The Princess of Wales was cheered by fans as she walked on the pitch ahead of England’s Rugby League World Cup quarter-final against Papua New Guinea.
Kate received the warm welcome at Wigan’s DW Stadium as she attended her first game since succeeding the Duke of Sussex as patron of the Rugby Football League (RFL).
Wearing a red coat over a long-sleeved burgundy top and pleated skirt, the princess shook hands with players from both teams before the crunch match kicked off, just after 2.30pm.
Kate, with an umbrella to cover her from the rain, clapped during a moment of “non-silence” held to mark the tournament’s Movember Mental Fitness Match Day, aimed at tackling the damaging impact that silence can have upon men’s mental health.
She took a seat to watch the match, which started well for the host nation with England scoring a try six minutes in.
Arriving at the stadium, the princess said: “There are a lot of very excited fans out there.”
She met officials including TV presenter Clare Balding, the president of the Rugby Football League, who told her she was going to as many of the tournament’s games as she could.
Kate also congratulated the England Physical Disability Rugby League (PDRL) team on winning the first PDRL World Cup after beating New Zealand in the final last Sunday.
The princess asked members of the team about how they had prepared for the games and told them: “Really well done.”
She also spoke to representatives from groups who have played a part in the delivery of the Rugby League World Cup Social Impact Programme.
The programme, launched in June 2018, aims to provide a positive impact to communities in the tournament’s host towns and cities.
Volunteers presented the princess with gifts including soap, a signed shirt, artwork and some knitted hats.
Kate told volunteer Susan Hill, who knitted the hats: “I tried knitting once and I was terrible at it, so I’ll have to come for lessons.”
Ms Hill replied: “It’s easy when you know how.”
The draw for the World Cup was launched by Harry in January 2020, just over a week after he announced he wanted to step down with wife Meghan as a working royal for personal and financial freedom.
There was an expectation he would attend the tournament hosted by England, but it was postponed for a year after Australia and New Zealand refused to take part, citing safety fears on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic.