The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have enlisted celebrity teammates for their head-to-head charity yacht race next week, as the Duke signs up Bear Grylls to take on the Duchess’ Olympic rowing champion.
The royal couple are taking part the King’s Cup regatta, each skippering their own yachts to raise money and awareness for eight of their charity patronages.
Today, Kensington Palace announced they would be joined by six public figures working as ambassadors for each charity, from an England football Lioness to a historian Dan Snow already starting the fighting talk.
Eight yachts will represent causes supported by the Duke and Duchess and will race on August 9 on waters around Cowes on the Isle of Wight.
The Duke will compete on behalf of Child Bereavement UK, England Women’s footballer Fara Williams represents Centrepoint, historian Dan Snow will race for London’s Air Ambulance Charity’s 30th anniversary campaign and Bear Grylls will skipper a yacht for wildlife conservation organisation Tusk.
The Duchess has chosen four of her patronages and will compete on behalf of the Royal Foundation, in connection with her work on the early years development of children.
Comedian John Bishop will compete for Action on Addiction, BBC presenter Katie Thistleton for Place2Be, and Olympic champion rower Helen Glover for the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families.
The winning team will be awarded the King’s Cup, a trophy first presented by King George V at Cowes’ Royal Yacht Squadron in 1920.
Sharing the news yesterday, Snow said on Twitter: “I know this is all for charity and they are all wonderful causes etc.
“But me and the @LDNairamb [London Air Ambulance] will annihilate all comers, like the terrible wrath of the divine wind that smashed the giant fleet of the Great Khan on the rocky shores of the Tsushima Straits.”
The Duke and Duchess hope the King’s Cup regatta will become an annual event, bringing greater awareness to the benefits of sport, while also raising support and funds for their causes.
The event will also give the couple the chance to renew their sporting rivalry.
The duke trounced his wife when they competed in a dragon boat race in Canada in 2011, but his wife sought revenge three years later when she won a sailing event in Auckland during their tour of New Zealand.
Prince William took the honours again during a visit to the German city of Heidelberg in 2017, when he was victorious in a riverboat race.
Members of the public can watch the race from the SailGP Race Village along the Cowes foreshore, which is free to access and will include an 800-seater grandstand.
Footage from the race will play on screens across the town and there will be a number of family-friendly activities and exhibits to promote sailing around the event, including initiatives and programmes for children and young people.