Video: Kate and William in Portsmouth

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Portsmouth today for the America’s Cup World Series.

Despite the abandonment of racing, the royal couple started their visit at the Naval Base to tour the visiting teams’ technical areas and meet the skippers and crews.

William and Kate then visited the home of Ben Ainslie Racing on the Camber to meet staff and their families and tour the state-of-the-art facility.

They arrived clad in sailing gear - official BAR jackets, informal trousers and shoes.


Royal visit picture slideshow here


At the Ben Ainslie Racing base, the couple inspected sections including the operations room, the sailing simulator and the centre’s state-of-the-art gym.

In the centre’s main hall, Prince William and Kate met BAR staff members and their families.

Sisters Ella, 13, and Millie, 11, presented Kate with BAR tops with Charlotte and George written on them.

Ella said she was thrilled to meet the Duchess.

She said Kate loved the tops.

‘She said they were really sweet and said I’m sure they’ll fit perfectly.’

Kevin Shoebridge, chief operating officer of the New Zealand team, said he was delighted the royal couple had come to support the event.

He said: ‘It’s great.

‘We’ve actually got a bit of a connection with them because they came to News Zealand on a visit last year.

‘We took them out sailing.’

Portsmouth Lord Mayor Councillor Frank Jonas said it was wonderful to meet Prince William and Kate.

‘It was a real pleasure. They’re very down to earth and the Duchess knows a lot about sailing.’

Kate is patron of the 1851 Trust, a sailing charity which is based in the building.

It was her second visit to the site this year after being shown around the base in February by Land Rover BAR skipper Sir Ben Ainslie.

When William and Kate first arrived in Portsmouth, they had hoped to meet the five captains of the foreign crews at the city’s historic dockyard where they are based.

But they were only able to meet local dignitaries and senior naval officers, but did manage to talk to a senior executive from the New Zealand team.

As they walked into a large marquee that was the Kiwis’ base, William told the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire Nigel Atkinson: “Sorry the weather’s so bad. “

The royal couple both wore team BAR (Ben Ainslie Racing) jackets with Duke of Cambridge and Duchess of Cambridge emblazoned on the back, and Kate was in leggings while William had dark jeans.

The Duke joked with Grant Dalton, chief executive officer of team New Zealand, telling him: “We want you guys to do well, but not that well.”

Mr Dalton had taken William out into Auckland harbour when the Duke and Duchess raced against each other in Team New Zealand America’s Cup yachts last year.

He said after speaking to William: “He’s got to back the home team. But the All Blacks are going to beat England in the Rugby World Cup this year.”

During the brief reception Colonel Mike Tanner presented the royal couple with wooden models of the aircraft carriers HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Queen Elizabeth which are due to come into service.

Col Tanner said: “They have been tested in the water they do float. These are models to be used at bath times by Prince George and Princess Charlotte.”

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