Kate Middleton Shows Off Tennis Skills in First Solo Outing Since Pregnancy Announcement
The Duchess of Cambridge, 35, showed up in athletic gear at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton on Tuesday, where she took part in a Tennis for Kids session — the program encourages children, aged 5 to 8, to play her favorite sport.
The princess, who is expecting her third child with Prince William in April, has been a patron of the Lawn Tennis Association since 2016 and is an avid tennis player; she even has a court at her Anmer Hall country home.
Sam Richardson, a coach with the association, tells PEOPLE that Prince George may have the tennis bug.
“[Kate] says with George just being 4 he wants to whack a ball. So, she was asking what sort of stuff should be doing,” Richardson says. “She said he’s interested in it but more in whacking the ball.”
Kate arrived at the center at 11 a.m. and wore what appeared to be a Clarice track jacket, Monreal track pants she wore to a previous tennis event in Edinburgh in Feb. 2016, new Nike sneakers and her hair pulled back in a ponytail.
She was greeted at the center’s entrance and shook hands with the leaders before heading to the court to play with the little ones.
Video footage of the scene showed Kate sporting a smile as she met with tennis pro Johanna Konta and the group of tennis-wielding children.
“It was good and fun. She’s lovely,” Konta said of Kate. “It was great to see her passion for tennis and that she was here to learn about these great programs being run by the LTA.”
She added: “Every little girl and almost every boy wants to meet a princess and it got them very excited.”
The royal has been gradually returning to the public eye since breaking the pregnancy news in September. Officials revealed at the time that Kate is battling acute morning sickness, also known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
At Tuesday’s event, Kate was introduced to a group of youngsters looking to train other children in the sport under the royals’ Coach Core program.
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Kate is scheduled to attend the 2017 Gala Dinner for The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families (AFNCCF) next week at the magnificent Orangery at Kensington Palace. There, she will meet some of the charity’s service users, and families.