Kate Middleton and Prince William's only daughter, 4-year-old Charlotte, may very well be a princess and live a royal life in palace, surely full of tiaras and ancient family heirlooms in the future, but she's also just a normal kid. A kid who like things like unicorns and playing games. In fact, Princess Charlotte was recently given a super sporty gift by way of her father that actually has a pretty special tie to the Duchess of Cambridge.
On Nov. 5, during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace, Prince William crossed paths with famous netball player Geva Mentor. During this meeting, Mentor shared a gift she brought for Princess Charlotte, according to Harper's Bazaar. Mentor told reporters that this was not only a gift for Princess Charlotte to enjoy, but would hopefully serve as a learning experience about netball, according to Belfast Telegraph. "I mentioned that I had a netball for little Charlotte," she said. "I think it's so important that kids know what netball is and grow up with it."
In case you didn't grow up playing netball (like myself), here's a quick debriefer on the game. Netball is female dominated a non-contact team sport, where players, wait for it, throw the ball into the net, as the BBC explained. However, any player who makes physical contact with another player is penalized. Netball is all about speed and teamwork. Netball is actually more similar to basketball than volleyball, tennis, or any game played over a net.
If Princess Charlotte has not yet learned about netball at her new school, Thomas's Battersea, then she'll certainly get a crash course with Mentor's gift.
But Middleton could also very easily teach her daughter everything she needs to know about netball. After all, she played it when she was in school. Middleton attended St. Andrew's Day School starting when she was 4 years old and left when she was 13, according to Hello! Magazine. And during this time, Middleton was reportedly a "superstar", joining the school's rounders, tennis, hockey, swimming, and netball teams, according to the Daily Mail. Middleton was apparently excellent in "goal defense" — or the player that has to "stifle the goal attack", according to The Guardian — on her netball team, the Daily Mail reported.
Middleton must have been quite athletic to be so good in goal defense; it's one the "most hard working" and physical roles in the game and requires a fair amount of speed and determination, as The Guardian explained.
During a 2012 visit to St. Andrew's Day School, Middleton reflected on her days as an athlete, according to Hello! Magazine. "It was while I was here at school that I realized my love of sport," Middleton said. "Sport has been such a huge part of my life, and I feel incredibly grateful for the opportunities I had to get outside and play in such wonderful open spaces."
Whether Princess Charlotte has the same love for sports as her mom is still unknown, though she seems active in them. Princess Charlotte and her older brother Prince George are reportedly enrolled in tennis lessons, according to The Sun, with Prince George even getting some private lessons from tennis champion, Roger Federer, according to The Independent. Prince George, for his part, already seems to be pretty obsessed with sports; not only is he interested in tennis, but he's a huge fan of soccer.
Princess Charlotte may not have found the perfect sport for her just yet — she is only 4 years old — but Mentor's thoughtful netball gift may inspire her to try it out. Who knows? Maybe she'll also become a fierce netball competitor, just like her mom.