Eager Princess Charlotte dives straight into action at first Commonwealth Games trip

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Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte at Commonwealth Game - Elsa/Getty Images
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte at Commonwealth Game - Elsa/Getty Images

Princess Charlotte was put through her paces for her first royal engagement with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as a day out to watch the swimming turned into handshakes, science tests and mounting Team England medals.

The seven-year-old princess made a rare official appearance alongside her parents for the Commonwealth Games.

Usually joined by Prince George, her older brother, when they are allowed on engagements, the Princess made the most of her school summer holidays with a trip to Birmingham to cheer on Commonwealth competitors.

She said that her own favourite sport is gymnastics, but appeared fascinated by the live swimming heats and hockey match in front of her.

Wearing a navy and white striped dress with a white collar and sandals, she had her hair in neat plaited pigtails for the outing.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte at Commonwealth Games - Jacob King/PA Wire
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte at Commonwealth Games - Jacob King/PA Wire

Her mother, in a white Alexander McQueen suit, had left her striking engagement ring at home in case the opportunity to join in any sports training arose, but wore her more discreet wedding ring for the family outing.

Both Duke and Duchess kept a close eye on their well-behaved daughter, encouraging her to join conversations and activities put on the showcase Commonwealth sport.

At one point, the Princess’s knowledge was tested with a nutritional challenge, in which she helped group food into nutritional categories – successfully assigning chicken and beans to the protein section.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte at Commonwealth Games - Chris Jackson/Pool via Reuters
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte at Commonwealth Games - Chris Jackson/Pool via Reuters
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte at Commonwealth Games - Chris Jackson/PA Wire
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte at Commonwealth Games - Chris Jackson/PA Wire

With a lifetime of plaque unveiling ahead of her, she was also tasked with celebrating Team England’s success, updating their model board by pinning a bronze from the men’s team table tennis event, and a silver from the lawn bowls men’s pairs.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte at Commonwealth Games - Chris Jackson/PA Wire
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte at Commonwealth Games - Chris Jackson/PA Wire

Tim Lawler, the chief executive of SportsAid, a partner organisation of the Team England Futures programme, hosted the visit at the University of Birmingham.

He said: “I did notice the Duke and the Duchess, as we were trying to do, include Charlotte in the conversations. We were very mindful of that and it was really very evident the Duke and Duchess were doing that to, I suppose, include her and reassure her.

“She was charming, very willing to put the medals on the medal board, and she asked the right question, which was ‘Where exactly should I put this?’ It was by date and she checked.

“She really, really loved seeing the swimming. But she’s interested in the gymnastics, and while they’re trying lots of different sports at home, I understand, when I asked her about sport she answered very easily and said ‘It’s gymnastics that I like’.”

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte at Commonwealth Games - Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte at Commonwealth Games - Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Once the official duties were complete, the Cambridges joined the Earl and Countess of Wessex and their children Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor and James, Viscount Severn to watch the swimming and hockey.

Princess Charlotte, who was given a helpful commentary of what was going on from both her parents, pulled a range of animated expressions throughout the competition, at one point giving a thumbs up.

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