Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Tennis & Hugs: Sporty Kate's Engagement With Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative

Following her engagement with Great Ormond Street Hospital this morning, the Duchess of Cambridge carried out her second appearance of the day, visiting Bond Primary School in Mitcham to see the work of the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative (WJTI).

Pupils excitedly waved flags as the car arrived...

A very warm welcome for the Duchess.

The WJTI is the All England Club’s community tennis programme, promotes the benefits of physical activity for children and young people within the boroughs of Merton and Wandsworth. The AELTC coaching team visit approximately 65 local primary schools each year to offer a free session of tennis coaching, and since it began in 2001, the WJTI has introduced more than 195,000 local children to tennis through its visits. 5000 of these children have been invited to become members of the programme, and receive free weekly tennis coaching.

The programme aims to offer more children the opportunity to experience tennis, as well as showing how participation in sport can develop the life skills and values which tennis encourages, such as teamwork, discipline and fairness. The Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative also helps to equip teachers with the knowledge and skills to deliver exciting and productive school sports lessons, supporting pupils to live healthy and active lifestyles.

Although the pupils were supposed to greet Kate with a handshake, they couldn't resist a hug.

I just love these photos! Someday in the future when Kate is Queen and these children are all grown up, they'll look back on the day she came to their primary school.

The Duchess joined groups of children in the school hall as they took part in a range of tennis-related sessions, including activities to improve hand-eye coordination and footwork. Kate heard from the children and teachers about the impact of the programme, and met a number of the coaches involved in engaging children with tennis in the local community.

Next, it was time to get stuck into tennis exercises.


A video from Victoria Murphy.

The AELTC is a perfect patronage for Kate. She adores tennis and loves nothing more than getting into the swing of activities during visits to schools and workshops. George and Charlotte are said to be learning the game, I'm sure many an afternoon is spent enjoying a set or two with them :)

Kate revealed she's less sporty, now she has "lots of babies".

An example of the impact the initiative can have: Jenna Fontanilla was just five when the AELTC coaching team visited her school, St Teresa’s in Merton, and invited her to join the WJTI. Three years on, Jenna continues to take part in two hours of training a week and is fast-becoming a talented and skilful tennis player. Jenna’s parents say the WJTI has also helped her to overcome shyness, become more independent and able to work better individually at school. “The WJTI has had a clear impact on Jenna's life. It is so much more than a tennis master class," said Liza Fontanilla. "The support, constructive feedback and guidance that Jenna receives from the coaches have greatly improved her confidence. "You can clearly see this by comparing Jenna when she started school to the faster, stronger, more confident Jenna we see today.”

This has got to be a contender for one of the best royal videos ever :)

The Duchess was sporty in the Clarice Jacket by British tennis clothing brand PlayBrave (with thanks to Laura, Ashley and Sara for their work on the ID). The piece is described as "A premium quality track jacket, for active use in all kinds of conditions". It's currently reduced from £119 to £109.

Kate wore the Clarice Jacket in black last October for an engagement with the Lawn Tennis Association.

Kate wore her $345 slim-fit Monreal London Tuxedo pants. They have inbuilt shorts for lift, support and to add layer of opacity. Concealed pockets and side panels are flattering and leg-lengthening, while the elasticated waistband and invisible ankle zips add comfort. They’re made from high-flex luxury performance jersey and feature monochrome panels with a contrast neon yellow waistband.

Monreal London

Kate wore her Nike Women's Air Vapormax Flyknit Running Shoes. They are available in several colours at Nordstrom and Six02.

Kate accessorised with her Annoushka pearls and Kiki hoops from this morning.

If you're just joining us, click here to view our earlier post covering Kate's visit to Great Ormond Street Hospital. Kate, wearing the Boden Lena coat, officially opened the Mittal Children's Medical Centre, met families and patients and said a few words after the unveiling.

A very enjoyable day of events!

Duchess Kate in 'Red Pop' Boden Coat for Great Ormond Street Hospital Visit!

For her first engagement of the day, the Duchess of Cambridge visited Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) to officially open the Mittal Children's Medical Centre, home to the new Premier Inn Clinical Building.

The Duchess was welcomed upon arrival.

Kate was given teddy bears by 9 year old patient Ava.

Simon Perry reports Kate admired Ava's sneakers.

The new Premier Inn Clinical Building completes The Mittal Children's Medical Centre and is part of the ongoing redevelopment of the hospital. There is growing demand for its services and the centre will help the hospital to provide world-class care to more children and will increase its patient capacity. The centre delivers the hospital's vision of providing modern facilities for its acute inpatients and will see children moved out of old facilities into brand new, modern wards with ensuite bedrooms where parents or carers can stay comfortably overnight by their child’s bedside.

Several of you noted the centre is named after the Mittal family who donated £15 million to the hospital ten years ago. From the 2008 Evening Standard story:

'The son of Britain's wealthiest man has donated £15 million to Great Ormond Street hospital. The sum from Aditya Mittal, heir to steel billionaire Lakshmi Mittal, is the largest the children's hospital has received. It will be used to help fund a £321 million medical unit for children with problems such as heart and lung conditions.'

Aditya and Megha Mittal and family at the opening today.

It is very much a hospital designed around children. The focus was placed entirely on meeting their needs and accommodating patients and their families to ensure their hospital stay is as comfortable as possible.

More from Great Ormond Street Hospital:

'In the heart of a Central London hospital, you will find a vast turquoise lake, framed by snow-capped mountains. You may even lock eyes with a pink chameleon as you walk down the corridor. No matter the weather outside, children in the new respiratory unit can peer out onto a sun-drenched lake, sandy beach or lush green field thanks to two remarkably realistic ‘virtual windows’ designed by Accademia. GOSH is no ordinary hospital.
At GOSH, you’re never far from some exotic friends. Each ward is decorated with animal artwork, situated on the floor which best represents the animal’s natural habitat. Level 2 features animals that would live on the ground and Level 7 has animals you would see in the sky. In 2015, more than 100 children voted to help choose seven new ward mascots for the Premier Inn Clinical Building. Patients can now sleep alongside a giant pelican on Level 7, or meet the spotted leopard patrolling the corridors of Level 2.
Patient bedrooms in the Mittal Children’s Medical Centre are spacious, en-suite, and have enough room for a parent or carer to stay by the bedside. This gives each child their own space and privacy, while letting more parents get a decent night’s sleep close to their child. The new wards include dedicated areas for young children, teenagers and adults to relax. Some rooms use coloured lights to stimulate the senses and support development, while adolescent rooms kitted out with game consoles. These spaces give patients a place to be themselves, no matter their age.'

The Duchess met staff and discussed the facilities in the new centre.

Kate joined some of the hospital's patients in the children's play room and participated in an art activity.

She joined them as they drew what they liked most about their bedrooms and the new facilities.

Patient Oriel Gray, 14 from Brecon and her mum Fiona Gray, also had a special visit from The Duchess. Oriel is in hospital recovering from surgery to reconstruct her ear.

Oriel said of the meeting: “She was really friendly and very beautiful. I told her that the hospital feels like a second home because my mum can stay with me and I have my own bathroom. As a teenager that’s really important. The new ward is amazing and all the nurses and doctors make you feel welcome. After my surgery yesterday, it was great to take my mind off everything. She said I must be very brave.”

Kate revealed Princess Charlotte loves olive pasta whilst meeting a young boy.

The Mail Online reports:

'As they chatted Rafael told the Duchess about his love of olives and she replied: 'I love olives. Are they your favourite? What do you prefer, Olives or sweeties?' The youngster replied that he likes olives better and Kate said: 'Olives over sweeties - amazing. I used to eat lots and lots of olives when I was little. They're very good for you.
'What other things do you like eating? Do you like pasta? Charlotte likes pasta too - with olives. Do you like pasta with olives? The lad replied: 'I like olive nachos. Mum Katy Channa, 33, a primary school teacher from East Preston, near Worthing, said: 'He told me he was going to ask her if she likes olives - he really does love them. I have to bring a bag in with us so I can use them as bribes. It's getting to the point where people get a little bit fed up with him talking about them.'

Kate clearly enjoyed meeting the children.

The Royal Family has a longstanding connection with GOSH; Queen Victoria was the hospital's first Patron after its foundation in 1852. The Queen is the current Patron and has visited a number of times during her reign. It would be an ideal patronage for Kate to take on in the future.

Princess Diana was president of Great Ormond Street Hospital; it was one of the six patronages she kept after the divorce. After Diana's death, a spokeswoman for the hospital said her support was "invaluable and incalculable". Below, a video of Diana visiting GOSH just six months before she died.

Following the visit to the wards, the Duchess met some of Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity’s key supporters and donors before the official unveiling.

Afterwards Kate said a few words congratulating the team behind the centre: "It's been my first trip to Great Ormond Street Hospital and I've been so impressed with everything I've seen and the scale of the work that's going on here. It's been wonderful to meet so many families and young people and I've been so inspired by their bravery and courage at such a difficult time. But really, my main message is congratulations to you all."

I thought the off the cuff delivery was very well done.

The hospital noted: "The Duchess officially opened the new facilities 80 years after the hospital’s Southwood building was officially opened in 1938 by The Duke of Cambridge’s Great Grandparents, King George VI and The Queen Mother."

The Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity does tremendous work from raising funds to modernise and develop the hospital to funding vital research and child, family and staff projects. If you would like to find out more or donate please click here. The charity also has an online shop packed with an assortment of pieces from clothes and accessories to toys and games. Below, the £5 2018 Diary, GOSH Travel Flask and Bernard bear which Kate received from Ava.


The Duchess wore the £220 Lena Coat by British clothing retailer Boden (with thanks to Emma). The structured design is embellished with ruffles at the collar, pocket and sleeve. It features full length sleeves and front pockets with flaps. As of writing, it's available in UK sizes 6-20 on the Boden website and John Lewis. It's available in sizes 2-16 on the US website. Mallory notes US shoppers can take 20% off with discount code 4C6L

The Lena is described as: "Make an impression in our standout feminine coat. The semi-fitted cut has a bit of extra length to protect your dresses from the elements – yep, we've thought of everything." The hue is called 'red pop'.

A closer look at the details.


The coat is also available in navy.


The 'Queen of Coats' now features on Boden's homepage.

History Mommy via Twitter correctly points out it appears Kate wore the peach dress she teamed her Tara Jarmon coat with for a 2013 visit to East Anglia's Children's Hospices when the Duchess was expecting George. At the time, it was said the dress was made by Kate's independent designer.

Kate accessorised with her Annoushka pearls and Kiki McDonough hoops.


Kate carried her Emmy Natasha clutch.

And completed the look with brown pumps.

Kate didn't wear her engagement ring, in adherence with the hospital’s minimal jewellery policy.

Later this afternoon, Kate will visit Bond Primary School in Mitcham to see the work of the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative.

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