Royal Family members playing sport, from Prince Harry on the polo field to Queen Elizabeth riding at Ascot

Megan C. Hills
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Several members of the Royal Family are known to be avid sports fans, filling the VIP boxes at events including Royal Ascot and Wimbledon.

Queen Elizabeth’s passion for horse riding is while documented, while others spread their interests between rugby, sailing, polo and cricket.

Some royals are patrons of sporting organisations which tally with their own interests, like the Duchess of Cambridge (the royal patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club) who loves to play the sport.

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But the Duchess also recently played cricket during the Cambridges' royal tour of Pakistan. Her husband, Prince William, is also patron of the England Rugby Football Union while his brother Prince Harry is patron of the Welsh Rugby Football Union.

Prince William playing rugby in 2005 (Getty Images)

Beyond rugby, Prince Harry also champions charitable sporting initiative the Invictus Games - a sports tournament for injured servicemen and women - and runs the Sentebale Cup, a charity polo tournament held to raise money for his foundation supporting children suffering from HIV in Lesotho and Botswana.

Prince George and Princess Charlotte are also sports fans in the making, as the pair attended their very first football game earlier this year. Prince George was pictured going wild at an Aston Villa v Norwich City football match.

The royals have a history of enjoying sport - with members of the older generations pictured playing in their youth.

Prince Charles playing cricket in 1968 (Getty Images)

Prince Charles’s passion for polo will feature in episode three of The Crown as the actors were seen staging a match on the show's set in Spain. In his youth Prince Charles competed in charity matches regularly and has more recently joined his sons on the pitch.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles horse riding in 1960 (Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are also big fans of equine events, as Royal Ascot is the sporting highlight of the Queen's calendar while Prince Philip also enjoyed playing polo - passing on his passion to his sons and grandsons.

Prince Philip in 1955 (Getty Images)

As one of the most famous families in the world the Windsors also regularly have the opportunity to meet accomplished athletes. Prince Harry has joined champion sprinter Usain Bolt and the All Blacks New Zealand rugby team for training sessions.

Prince Harry and Usain Bolt in 2012 (Getty Images)

Kate Middleton also revealed Prince George had been given tennis lessons by none other than Roger Federer, with tennis player Harriet Dart saying, "George’s favourite tennis player is Roger Federer, and he’s actually got to play with him. The whole family loves tennis, and George is apparently quite a good player.”

Prince Harry, Kate Middleton and Prince William race each other

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The royal brothers and Kate Middleton all headed to the London Olympic Park back in 2017, where they raised awareness for their mental health charity Heads Together. The trio were there to support runners training for the London Marathon, but gave the 25 mile track a go while they were there in a quick race.

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The spirit of brotherly competition was alive and well that day, as Prince Harry and Prince William were seen sprinting down the track. Prince Harry emerged victorious while Prince William came in second, followed closely by his wife.

Kate Middleton beats Prince William in a boat race

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are known to face off regularly in charity boating events, though Kate ruled the waves during a 2014 state visit to New Zealand.

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She and her husband faced off on separate America’s Cup yachts and she beat him not once, but twice with the help of yachtsman Dean Barker.

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According to the Mirror, Prince William shouted to the crowd, “We were sabotaged!” as Kate saluted him.

Prince Harry playing sport in Afghanistan

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Prince Harry served in the military and went on two tours of duty to Afghanistan. His time in the army set the groundwork for his charitable work as he set up the Invictus Games to support injured servicemen and women.

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In the above picture, he was seen taking a break as he kicked a rugby ball and football around with his fellow soldiers.

Prince Philip batting for Queen Elizabeth

Prince Philip playing cricket in 1947 (Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth reportedly fell in love with her husband on a tennis court in Devon back in 1939. King George VI took his daughters to see Royal Naval College, where a then 18-year-old Prince Philip took them on a tour.

According to royal biographer Sir John Wheeler-Bennet, Prince Philip began to show off for the royals by jumping over the tennis court nets, with Queen Elizabeth’s governess at the time saying, “I thought he showed off a good deal. She never took her eyes off him.”

Prince Philip playing cricket in 1953 (Getty Images)

At the time of the Royal Naval College tour, Queen Elizabeth was thirteen years old. Prince Philip later told biographer Basil Boothroyd that although Queen Elizabeth may have fallen for him, he thought it was “a very amusing experience” and “that was that."

Meghan Markle meeting her baseball player cousin

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The Duchess of Sussex hasn’t been seen playing sports since joining the Royal Family (though she has been seen leaving yoga classes with her mother, who is a trained instructor).

She has been seen cheering on the pros from the sidelines, from her close friend Serena Williams at Wimbledon through to her distant relative Mookie Betts, who plays for the Red Sox baseball team.

Strangely enough, Meghan met Betts for the very first time just this year - after the Boston Globe revealed Mookie Betts and Meghan were very distantly related.

Meghan attended the Red Sox’s game in London, where she and Prince Harry went into the locker room and gave Betts a hug before inviting him to dinner.

Meghan hugging Mookie Betts (Getty Images)

Betts told her, “We’re family, somehow.”

According to RTE, Prince Harry also asked if anybody else on the team thought they were related to Meghan - which prompted several players to put their hand up.

Prince Harry, Prince William and Prince Charles at St James’ Palace Polo Day

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In 2004, Prince Charles and his sons bonded over a shared love of polo when they took part in a charity match to raise money for George Thomas Hospice Care.

Prince Harry and Mike Tindall at a demo rugby match

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To raise awareness for Prince Harry’s Invictus Games - a tournament and charity for injured servicemen and women - Harry and his cousin-in-law Mike Tindall took part in a charity rugby match.

As part of an exhibition wheelchair rugby match, Harry went head-to-head with former England professional player Tindall.

Prince Harry’s cousin Zara (who is married to Tindall) also took part in the match.

Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret riding at Ascot

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In 1968 the Queen and Princess Margaret hit the Ascot racecourse. The Queen was pictured wearing a headscarf as she stood up expertly in her stirrups, while Princess Margaret and Prince Edward followed closely behind her.

Prince Edward golfing

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Prince Edward, also known as the Duke of Windsor, was a fan of golf. In this picture the Prince, who abdicated after he became King in order to marry divorcee Wallis Simpson, is seen smoking from a pipe as he pulled a club out of a golf bag with a uniformed caddy by his side.

King George VI practising his golf swing

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One of the oldest examples of a royal sporting moment, this picture of King George VI was taken in 1911 as he practised his golf swing in Newquay in Cornwall.

Kate Middleton reviving her school sports glory

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Kate was a keen athlete growing up, playing everything from hockey to tennis. The Duchess proved she was still a field hockey contender ahead of the London Olympics, when she played with the men’s and women’s GB hockey teams.

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The Middleton family is also a regular fixture at Wimbledon. Kate took over as royal patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club and supports tennis clubs and foundations for young people. She swung a racket about last year to support the Coach Core Essex apprenticeship scheme.