Kate Middleton joins Captain Preet Chandi on school visit
A royal strongwoman! Princess of Wales ditches her Zara blazer to try her hand at tyre pulling as she hears about Army Captain’s training for expedition to Antarctica
- The Princess of Wales was patron of Capt Chandi’s expedition across Antarctica
- Duo are visiting Landau Forte College in Capt Chandi’s hometown of Derby
- READ: Princess of Wales ‘has one strict household rule her children can’t break’
The Princess of Wales cut an elegant figure as she visited a college in Derby alongside Captain Preet Chandi MBE to celebrate the Army officer’s return from her solo expedition across Antarctica.
Kate, 41, was patron of Capt Chandi’s expedition, where she broke the world record for the furthest unsupported solo polar ski expedition in history after covering 922 miles in 70 days and 16 hours.
Looking typically stylish, the royal mother-of-three opted for a white £69.99, double-breasted blazer from Zara for the engagement. Kate debuted a now favoured red version of the jacket in 2020.
The visit to Landau Forte College in Capt Chandi’s hometown kicks off the Army officer’s UK-wide tour of schools, during which she will share her story with the next generation.
During today’s outing, Capt Chandi, dubbed ‘Polar Preet’, made a speech to students about her expedition and was joined by Kate in presenting an award to Simrat Soggi, one of the winners of the officer’s national school logo competition.
The Princess of Wales (pictured) cut an elegant figure as she visited a college in Derby alongside Captain Preet Chandi MBE to celebrate the Army officer’s return from her solo expedition across Antarctica
Kate looked effortlessly elegant in the statement jacket, which she teamed with navy trousers and a white top, as well as recycled £120 Veja trainers.
Adding a touch of glitz to her ensemble, the mother-of-three sported a pair of dainty stud earrings, while wearing a smattering of glamorous makeup.
The princess joined students as they took part in some activities which bring to life the expedition and how Capt Chandi prepared for it, including some examples of how she trained and the types of food she consumed.
Removing her jacket, Kate tried her hand at tyre pulling, admitting: ‘I need to do some training.’
Finally, Capt Chandi and Kate chatted to a group of Year 11 and Year 13 students about building resilience and mental wellbeing in all aspects of life.
The princess has long been an advocate of the huge impact the outdoors can have on our wellbeing and the life skills it nurtures, such as confidence and resilience.
She is committed to promoting this to young people, including through her work with organisations such as the Scouts, of which she is joint President.
Capt Chandi covered 922 miles – 1,485km – in 70 days and 16 hours, breaking the record for the longest solo unsupported and unassisted expedition in Antarctica, according to the British Army.
The Princess of Wales pulls tyres behind her during a visit to Landau Forte College, in Derby, to celebrate Captain Preet Chandi’s return from her solo expedition across Antarctica
Kate (pictured trying her hand at tyre pulling) looked effortlessly elegant in the statement jacket, which she teamed with navy trousers and a white top, as well as recycled £90 Veja trainers
The Princess of Wales (left) greets Captain Preet Chandi during a visit to Landau Forte College, in Derby
The previous world record of 907 miles was set in 2015 by fellow soldier Henry Worsley, a retired lieutenant colonel, who later died after collapsing from exhaustion towards the end of the trek.
Capt Chandi, dubbed ‘Polar Preet’, fell short of completing her target of going coast to coast, around 100 miles from where she was picked up.
The 33-year-old said: ‘Mentally, it was tough knowing I didn’t have enough time to make the crossing, but the expedition was about pushing my boundaries and inspiring others to do the same, so how could I not continue?
‘I’m disappointed I ran out of time to make the crossing of Antarctica, but I did everything I could. I didn’t take a day off and pushed as hard as possible every day. I’m proud that I kept going when it was tough and I thought I couldn’t do any more.’
Capt Chandi skied for between 13 and 15 hours per day with as little as five hours’ sleep at times.
During today’s outing, Capt Chandi, dubbed ‘Polar Preet’, made a speech to students about her expedition and was joined by Kate in presenting an award to Simrat Soggi, one of the winners of the officer’s national school logo competition
During the trek she pulled all her kit and supplies on a sledge, which weighed around 19 stone (120kg), while battling temperatures as low as minus 30C and wind speeds of up to 60mph.
Capt Chandi completed the challenge while on a period of leave from her Army role, having joined the Army Reserves at the age of 19 and the regular Army at 27.
She is now based in Buckinghamshire, working as a physiotherapist at a regional rehabilitation unit, helping injured soldiers with training and rehabilitation.
A GoFundMe page has raised more than £11,000, half of which will go to an ‘adventure grant’ for women carrying out ‘unique challenges’, while the other half will go towards Capt Chandi’s next expedition.
Last year, she became the first woman of colour to embark on a solo expedition on the continent when she completed a 700-mile (1,127km) ski to the South Pole in January.
Capt Chandi covered 922 miles – 1,485km – in 70 days and 16 hours, breaking the record for the longest solo unsupported and unassisted expedition in Antarctica, according to the British Army
In that challenge she finished the trek in 40 days, seven hours and three minutes, becoming the third-fastest female to complete the feat.
Steve Jones, expedition manager for Antarctic Logistics Expeditions (Ale), said: ‘Preet’s aim of skiing more than 1,700km across Antarctica alone and without resupply is one of the most physically demanding challenges on Earth.
‘Although she ran out of time after almost 71 hard days and did not complete the last leg of the planned route down the Reedy Glacier to the Ross Ice Shelf, she has skied further unsupported and alone than anyone in history.
‘Her indomitable courage and determination are quite remarkable – she has pushed the boundaries of human endeavour.’
Lieutenant General Sharon Nesmith, Deputy Chief of the General Staff, said: ‘The British Army is immensely proud of Captain Chandi.
‘To achieve what she has in the face of extremely arduous conditions and battle on bravely, refusing to give up, and to be the best she can possibly be is a huge inspiration to so many around the world.’
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