Kate Middleton Replaces Prince Harry As Patron Of English Rugby… Pitting Her Against Husband William Who Backs Wales

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Kate Middleton Replaces Prince Harry As Patron Of English Rugby... Pitting Her Against Husband William Who Backs Wales

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 said.

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.

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. 

Kate Middleton Replaces Prince Harry As Patron Of English Rugby... Pitting Her Against Husband William Who Backs Wales

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 careful 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.

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 Theatre
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 a royal patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

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

Kate Middleton Replaces Prince Harry As Patron Of English Rugby... Pitting Her Against Husband William Who Backs Wales

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.

 

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