Princess of Wales cheered by fans at Rugby League World Cup quarter-final

The Princess of Wales showed her support for the England team on the pitch ahead of the Rugby League World Cup quarter-final match against Papua New Guinea.

ate attended the Crunch game at Wigan’s DW Stadium on Saturday, her first game since succeeding the Duke of Sussex as Rugby Football League (RFL) patrons.

Wearing a red coat over a long-sleeved burgundy top and pleated skirt, the princess was cheered on by fans as she took to the pitch just after 2:30pm to shake hands with players from both teams.

Kate, shielding herself from the rain with an umbrella, clapped during a moment of “non-silence” held to mark the tournament’s Movember Mental Fitness Match Day, aiming to combat the damaging effects silence has on the mental well-being of men can have.

Princess of Wales attends the Rugby League World Cup Quarter Final match
The Princess of Wales speaks to TV presenter Clare Balding before the game (Martin Rickett/PA)

Arriving at the stadium, the princess said: “There are a lot of very excited fans out there.”

She met officials including TV presenter Clare Balding, the President of the Rugby Football League, who told her she would be attending as many of the tournament’s matches as possible.

Kate also congratulated the England Physical Disability Rugby League (PDRL) team on winning the inaugural PDRL World Cup after beating New Zealand in the final last Sunday.

England v Papua New Guinea - Rugby League World Cup - Quarter Finals - DW Stadium
The Princess of Wales addresses Papua New Guinea players (Tim Goode/PA)

She also spoke to representatives from groups that have played a role in running the Rugby League World Cup’s Social Impact programme.

Launched in June 2018, the program aims to have a positive impact on the communities in the tournament’s host cities.

Volunteers presented the princess with gifts such as soap, an autographed shirt, artwork and some knitted hats.

Kate told volunteer Susan Hill, who knitted the hats: “I tried to knit once and I was terrible at it so I have to come to class.”

Ms Hill replied: “It’s easy once you know how.”

Ms Hill also told the Princess she was profoundly deaf but could lip read what she said, adding: “Thank you.”

England v Papua New Guinea - Rugby League World Cup - Quarter Finals - DW Stadium
The Princess of Wales sheltered from the rain (Tim Goode/PA)

There was an expectation that he would take part in the England-hosted tournament, but it was postponed by a year after Australia and New Zealand declined to take part, citing safety concerns stemming from the pandemic.

Simon Johnson, Chairman of the RFL, previously said: “We will be delighted and honored to welcome the Princess of Wales as Royal Patron of the RFL for the first time.

“With both our England women’s and men’s teams playing important World Cup matches on Saturday, their presence will add to a special occasion for our sport, for the World Cup and for the famous rugby league city of Wigan.”

The tournament showcased the sport of rugby league, with the women’s and wheelchair world championships being held alongside the men’s championship for the first time. Princess of Wales cheered by fans at Rugby League World Cup quarter-final

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