The royals visited a Yorkshire village to celebrate the start of the annual cycling race

By Helen I. Hwang
Updated July 05, 2014 11:50 AM
Scott Heppell/AP

Le Tour fever has grabbed hold of Prince William, Kate and Prince Harry as they kicked off the 101st Tour de France on Saturday – in England.

Hundreds of spectators greeted the royals in the Yorkshire village of West Tanfield. On a cool, sunny day, the Duchess of Cambridge, 32, looked refreshed in her beloved nude LK Bennett pumps and green coat dress.

Kate and her husband both stopped to say hello to 22-month-old Mason Tupland, who was holding a pink balloon and waiting with his mother, Claire Tupland.

“George would have popped that by now,” William, 32, said, with Kate adding, “He’s more interested in helicopters and anything with wheels.”

Many kids gave loom bracelets to Kate, including Jemima Berry, 9, and Hattie Craven, 10, who gave Kate a pink one they made. Then, Kate showed her the loom bands she wears on her wrists and said she and William got several in New Zealand and Australia during their April trip.

Kate stopped to ask pregnant Laura Wright, 25, of Kirkby Fleetham, if she knew the sex of her baby. When Laura said she didn’t know, Kate replied, “Surprises are the best way.”

William asked, “What would happen if you went into labor?” She joked she would hitch a ride with a cyclist. He laughed and instead offered a ride in their helicopter.

Lily Boynton, 6, of Northallerton, asked where Prince George was. Kate sweetly replied, “He’s asleep in his bedroom.”

The famous bike race traditionally starts outside France. This year, the United Kingdom was chosen because the last two winners have been British.

The quaint village of West Tanfield, Yorkshire, in Northern England, has been transformed into a jovial carnival atmosphere with painted bicycles hanging precariously from stone walls and pubs.

Yorkshire pudding, a concoction of fried batter with onion gravy, is offered in market stalls as a snack. Sheep are painted in red polka dots – yellow and green, to represent the famed winning jerseys for the Tour de France cyclists.

Harry, 29, tried a golden ale called Tour de Ale from the Pennine Brewing Company. And then the royal trio departed to see cyclists race to the finish line at Harrogate on day 1 of the Tour.

Kate, who earlier cut a ribbon at the start of the race, is due to award the yellow jersey to the winner of the first stage.