The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have spent the day in friendly competition as they raised money for a selection of charities.
The couple spent over an hour touring the offices of ICAP this morning, one of the world’s largest market brokers, as they attended its annual Charity Day in a bid to support their chosen patronages.
Based in London, ICAP carries out transactions for large institutions and corporations instead of private individuals and donates today’s revenue and commissions to a section of charities. This year, the money will be split between SkillForce, of which William is Patron, SportsAid and Place2Be, which are both Kate’s patronages.
Wearing a green Davina dress and Jude jacket by LK Bennett, Kate looked radiant as she arrived with her husband, sporting a shorter hairstyle. The royal couple arrived by Jaguar and were welcomed outside by the new Lord Mayor of London, Jeffery Evans. Inside, they met a number of ICAP’s brokers – all donning colourful costumes – before hitting the trading floor to close a series of deals over the phone.
“We should have come in fancy dress,” remarked William as Kate received posies of flowers from local school children, who also treated the Duke and Duchess to a musical performance as they met with dignitaries and charity representatives.
Today was Kate’s debut at ICAP’s fundraising event, which managed to raise £8million last year and has donated £120million over the 22 years it has been running.
William seemed to show his previous knowledge and experience as he took the lead. In 2006, the Prince successfully brokered a multi-million pound deal when he sold 10 billion yen (£45 million) to a client in Amsterdam.
Then 24, William exchanged playful banter with his brother Harry as they both fought to clinch more transactions than the other.
Known for her keen competitive streak, Kate showed no signs of slowing down today though. The 33-year-old Duchess helped to secure a deal for €500m, smiling and laughing as she went from desk to desk to trade between banks.
The money raised from today’s fundraising event will go a long way to help the couple’s charities, especially as the Christmas season draws closer.
William pledged his support to the SkillForce in 2009 as its Royal Patron, joining the likes of General The Lord Dannatt, former Chief of Staff of the British Army, and The Queen’s former Aide-de-Camp, General The Lord Ramsbotham, who are also Patrons of the charity.
Place2Be have already seen the Duchess offer her support recently. Last month, she made a heartfelt speech at the charity’s Headteacher Conference in which she urged school leaders to do more to raise awareness and tackle mental health issues in the country’s schools.
Speaking of ICAP’s donation today, a Place2Be spokesperson said: “Due to a huge demand for its services, in the next five years Place2Be will double its training activity. A donation from ICAP will fund the ‘ICAP Training Room’ in the charity’s new Centre of Excellence, creating an environment where future generations of professionals will be trained to deliver expert mental health support.”
The charity, which Kate became Patron of in 2013, is aiming to provide training for 6,000 professionals by 2021, helping the emotional wellbeing of over 380,000 children.
Indulging in a little fun, Kate tried her hand at the broker’s Slam Dunk challenge, throwing a basketball and successfully scoring a goal to rapturous cheers from the assembled crowd. Looking on intently, William joined the celebration, giving his wife a round of applause and smiling warmly.
Earlier, the pair battled against each other in a game of doubles ping-pong, joined by representatives from SportsAid. Kate conceded defeat to William and his partner after a strong serve and rally from the Prince sent the ball into the net.
SportsAid CEO, Tim Lawler, said: “Being involved today with ICAP will create a new talent fund to support tomorrow’s heroes today. We’re honoured to have such a committed Royal Patron in the HRH The Duchess of Cambridge,” adding “Her support shines a spotlight on these young athletes.”
The charity, which celebrates its 40th anniversary next year, is using ICAP’s donation to fund training and competition costs for Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls.
The Duke and Duchess , both of whom are passionate about sport and young people’s welfare, will carry out separate engagements over the next week. Kate is set to visit an Action on Addiction treatment centre in Wiltshire tomorrow and will join students and parents for a Christmas party at the Anna Freud Centre next week, in what’s expected to be her final engagement before Christmas.
William, meanwhile, will present the Government Ebola Medal to British Army Medics who served in West Africa during the fight against the disease epidemic. The Duke will present 160 of the medals, the first awarded for service in a humanitarian crisis, at Keogh Barracks in Aldershot tomorrow.