Princess of Wales welcomes Navy sailors as she hosts at Windsor Castle for the first time

The Princess has recently moved to Windsor with her family
The Princess has recently moved to Windsor with her family

The Princess of Wales has been photographed hosting at Windsor Castle for the first time in her new official duties, as she welcomed sailors from the Royal Navy into the grandeur of the semi-State rooms.

The Princess, who has moved onto the Windsor estate with her husband and three children, held an audience in the Green Drawing Room, used regularly by Queen Elizabeth II for receptions and portraits.

Dressed in a formal navy suit and white blouse, she hosted the ship’s company of HMS Glasgow for conversation and a group photograph, in a sign of the new royal era in action.

In 2021, she became the sponsor of the City Class Type 26 frigate, which is currently under construction in Govan, Scotland.

Sailors said the Princess's 'enthusiasm and genuine interest in us really shone through'
Sailors said the Princess's 'enthusiasm and genuine interest in us really shone through'

Although the Prince and Princess of Wales are maintaining their Kensington Palace office as their main base for official duties and staff, it is thought they will also now use Windsor Castle for their work where it makes logistical sense.

In September, shortly before the death of Queen Elizabeth II, they moved their family into Adelaide Cottage, just a stone's throw away.

At the time, it was hoped that the house - chosen primarily to fit in with Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince George's new school nearby - would allow them to spend more time with the late Queen, who considered it her home.

Now the castle has passed to the King, with reports that the Waleses will one day use it more permanently.

Sources have emphasised that there are no plans to change the family's living or working arrangements in the near future.

It is the second time the Prince and Princess have chosen to undertake engagements in their new home this week, following a trip to the Windsor Guildhall to thank those who worked on the late Queen's funeral.

On Thursday, the Princess spent time with dozens of sailors to hear how the HMS Glasgow build is going and what life is like in the Royal Navy.

Photographs of the event, released by Kensington Palace, show them in the striking formal location of the drawing room, with its vivid green wallpaper and furniture, chandeliers and golden picture frames.

The Princess with sailors from the Royal Navy
The Princess with sailors from the Royal Navy

The room was regularly used by the late Queen, including for hosting visiting heads of state, and was the setting for numerous family photographs, including the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the christening of Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.

Described as a semi-State room, it was designed in the reign of George IV and rebuilt after the Windsor Castle fire.

It is one of the first engagements for the family following the end of royal mourning this week.

“It was a huge honour to be invited to Windsor Castle and to meet Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales,” said Darran Sullivan, the ship’s executive warrant officer.

“The appointment of sponsor signals an enduring connection between the ship’s crew and Her Royal Highness. It is clear from meeting her that she has a real interest in HMS Glasgow and in the lives of those who will serve onboard.”

Petty Officer Colin Chalmers, who joined as one of HMS Glasgow’s Marine Engineers last month, echoed the sentiment - saying: “It was amazing meeting the Princess of Wales, particularly as there was such a small group of us in attendance.

“The moment she walked into the room her enthusiasm and genuine interest in us really shone through and put us immediately at ease.”

During a trip to the shipyard last year, the then-Duke of Cambridge said: “Her Majesty the Queen has approved the appointment of my wife Catherine as sponsor of the superb ship we see taking shape outside – HMS Glasgow.

“I know that Catherine will be delighted to join you here in Glasgow for the naming ceremony in due course.”