Kate Middleton and Prince William Get Competitive with Ping-Pong: 'This Could Go on for Hours'

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JACOB KING/POOL/AFP via Getty Images Kate Middleton

Kate Middleton and Prince William are flying the flag for Mental Health Awareness Week in the U.K.

The royal parents visited Wolverhampton, England, to highlight a series of programs aimed at children's wellbeing on Thursday. They began their trip with a visit to The Way Youth Zone, a local group that motivates and inspires young people and provides opportunities for young people to participate in constructive activities.

Kate, who wore a navy polka dot blouse under a wool coat dress from Catherine Walker & Co, showed off her ping-pong skills and bow and arrow technique before getting her hands dirty alongside William as they potted a few plants.

The sporty couple rarely passes up the chance to take part in games with young people when they are on outings.

"Come on, Catherine!" William said as he encouraged his wife to join his game of ping-pong. "Catherine is really good at table tennis."

As she grabbed her paddle, the couple were clearly in their element. "This could go on for hours," said William. "Talk amongst yourselves!"

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took part in a series of wellbeing sessions with young people and met some ambassadors from the HeadStart program, which is designed to improve the resilience and emotional wellbeing of children and young people by giving them the skills they need to address life's challenges.

Jacob King/AP/Shutterstock Kate Middleton and Prince William

The program is also being utilized by one of Kate's main charities, the Anna Freud Centre, and University College London to evaluate evidence about new ways to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people and prevent serious mental health issues from developing.

They also grabbed their gardening gloves to join a group of children taking part in an exercise to highlight the importance of nature and outdoor activities to mental health.

"Catherine is very good at gardening," William said.

JACOB KING/POOL/AFP via Getty Images Kate Middleton

Prince William

Keisha, one of the young people who showed William and Kate around the center, told reporters, "I asked them about their dog and what they do to be active. They like to walk their dog and spend time with their kids. They like to bake as well and make different foods with their family."

"They asked questions about what we like to do. I spoke about how I like to dance. Catherine said how she loves to be in nature. She likes to go on walks, and is also interested in sport, as we saw outside with the table tennis. They are very competitive!" she continued.

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William and Kate followed up their visit by going across town to see some more projects aimed at supporting the mental health of local people.

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Their second visit was to Base25, a city-center charity operating for more than 20 years to provide support for young people who have difficulties accessing mainstream services. There, the couple heard from a number of young people who use the Base25's services about the impact of the charity's support and met staff that deliver tailored outreach and support to the local community, including during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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They then headed to HugglePets in the Community, a not-for-profit organization founded in 2018 that uses Animal Assisted Therapy to help children with SEN disabilities or those experiencing mental health challenges engage with therapy and wellbeing activities. Working with 25 schools in the area, the Animal Assisted Intervention programs to support kids with anxiety, low mood, confidence, resilience, and suicide awareness.

Thursday's outing marks the second of several interventions William, 38, and Kate, 39, are making as they highlight Mental Health Awareness Week in the U.K. On Monday, Kate released a video of a touching call she made to a teen named Romy who took part in the Duchess of Cambridge's "Hold Still" photo project, which highlighted life amid lockdown.

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Kate Middleton and Prince William

On Friday, the couple will lead voices from around the world in the Mental Health Minute, a special broadcast made to more than 20 million people via 500 radio stations. The initiative will also support Shout 85258, the U.K.'s first free, confidential text support service, which William and Kate launched in May 2019 alongside Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. It provides help from clinical supervisors and trained volunteers to talk to those facing problems.

This year's theme of Mental Health Awareness Week is around nature and the critical role it can play in helping to improve mental wellbeing, which is something Kate has been a big proponent of in recent years.