It was a return to the table tennis table for the the Prince and Princess of Wales yesterday.
The competitive duo took each other on in a game of ping pong as they met migrants in Cardiff on the 75th anniversary of the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush to the UK.
Fortunately for them, Kate admits they can practise at home (until the dog catches the ball).
For this was not the first time they’d been asked to show off their impromptu ping pong skills – a game which features on royal visits across Britain and Europe with mysterious regularity, as these pictures show…
Prince William, Prince of Wales, and Catherine, Princess of Wales, play table tennis during a visit to the Grange Pavilion in Cardiff
Sporty Kate looked delighted to get stuck in
Queen Camilla plays table tennis as King Charles and French President Emmanuel Macron’s wife Brigitte Macron watch on during a visit to a French gymnasium last week
A spot of ping pong for Camilla In her role as Honorary Air Commodore at Royal Air Force Halton in Aylesbury, 2019
The Duchess of Cornwall proves she is a pro at table-tennis at the Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village in Gold Coast, Australia in 2018
Queen Camilla and Brigitte Macron were recently filmed trying out a game of table tennis during a visit to a gymnasium in Paris. Brigitte seemingly hit the ball with skill – while Camilla knocked the ping pong into the net.
But it appears as though Paris wasn’t Camilla’s first ping-pong rodeo, for the Queen appears to be a master at the table sport.
During a visit to the Royal Air Force Halton in 2019, Camilla couldn’t resist a game.
On another occasion, Camilla teamed up with Lucy Turnbull, the wife of the Australian prime minister, for a doubles game while visiting the Commonwealth Games athletes’ village Gold Coast in April 2018.
King Charles gave table tennis a whirl as he officially opened a new sports centre at Dumfries House Estate in Cumnock, East Ayrshire, in April 2015
The then Prince of Wales played table tennis like a true sportsman at the Melmerby Village Hall in Cumbria back in 2004
Following his wife’s lead, the King played a round of ping-pong while visiting Australia in 2018
King Charles has more than proved his fitness at 74 years young with his eagerness to put his sporting skills to the test.
Charles tried his hand at badminton and table tennis as he officially opened a new sports centre at Dumfries House Estate in Cumnock, East Ayrshire, back in 2015.
The former Prince of Wales was on the ball when playing ping-pong at the Melmerby Village Hall in Cumbria as part of his The Pub is the Hub initiative in February 2004.
And during a visit to Australia in 2018, Charles took the chance to show off his royal flair with a round of games.
Catherine, Princess of Wales
Kate Middleton proudly celebrated as she won a match of table tennis during a visit to Bacon’s College in July 2012
Prince William and Catherine went head-to-head as they played a round of table tennis at a Glasgow Leisure Centre in April 2013
A round of table tennis in County Meath, near Dublin, in March 2020
The mother-of-three in Wolverhampton in 2021
Having firmly established herself as competitive Kate, the Princess of Wales is never one to back down from a challenge, and that includes table tennis.
They get to play each other at home and were recently teased when they appeared on the podcast The Good, The Bad and The Rugby podcast with Zara’s husband Mike Tindall and former England player James Haskell.
According to Haskell, their games are so competitive, they go on for ‘hours and hours’.
Kate received notable praise for her skills while visiting Bacon’s College in London in 2012.
She was described as ‘unbelievably talented’ by a coach – despite playing in heels – while trying her hand at the sport.
Even while wearing a dress and heels, the then Duchess of Cambridge challenged William to a game of ping-pong again at the Donald Dewar Leisure Centre when visiting Glasgow in 2013.
Kate took her best swing during a visit to the residential facility Savannah House in County Meath, and as she joined in the game with young people, she gave insight into the couple’s life at home with their children.
‘We try to do this at home but our dog keeps catching the ping pong balls,’ the Princess said.
The mother-of-three also picked up a paddle for a quick round of table tennis at The Way Youth Zone in Wolverhampton in May 2021.
Always the sportsman, Prince William joined in a game of table tennis during his visit to Poland in March this year
William took his shot very seriously while royal watchers looked on in anticipation during the opening of the Greenhouse Sports Centre in central London, in April 2018
ThePrince and Princess of Wales play table tennis in Falmouth in February
William had his game face on during an action-packed day of engagements in Wolverhampton
Much like Kate, Prince William can rarely turn down an offer to put his athleticism to the test.
The father-of-three, 41, showed he has a natural way with children as he visited a refugee centre and even challenged them to a game of table tennis in Poland in March.
On another occasion, William displayed real ping pong flair at the Greenhouse Sports Centre in April 2018.
William and Kate battled against one another in a thrilling match of ping pong during a visit to the Dracaena Centre in Falmouth, Cornwall, earlier this year in February.
The Prince and Princess of Wales went head-to-head once again in a table tennis match during a day of engagements in Wolverhampton.
The Duke of Sussex played table tennis during day four of the Invictus Games at Zuiderpark in The Hague in April 2020
Prince Harry had a mischievous grin on his face as he played a round of table tennis with in May 2015
Prince Harry doesn’t normally need his arm twisting before joining in.
But he had to be persuaded to try his hand at table tennis on the fourth day of the recent Invictus Games in The Hague.
One of the competitors attempted to hand him a bat, but the Prince shook his head and repeatedly said no.
As a small crowd urged him to try his luck he reluctantly agreed and joined a wheelchair-bound athlete for a quick knock up.
Previously, he had tried a little table tennis with children at the youth development centre TYLA (Turn Your Life Around) in New Zealand, May 2015.
King Philippe of Belgium
King Philippe of Belgium practises his table tennis skills with a patient during his visit to a post-rehabilitation centre in September 2021 in Herentals, Belgium
Queen Mathilde of Belgium
Queen Mathilde of Belgium in Laken-Laeken, Brussels
Much like her husband, Queen Mathilde of Belgium took to the tennis table at a celebration like a true pro at the Royal Castle in Laken-Laeken, in Brussels, in September 2012.
Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh
Sophie, Countess of Wessex throws herself into the the game in London, September 2018
Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh, gave it her best shot as she tried ping-pong at the 14th BGC Annual Charity Day in commemoration of the company’s employees who died in the 9/11 attack in 2001.
Though the mother-of-two had a wobbly start, she soon got the hang.
Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland
Prince Daniel of Sweden has a go in Eskilstuna, Sweden, in 2018
The British royals aren’t the only ones who find their ping pong skills under scrutiny.
Prince Daniel of Sweden showed off some serious ping pong skills during a visit to Stiga Sports in Eskilstuna, Sweden, in January 2018.
However, the Duke of Västergötland might have had a tad unfair advantage given that before becoming a member of the Swedish Royal Family he was a personal trainer and owner of three gyms in central Stockholm.
Queen Letizia and King Felipe VI of Spain
King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain in Toledo in 2015
King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain would have given the Wales’ a run for their money after they were pictured poised and ready for a game of table tennis at the National Paraplegics Hospital 40th Anniversary in February 2015 in Toledo, Spain.
Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark
Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark sent royal fans wild after a video was shared online of him playing table tennis in August
Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark sent royal fans wild in August after a video was shared online of him playing table tennis.
The royal joined 21 veterans with mental and physical injuries who will be taking part in the Invictus Games and with many fans left amazed by Frederik’s ability.
Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York
Sarah Ferguson, affectionately known as Fergie, giving table tennis a shot while visiting Rockport School in 1988
Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, took her best swing in a brief impromptu table tennis at Rockport School in Northern Ireland during her royal visit in 1988.