The Duchess of Cambridge joined the crowd on one of Wimbledon’s outer courts this morning as she made her first appearance at this year’s tournament.
The Duchess, 39, an avid tennis fan and patron of the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), looked delighted to be back in SW19 for the first time in two years.
After taking her seat on Court 14, she chatted animatedly to Sally Bolton, AELTC chief executive, and former player Tim Henman.
Dressed in a navy skirt by Alessandra Rich and tailored jacket by Canadian brand Smythe, the Duchess watched Britain’s Jamie Murray and Brazil’s Bruno Soares take on Nicholas Monroe from the US and Vasek Pospisil from Canada in the first round of the gentlemen’s doubles.
She later donned a brown apron to help prepare afternoon tea in the club’s Centre Court kitchen, which has been used to prepare and distribute hot meals as part of its response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The masked Duchess helped decorate tennis ball macaroons and was shown how to hull Wimbledon’s iconic strawberries with a spoon.
“It’s interesting, I’ve always done this with a knife, but then you probably lose more of the strawberry,” she said.
"I’ve learnt two new things."
The Duchess of Cambridge helps to prepare strawberry desserts in the kitchens with the All England Lawn Tennis Club Executive Chef Adam Fargin
The Duchess was also given a tour of the Wimbledon museum and marvelled at a portrait of Andy Murray by Maggi Hambling.
“I love it. It has a lot of movement,” she said.
"It is very pretty. I like the concept of taking portraits back to the cities or home towns or here, it is such a good idea."
She was taken by surprise when head of museums and tours Adam Chadwick asked her to have a go at the museum’s tennis reaction game.
"No one told me about this. I should have worn my trousers,” the Duchess laughed.
She scored 24 in 30 seconds with the world record said to be 56.
The Duchess arrives at Wimbledon
The museum is a tribute to the heritage of the game and the history of The Championships and open to ticket-holders for free for the first time this year.
The visit comes after the Duchess was pictured alongside her husband, the Duke of Cambridge, and their son Prince George, seven, at her first England match on Tuesday, watching England beat Germany 2-0 in the Euros.
The return of #Wimbledon pic.twitter.com/tMvewGsE2w
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) July 2, 2021
It is not yet known if the Duchess will make an appearance in the Royal Box later on Friday, as has become tradition.
If she opts to watch Andy Murray’s third round match on Centre Court, she will rub shoulders with spectators including pandemic fitness champions the Bodycoach Joe Wicks, Derrick Evans, aka “Mr Motivator” and “the skipping Sikh” Rajinder Singh, all of whom have been made MBE for services to health and fitness.
The Duchess of Cambridge sits with former player Tim Henman and AELTC CEO Sally Bolton, to watch Britain's Jamie Murray (R) and Brazil's Bruno Soares play against US player Nicholas Monroe and Canada's Vasek Pospisil in their men's doubles first round match on the fifth day of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships
Murray, a two-time Wimbledon champion and a friend of the Duchess, faces the biggest test of his comeback when he takes on tenth seed Denis Shapovalov for a place in the fourth round.
It will be a far cry from the Duchess’s appearance at Wimbledon 2019, when she was joined by her sister-in-law, the Duchess of Sussex.
The pair chatted warmly with each other throughout the match, putting on a united front after months of rumoured tensions between their households, a rift that has since only widened.