The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge got competitive on a ‘bandy hockey’ rink today on their first engagement of a tour to Sweden and Norway.
Wrapped up in thick coats, bobble hats and snow boots, William and Kate were each handed a stick and ball and invited to take three shots at goal from a red carpet that had been hilariously rolled out onto the ice.
William stepped up first and scored with two of his attempts.
Kate, who was a formidable field hockey player at school, had a better stance but was on target just once.
The couple, who this morning embarked on a four-day official tour of Sweden and Norway, starting in Stockholm, were at an outdoor rink in the capital for an introduction to the popular local sport.
Pregnant Kate kept the cold at bay in temperatures of -1°C, wrapping up in a Burberry shearling coat teamed with skinny jeans and Sorel snow boots, while she and William both donned bobble hats to keep their ears warm.
Ever the diplomatic dresser, the Duchess wore a burgundy jumper by popular Swedish brand Fjällräven.
Before the game Kate and William drank an alcohol free tipple from a flask brought in a Bandy Portfolj – or Bandy Briefcase – a traditional office-style briefcase that traditionally contains a flask of warm wine or coffee laced with alcohol. The drink in the flask is normally called ‘Glögg’ a gluhwein type drink.
The Duchess of Cambridge got competitive with her husband on a ‘bandy hockey’ rink today during their first engagement of a tour to Sweden and Norway
The Duchess, who was a keen hockey player at school, had a good stance but unluckily missed two out of her three shots
William stepped up first and scored with two of his attempts (left). Kate showed she was a good sport, laughing off her defeat by William as they tried their hand at bandy hockey (right)
Kate and Williamam looked delighted to meet young bandy players on the ice at Vasaparken as they commenced their official visit to Stockholm
Jolly hockey stick! Pregnant Kate celebrated after she hit a successful shot while trying her hand at bandy hockey
The couple received a warm welcome from royal fans who had gathered to greet them on their first morning in Stockholm
William put a protective hand on his pregnant wife’s back as she made her way through the snow
The couple were served with much-needed hot drinks and biscuits on a freezing morning in Stokholm
The Duchess kept cosy in a shearling coat by Burberry and wore a grey woolly hat with a cheerful pom pom to keep her ears toasty
Anna Widing, 29, an international Bandy player, talked the couple through what they needed to do before the shoot out.
She says, ‘Kate had played field hockey and I was expecting her to be good — and she was very good. She knew how to hold the stick and she had a very good swing. I was impressed.’
She agreed that William — who wielded his stick with confidence — had a strong shot. ‘I could see that maybe they like to beat each other,’ she adds. ‘Also they were pushing each other to do well.’
The half-back, who laid on the winning shot for Sweden in the victorious world championship team, says, ‘It was a privilege for us to show our sport to them. We have been to China to show the sport and to come back here and show it to the royals from Britain is an honour.’
Kate knew how to hold the stick and had a very good swing, according to a player who talked her through what she needed to do before the shoot out
Kate had a very good stance for hockey, according to an international bandy player
Sporty Kate, 36, looked right at home on the ice rink as she took some shots at goal. She succeeded on her second attempt but didn’t manage to beat William
After their moment on the ice — accessed by a red carpet rolled out across the mini rink — the couple shared some hot chocolate with a group of schoolchildren, aged five to 11, who had been playing earlier. The royal couple were then given a selection of Bandy hockey jerseys as presents for George and Charlotte.
Bandy hockey is actually believed to have originated in the Fens of East Anglia in the late 1800s – indeed the first international match is said to have been played between Bury Fen Band Club and Haarlemsche Hockey & Bandy Club from the Netherlands in 1891 – but is now one of the most popular winter sports in the Scandinavian region.
It is very similar to traditional ice hockey but players use a ball instead of a puck.
The couple stood on the sidelines as two teams of burly players demonstrated the fast-paced sport.
William and Kate arrived in the Swedish capital on a private jet last night for a four-day official tour of Scandinavia, leaving London after picking up their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, from school and nursery.
The Duke and Duchess who are known for their friendly sporting rivalry exchanged a joke as they tried to beat each other at hockey
They are accompanied by a 13-strong entourage, plus security, including Kate’s hairdresser, Amanda Cook Tucker, who caused a minor furore yesterday when she published a photograph of the duchess’s hair products on social media,
The party also includes two private secretaries, four press officers, their senior advisor Sir David Manning, William’s equerry, one orderly, a PA, a programme co-ordination and a tour manager.
The trip is being carried out at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as part of a pre-Brexit charm offensive.
They have a busy programme planned – 22 engagements in all – although the schedule has been slightly amended to take account of Kate’s advancing pregnancy.
Although she still only displays a modest baby bump, her third child is due in April.
In Oslo on Thursday William will now undertake two engagements on his own while Kate returns to their residence to prepare for a black tie dinner at the Norweigan royal palace, hosted by King Harald, attended by government minister, business leaders and high profile figures from the creative industries.
The Duke and Duchess kicked off their visit to Scandinavia by watching a game of bandy hockey in Stokcholm
Kate and William both donned bobble hats to keep warm, although William appeared to have rather unwisely left his gloves at home
The Duchess went for head-to-toe black, teaming her Buberry coat with black skinny jeans and Sorel snow boots
The Duke and Duchess gave players a warm round of applause as they watched a game of bandy hockey
A Kensington Palace spokesman said: ‘With three late nights there will be a slight adjustment to the pace of the programme.’
Today the royal couple will enjoy lunch with the King and Queen of Sweden in the Royal Palace of Stockholm, then, accompanied by the popular Crown Princess Victoria and Crown Prince Daniel, enjoy a walk through the picturesque cobbled streets of the capital city to the nearby Nobel Museum.
It will give them the chance to meet members of the Swedish public who have gathered in Stortorget, the oldest square in Stockholm.
The royal couple looked delighted to meet young bandy players on the ice at Vasaparken as they commenced their official visit to Stockholm
The Duke and Duchess were introduced to local bandy players as they undertook their first official engagement of their Scandinavian tour
William and Kate who are looking forward to the birth of their third child in April smiled warmly as they met some of the youngest bandy hockey players on the team
Inside the museum, the duke and duchess will meet a number of Nobel Laureates and hear more from the museumn’s curator about science in Sweden and the Nobel Laureate system.
There will be another afternoon event to celebrate Swedish design – including iconic global flat-pack furniture brand Ikea – with a particular emphasis on sustainable urnishings.
Their final event of a busy first day will be dinner at the residence of the British Ambassador, where they are staying for the duration of their trip to Stockholm, attended by members of the Swedish royal family, government and popular culture.
Tomorrow William and Kate will spend a second full day in Sweden, before flying onto Norway for two days on Thursday.
In Oslo they will stay at the royal palace and undertake several engagements accompanied by the heir to the throne, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Prince Mette-Marit.
A spokesman for William and Kate said they were ‘very much looking forward to spending time with, and getting to know, the royal couples’.