses her husband, Britain's Prince William, while his teammate Santi Trotz (L) applauds as she presents awards following a polo match at the Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club for a charity event held in support of the American Friends of The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry in Santa Barbara, California, July 9, 2011. REUTERS/Phil McCarten (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ROYALS SPORT ENTERTAINMENT)
Kate presented the award to her husband William following a polo match at the Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club for a charity event held in support of the American Friends of The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry in Santa Barbara in 2011. (Reuters/Phil McCarten)
GLOUCESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 10: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Prince George of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge attend the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club on June 10, 2018 in Gloucester, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Now polo matches are a family day out, as here at the Maserati Royal Charity Polo Trophy at the Beaufort Polo Club in 2018 in Gloucester. (Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

How Kate stays fit

It's not just watching sport that Kate loves - she'll give most sports a go when it comes to playing, too.

Over the years, royal watchers have seen her get stuck in to all sorts of sports when she is on her royal engagements.

She is said to run to keep fit, and even once recorded a video for Instagram before heading out on a run in Norfolk.

She's raced her husband and brother-in-law at the Olympic Park, and even challenged Jessica Ennis-Hill during an event for SportsAid in February 2020.

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Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill attend a SportsAid event at the London Stadium at the Olympic Park in Stratford in London, Britain February 26, 2020.  Yui Mok/Pool via REUTERS
Kate gave heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill a run for her money during a SportsAid event at the London Stadium at the Olympic Park. (Yui Mok/Pool via Reuters)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 05:  Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge attend a training day for the Heads Together team for the London Marathon at Olympic Park on February 5, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
Kate and William are very competitive, as shown here during a training day for the Heads Together team for the London Marathon at the Olympic Park in 2017. (Karwai Tang/WireImage)
Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, plays tennis as she joins a session with a group during a visit the Coach Core Essex apprenticeship scheme at Basildon Sporting Village in Basildon, southeast England, on October 30, 2018. - The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Coach Core Essex to meet new apprentices, hear from graduates, and learn how the scheme in Essex is engaging a diverse local community with sport. The Duke and Duchess met with new Coach Core apprentices and joined in with their coaching sessions, including tennis and indoor athletics. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / various sources / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Kate playing tennis as she joins a session with a group during a visit to the Coach Core Essex apprenticeship scheme at Basildon Sporting Village in southeast England, in 2018. (Adrian Dennis/AFP)

Kate often looks happiest when she has a racquet in hand though.

In the early years of their marriage, William and Kate submitted plans to move a tennis court at Anmer Hall which had fallen into disrepair and replace the surface with AstroTurf.

And she counts former world number one Federer as a friend - who has given her son George a few casual tennis lessons. 

Federer called George a "sweet boy" who had a "good swing" and said: "His mum has always enjoyed tennis. I hope he'll stay the same in a few years' time and this is not just an in-the-moment situation."

It's not just lawn tennis - Kate has also proved herself a dab hand at table tennis at many engagements. It helps bring out her the competitive spirit between her and William too, as they love to challenge each other in front of the cameras.

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge plays table tennis as she visits Savannah House, a residential facility run by social justice charity Extern, in County Kildare, Ireland March 4, 2020. Stephen Lock/Pool via REUTERS
Kate playing table tennis at Savannah House, a residential facility run by social justice charity Extern, in County Kildare, Ireland in 2020. (Stephen Lock/Pool via Reuters)
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge prepares for a session of land yachting at the beach at St Andrews, Scotland, Britain, May 26, 2021. REUTERS/Phil Noble/Pool
The Duchess of Cambridge trying out land yachting at the beach at St Andrews, Scotland, in May 2021. (Reuters/Phil Noble/Pool)
GALWAY, IRELAND - MARCH 05: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visits Salthill GAA club and participate in some hurling and gaelic football on the third day of their first official visit to Ireland on March 5, 2020 in Galway, Ireland.   (Photo by Julien Behal Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Kate at Salthill GAA club where she tried hurling and gaelic football in March 2020 in Galway. (Julien Behal Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
GALWAY, IRELAND - MARCH 05: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visits Salthill GAA club and participate in some hurling and gaelic football on the third day of their first official visit to Ireland on March 5, 2020 in Galway, Ireland.   (Photo by Julien BehalPool/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
The duchess was game for learning new sports during the Irish tour. (Julien BehalPool/Samir Hussein/WireImage)

Other sports she's tried at least once include hurling, Gaelic football, cricket, volleyball and land yachting.

She's even tried boxing, basketball, and archery.

What's more impressive is that she often doesn't let her footwear put her off - happily getting involved even if she's in stilettos.

She even impressively played her part in a volleyball game in October 2013 for SportsAid, when she had only given birth to son George in July of that year.

She and William are honorary life members of Lords Cricket Club. 

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Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, plays cricket with children at a ground in Mumbai, India, April 10, 2016. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Kate playing cricket with children at a ground in Mumbai, India in 2016. (Reuters/Danish Siddiqui)
Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, plays volleyball as she attends a SportsAid athlete workshop at the Copper Box in the Olympic Park in London October 18, 2013.     REUTERS/David Bebber/pool (BRITAIN  - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT ROYALS SPORT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY SPORT VOLLEYBALL)
Kate played volleyball at a SportsAid athlete workshop at the Copper Box in the Olympic Park in October 2013. (Reuters/David Bebber/pool)
Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, plays hockey during a visit to her former preparatory school St. Andrew's, which she attended from 1986 to 1995, near Pangbourne in Berkshire, southern England November 30, 2012.   REUTERS/Arthur Edwards/Pool (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT EDUCATION ROYALS)
Heels were no issue as she played hockey during a visit to her former preparatory school St. Andrew's, which she attended from 1986 to 1995 in 2012. (Reuters/Arthur Edwards/Pool)

Although she enjoyed watching football with her son and husband at Wembley, she's previously said that George doesn't think much of her skills.

In 2019, during a visit to Northern Ireland, she told kids at the Windsor Park stadium that George had told her "Mummy, you’re so rubbish" when it came to the sport.

She added: "I should have picked up some tips from George."

She is at home however on the water, both in sailing and rowing, and on the slopes.

William and Kate set up and took part in the King's Cup Regatta in 2019 and took it very seriously - as is to be expected from the couple.

They hoped that The King’s Cup would become an annual event bringing greater awareness to the wider benefits of sport, and raising support and funds for Action on Addiction, Place2Be, the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, The Royal Foundation, Child Bereavement UK, Centrepoint, London’s Air Ambulance Charity and Tusk.

COWES, ENGLAND - AUGUST 08: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge competing in the inaugural King’s Cup regatta hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on August 08, 2019 in Cowes, England. Their Royal Highnesses hope that The King’s Cup will become an annual event bringing greater awareness to the wider benefits of sport, whilst also raising support and funds for Action on Addiction, Place2Be, the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, The Royal Foundation, Child Bereavement UK, Centrepoint, London’s Air Ambulance Charity and Tusk. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Kate competing in the inaugural King’s Cup regatta hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in August 2019 in Cowes, England. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
KLOSTERS, SWITZERLAND - MARCH 19:  Prince William and girlfriend Kate Middleton use a T-bar drag lift whilst on a skiing holiday on March 19, 2008 in Klosters, Switzerland.  (Photo by Indigo/Getty Images)
William and Kate on a T-bar drag lift while on a skiing holiday in March 2008 in Klosters, Switzerland. (Indigo/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 01: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Kate Middleton takes part in a training session with The Sisterhood cross channel rowing team on the River Thames on August 01, 2007 in London, England. The team are taking part in a cross-channel dragon boat race later this month. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Kate Middleton takes part in a training session with The Sisterhood cross channel rowing team on the River Thames in 2007. (Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 01: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Kate Middleton takes part in a training session with The Sisterhood cross channel rowing team on the River Thames on August 01, 2007 in London, England. The team are taking part in a cross-channel dragon boat race later this month. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Kate's team were taking part in a cross-channel dragon boat race. (Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Of course the event couldn't go ahead in 2020 and the couple has not announced any plans for a 2021 event.

As William took the first win, it's possible Kate is looking forward to bringing it back so she can level up the score board.

Kate and William are also known to love their skiing holidays, and have regularly jetted off to enjoy some time on the slopes around the world.

One of their first holidays as a family of four, before the arrival of Prince Louis, was a skiing break.

She also loves to row, and while still William's girlfriend, trained with the Sisterhood for a cross-Channel dragon boat race in 2007.

However she had to pull out reportedly on orders of the Queen, because of the paparazzi attention on the sessions which were being held on the River Thames.

The duchess has many sporting patronages, from the All England Lawn Tennis Club, to Sportsaid, to CoachCore.

Fuelled by her belief that sport "has the power to engage, educate and inspire and change lives for the better" it's a sure thing we'll see her just doing it for years to come.

Watch: Prince William and Kate take their seats for Wimbledon final

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