The Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William were hard at work at opposite ends of the country today as Kate travelled to Edinburgh, while her husband was on an air base in East Anglia.
While Kate sang with schoolchildren and laughed raucously with Judy Murray during a tennis workshop in Scotland, William was refuelling one of his helicopters after landing in Cambridge.
The duchess left their children George, two, and nine-month-old Charlotte at home in Anmer Hall, Norfolk, and seemed to bat away recent criticism that the couple were ‘reluctant royals’ with every stroke of her racquet during the workout led by Andy Murray’s mother.
The 34-year-old royal was her usual stylish self as she worked up a sweat in Monreal London ‘tuxedo’ track pants worth an eye-watering £220, Asics trainers, £90, and a long-sleeved white Nike top.
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The Duchess of Cambridge takes part in a tennis workshop with Judy Murray while wearing a pair of £220 jogging bottoms
Sporty Kate shows off her racquet skills by taking part in a Tennis On The Road coaching clinic in Edinburgh
Kate was wearing £90 Asics trainers and Monreal London ‘tuxedo’ track pants worth an eye-watering £220 for her sports class
The class came at the end of a day of official visits at Craigmount High School, in the west of the city, where Andy Murray’s mother hosted a Tennis on the Road coaching clinic.
And it follows recent criticism that William is ‘workshy’ and a ‘reluctant royal’ with claims that he works an average of an 80-hour month.
The Duke of Cambridge’s public role has been subject to increasing scrutiny after it emerged that his 94-year-old grandfather, Prince Philip, undertook more official engagements than William, Harry and Kate combined.
Kensington Palace, which has always insisted the prince is fully committed to his ‘primary’ role as a pilot, said the 80-hour figure is based on his ‘part-time’ role which allows him to juggle other duties.
However, he will only undertake his third engagement so far this year when he attends Wales’ Six Nations rugby match against France on Friday in his role as patron of the Welsh Rugby Union.
His wife, meanwhile, managed to pack a series of events from playing with school children to learning Wimbledon champions’ tricks thanks to Judy, who founded the project in 2014 with the idea of increasing coaching capacity and growing the game at a grassroots level.
Kate pulled her glossy brunette locks into a half-up half-down style for the fitness session, which was also attended by children, parents, teachers and volunteers.
Clearly in high spirits, the Duchess giggled as she sat on the wooden floor with other attendees of the tennis workshop
The Tennis On The Road coaching clinic, which Kate took part in, was led by Andy Murray’s mother Judy
Judy was happy to give the Duchess a hand as she took part in the energetic work out during her visit
Kate looks poised and ready as Judy Murray throws a ball towards her in a warm up exercise this afternoon
The Duchess appears to quiz tennis pro Judy Murray for tips during the fun filled afternoon in the school hall
Prince William fills up his East Anglian Air Ambulance in Cambridge with petrol before heading to the charity’s base at Cambridge Airport
Prince William appears to get tangled up in cables as he refuels the Air Ambulance chopper in Cambridge while Kate was in Scotland
The royal – and, according to her husband, talented player – wasn’t remotely phased by a series of challenges which included balancing a racquet on her finger and fiendish game of catch, based on the same games Judy played with Andy and his brother, Jamie, a world number two doubles player, to teach them core skills when they were small.
And if the broad grin on the duchess’s face was anything to go by, she enjoyed the games just as much as the boys used to. Angus Osborne, 39, a parent who played bean bag tennis with her, said she picked him up for failing to follow the rules of the game.
‘She is definitely competitive,’ he said. He added: ‘She was enjoying herself, and definitely likes playing tennis. But she said she plays a little bit less since she had children.’
The Duchess of Cambridge sits in the front row of the class and listens to Judy Murray explain the workshop
Kate takes hold of a young girls hand as they appear to take part in a balloon catching activity during this afternoon’s fun and games
The Duchess stops a roll-away ball by using her racket at Craigmount high school in Edinburgh
She does, however, at least have a court at home at Anmer Hall. The duke and duchess have talked in the past about their competitive nature. The duke once said: ‘We are both very competitive. She beats me at tennis and ski-ing but I am better at the rest.’
Tennis on the Road, which was founded by Judy Murray in October 2014, aims to promote coaching and encourage the game at the grassroots level by teaching the basics to parents, teachers, volunteers and others so that children can develop their skills. Since it was founded there have been 17 separate roadshows, including visits to the Isles of Arran and Thurso.
More than 2,200 adults have been trained and 35,000 children given access to the game. Mrs Murray described Tennis on the Road as ‘a van full of equipment’.
She said: ‘Myself and another coach, Kris Soutar, take the van round Scotland trying to take tennis into places where you might not normally find it – rural and underprivileged places where you might not even find tennis courts and you certainly wouldn’t find tennis coaches.
The Duchess of Cambridge was spotted laughing raucously with Andy Murray’s mother Judy today as she carried out a number of engagements in Edinburgh
Judy Murray doubled over with laughter as she shared a joke with the Duchess ahead of their afternoon sporting activities
The Duchess joined Judy at a tennis workshop as she continued her series of engagements in the Scottish capital
‘There is a huge appetite for tennis up here now. But we recognise that the coaching workforce here is very small. We are trying to build a workforce out of parents, teachers, students, coaches of other sports and club members.’
She said it was inspired by the success of her sons. by the success of her sons. ‘They are out there working hard and achieving great things, and I’m trying hard to grow our sport on the back of it.
‘For us to have the duchess come, who is a great tennis fan and also a parent, to do our training and to work with the children is a wonderful advert for our sport.’
The duchess is expected to be named as the new patron of the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, which hosts Wimbledon, taking over from the Queen who has been patron for 64 years. The duchess accepted honorary membership of the All England Club in 2013 and is a regular in the royal box with her husband and the Middleton family. She is expected to be named as its new patron during this summer’s Wimbledon championships.
The Duchess was greeted by Judy Murray and pupils from Craigmount High School during her final engagement of the day
Kate looked elegant in her dark green Max Mara coat and Le Kilt skirt as she stepped out of her chauffeur-driven car this afternoon
Judy greeted the Duchess in full sports gear ahead of the afternoon’s activities, which the Duchess is expected to take part in
The meeting between Kate – a keen tennis player and fan – and Judy comes less than three weeks after Judy became a grandmother as Andy’s wife Kim gave birth to their daughter, Sophia Olivia, on February 7.
But the sporty session was just the pinnacle of a series of events for the Duchess in Edinburgh – and two outfit changes.
The royal household said the focus of the day is on the local partnerships between charities, communities and schools which deliver programmes and sporting activities for children and young people.
Earlier today, the Duchess showed off her playful side as she giggled along with school children during morning assembly.
The Duchess and Judy Murray were spotted sharing a joke ahead of the Tennis on The Road coaching clinic in Edinburgh
Judy appeared to look disapprovingly at Kate’s choice of footwear ahead of their Tennis On The Road coaching clinic
Kate donned a green MaxMara coat and a skirt by new label Le Kilt for her busy day of engagements, which will see her visit three school-based charity projects in Edinburgh linked to causes close to her heart
Kate laughed as she joined in an enthusiastic sing-song of Welcome Everybody – with accompanying hand actions – at St Catherine’s primary in Edinburgh. She also waved at excited youngsters in the audience throughout the performance.
The Duchess recycled a dark green Max Mara coat she had previously worn on Christmas Day while attending church in Sandringham for the occasion.
The tailored £940 outerwear, from the label’s diffusion line Sportmax, featured a thin black belt that nipped in at Kate’s slender waist and side pockets.
The Duchess teamed the sophisticated garment with a checked skirt by Le Kilt, a black polo neck knit, a pair of classic suede court heels and her favourite Mulberry clutch bag.
Her iconic engagement ring and a pair of Kiki McDonough diamond-encrusted droplet earrings completed the elegant day-time look.
Proving she’s a good sport, the Duchess of Cambridge took part in a sing-song during the school’s assembly
Kate joined in with the sign action, laughing and waving at the children who were extremely excited to meet her
The Duchess sat amongst the school children and joined in with a song during the morning assembly
Mother-of-two Kate showed off her playful side during the skit and clearly didn’t mind looking a bit silly
After joining in with the enthusiastic singing, Kate was invited to speak to the school assembly by head master Paul Hunter
Looking her usual stylish self, Kate donned a tailored dark green coat by Max Mara she was previously spotted in over Christmas
The Duchess later removed her coat to reveal a chic black polo neck knit and a checked skirt by British label Le Kilt
The Duchess of Cambridge joins headteachers from schools in Edinburgh for a discussion about the mental health challenges of their school communities
Appearing in high spirits, Kate waved at well-wishers outside of the school who had queued up to catch a glimpse of her
The Duchess was seen laughing merrily as she made her way into the school while clutching a pretty bouquet of flowers
The sun was out to greet Kate as she stepped out of her chauffeur-driven car and made her way into the school
Kate joined headteachers from schools in Edinburgh for a discussion about the mental health challenges of their school communities during a visit to the Place2Be charity
The Duchess opted for her go-to make-up look with dark smoky eye shadow, pink blusher and clear lip gloss
Kate was spotted brushing one of her glossy brunette curls away from her face as she smiled at well-wishers
The Duchess of Cambridge waved at the hoards of people who had waited outside of the school gates to greet her
Kate, wearing a Max Mara coat, was greeted at St Catherine’s primary by Suranne Jeffrey, eight, and Rodney Oduro, ten
Cloudless skies in sunny Scotland greeted Kate as she arrived at St Catherine’s primary school in Edinburgh this morning
‘WELCOME EVERYBODY’ LYRICS
Here we are together, now we can begin
The youngest and the oldest, the only child, the twin
Some who’re feeling left out and some who’re feeling in
Gathering in this place
Welcome everybody, it’s good to see you here
Welcome everybody, it’s good to see you here
Welcome everybody, it’s good to see you here
Gathering in this place
Here we are together, joining in this song
Even those who feel that their singing’s not that strong
And as we sing may every person know that they belong
Gathering in this place
Welcome everybody, it’s good to see you here…
Here we are together, with our hopes and fears
Bringing many feelings, our laughter and our tears
And now it’s time for everyone to tell the world, ‘WE’RE HERE!’
Gathering in this place
Welcome everybody, it’s good to see you here…
Upon her arrival at the school, Kate was greeted by Suranne Jeffrey, eight, and 10-year-old Rodney Oduro.
The pair, who had been busy practising their curtsy and bow, presented her with a posy while fellow youngsters cheered and waved flags.
After joining in with the enthusiastic singing, Kate was invited to speak to the school assembly by head master Paul Hunter.
She said: ‘Good morning everyone. Everyone should start the day like that!
‘Hope you all have a great day and I look forward to meeting some of you later.’
Luke Alexander, 12, presented her with a Quaich cup – a special Scottish two-handled drinking bowl – to signify friendship.
The Duchess – known as the Countess of Strathearn north of the border – then joined head teachers from schools across Edinburgh to discuss mental health challenges.
Her visit to St Catherine’s Primary in south Edinburgh, was to highlight the work of Place2Be of which she is patron.
The charity helps kids by encouraging them to talk about their feelings and problems, such as bullying.
They particularly try and target those from difficult backgrounds where poverty, addiction and violence can be the start of life-long problems.
The Duchess launched children’s mental health week, earlier this month, with a video message meeting some London schoolchildren who had all benefited from the charity.
Place2Be has been working in Scotland for 15 years. The charity now works in 28 schools in some of the most disadvantaged areas of Edinburgh and Glasgow, reaching a school population of 8,000 children.
The UK’s leading children’s mental health charity provides in-school support and expert training to improve the emotional wellbeing of pupils, families, teachers and school staff.
The Duchess has been the Royal Patron of Place2Be since 2013, reflecting her personal interest in and commitment to improving the mental health and emotional wellbeing of children in Great Britain.
Jonathan Wood, National Manager for Place2Be in Scotland, said: ‘It’s so important to have the Duchess as our patron.
‘She’s helped raise the profile on this issue.
The Duchess bends down to greet the smiling children who awaited her arrival in the playground of St. Catherine’s primary school
Kate showcased her pearly white teeth as she laughed while greeting hundreds of well wishers at the school today
Children lined the gates to greet Kate, waving flags bearing the Scottish flag and Place2Be charity logo
The Duchess was spotted waving at the youngsters and smelling her gorgeous bouquet of colourful flowers
The sun shined down on the Duchess as she left her engagement at St Catherine’s primary school
Kate was caught in a gust of wind as she exited the school and her glossy brunette locks were seen flowing behind her
The Duchess demonstrated her signature wave as she clutched her spring posy outside the primary school
Kate opted to wear her hair down for her day of engagement and styled it into chic glossy curls
The Duchess’ glossy brunette hair was styled into chic loose waves and left to hang stylishly around her shoulders
The Duchess beams as she shakes the hand of a smiling well-wisher during her visit this morning
Kate spent time chatting to representatives outside of the school as she began her busy day of engagements in Scotland
At her second engagement of the day, the Duchess visited The Art Room at Wester Hailes Education Centre – the charity’s first in Scotland, which opened in 2014
At the school she was welcomed by students who are working on a project about the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, who was famous for her self-portraits in the first half of the 20th century
Kate has been Royal Patron of The Art Room since January 2012. The charity uses art therapy to increase children’s self-esteem, self-confidence and independence
Kate, who studied history of art at St Andrews, took part in a discussion about the charity’s impact in the area with school staff and members of local health services
On Kate’s visit, Lewis Paterson, acting principal of the school, said: ‘I think her visit has given the youngsters a bit of confidence, they will be thinking we must be a wee bit better than we sometimes think we are’
‘Mental health is a taboo subject in general and the idea that very young children may suffer that distress may be hard for some people to believe.
‘It’s invaluable for a service like ours and she’s really helped put children’s mental health on the map.
‘She wanted to come and see our work in a school, and we’ve worked with St Catherine’s for some time.
‘There’s two ways Place2Be helps: a drop-in service where any child can attend for problems like bullying or falling out with their friends in the playground.
‘The second is an intensive one-to-one for kids with higher needs.
‘Those who have difficult home lives, there are drugs and alcohol, neglect at home or simply just not fitting in at school.
‘At St Catherine’s there are two rooms here; one set up for play therapy to encourage the kids to talk and show through play.
‘We also work with the parents and school staff so the work isn’t undone at home.’
At her second engagement of the day, the Duchess visited The Art Room at Wester Hailes Education Centre – the charity’s first in Scotland, which opened in 2014.
The charity uses art therapy to increase children’s self-esteem, self-confidence and independence.
Kate has been Royal Patron of The Art Room since January 2012.
At the school she was welcomed by students who are working on a project about the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, who was famous for her self-portraits in the first half of the 20th century.
Kate, who studied history of art at St Andrews, took part in a discussion about the charity’s impact in the area with school staff and members of local health services.
Juli Beattie OBE, Founder Director of The Art Room, said of Kate’s visit: ‘It was such a positive thing for the area, and for the Duchess, to see the work of the project she has put her name to, and we decided we are going to meet to talk further about the stigma and how we can offer further intervention’
The Duchess teamed the sophisticated garment with a checked skirt by Le Kilt, a black polo neck knit, a pair of classic suede court heels and her favourite Mulberry clutch bag
The Duchess was the cause of much excitement as she arrived at St Catherine’s Primary School for her busy day of engagements
Kate will begin the day by continuing her work in support of the mental health of children with visits to two charities of which she is patron. Place2Be and The Art Room both have a presence in Edinburgh
The Duchess – known as the Countess of Strathearn in Scotland – is said to be looking forward to her day of engagements in Edinburgh
The Duchess has been the Royal Patron of Place2Be since 2013, reflecting her personal interest in and commitment to improving the mental health and emotional wellbeing of children in Great Britain
There was no shortage of young fans awaiting the Duchess today who waved their flags enthusiastically on her arrival
The Duchess seemed overwhelmed with happiness as she left the school to be greeted by the hundreds of pupils
Juli Beattie OBE, Founder Director of The Art Room, said of the visit: ‘It was such a positive thing for the area, and for the Duchess, to see the work of the project she has put her name to, and we decided we are going to meet to talk further about the stigma and how we can offer further intervention.
‘The children have gone away thinking ‘we’re worth it’, and they are worth it.’
Lewis Paterson, acting principal of the school, added: ‘I think her visit has given the youngsters a bit of confidence, they will be thinking we must be a wee bit better than we sometimes think we are.’
Wester Hailes Education Centre is a mixed non-denominational high school on the south-west edge of Edinburgh.
Many of the children are disengaged from mainstream education, disruptive or withdrawn and all have been identified as needing time away from their school.
The charity’s emphasis is on teaching life skills while encouraging children and young people to both relate and engage with each other. The Art Room employs people trained in psychotherapy, art, teaching and social work.
Each group starts in the sofa area where the students are given the opportunity to talk and listen to each other.
Following a shared breakfast or tea, the groups then work on projects which use objects such as chairs, clocks and lampshades to explore their creativity.
The projects are designed to promote literacy or numeracy and aim to help to encourage the children’s language and life skills, to raise their self-esteem and confidence and to engage with education.
Meanwhile, the Duchess of Cornwall joined in with a baby bounce session at a library – and proved a hit with one youngster.
The Duchess of Cambridge first wore the dark green Max Mara coat while attending church in Sandringham on Christmas Day
Kate added interest to the sophisticated outerwear on Christmas Day with a matching hat and an ornate leaf-shaped brooch
Meanwhile, the Duchess of Cornwall joined in with a baby bounce session at a library – and proved a hit with one youngster
Camilla, who is patron of both BookTrust and the National Literacy Trust, also joined a meeting of Read On Get On – a coalition made up of children’s authors, charities, businesses and publishers, which launched a national campaign to get all children reading well by the time they leave primary school
The Duchess also launched BookTrust’s new sticker book, Bear’s Reading Adventure, donning her dark-rimmed glasses to read the story to a group of school children
The library’s baby bounce sessions are designed as a relaxed way of introducing babies and young children to books, reading and learning
Seven-month-old Ella-Mae grabbed Camilla’s finger, keeping a firm grip throughout, as the group sang a rendition of the nursery rhyme This Old Man.
Camilla, who is a doting grandmother of five and step-grandmother to Prince George and Princess Charlotte, was on a visit to Islington Central Library in London when she sat next to Ella-Mae as the baby perched on her mother Laura Walden’s lap.
The library’s baby bounce sessions are designed as a relaxed way of introducing babies and young children to books, reading and learning.
The Duchess also launched BookTrust’s new sticker book, Bear’s Reading Adventure, donning her dark-rimmed glasses to read the story to a group of school children.
Part of a new pilot programme by the charity, Bear’s Reading Adventure is aimed at encouraging children and their families to regularly use libraries.
It features 10 missing stickers which children can collect from libraries, picking up one each time they visit, depending on how libraries decide to hand them out.
Camilla, who is patron of both BookTrust and the National Literacy Trust, also joined a meeting of Read On Get On – a coalition made up of children’s authors, charities, businesses and publishers, which launched a national campaign to get all children reading well by the time they leave primary school.
Read On Get On’s website describes it as a ‘scandal’ that ‘too many children, including over a third of our poorest children, leave primary school without being able to read well’.
The Duchess, a voracious reader who is passionate about improving literacy, said during the meeting: ‘I think it’s a brilliant idea. If you get people under one umbrella, you achieve so much more.’
Camilla, who is a doting grandmother of five and step-grandmother to Prince George and Princess Charlotte, was on a visit to Islington Central Library in London when she sat next to Ella-Mae as the baby perched on her mother Laura Walden’s lap
Camilla sits with children drawing their own cartoon type story books during a visit to Islington Central Library