Will and Kate get their kicks from soccer elite
In a sea of English soccer superstars in short pants, the Duchess of Cambridge still managed to stand out on the field Tuesday.
She and Prince William, whose titles include President of the Football Association, had travelled to Burton-Upon-Trent in Staffordshire for the opening of St. George's Park and the FA's National Football Centre.
Wearing a $500 grey Angel coat from Reiss, a $100 Betony belt and very non-soccer-like knee-high black suede boots, the duchess joined William for a tour of the $160-million facility which is the new training centre for England's teams. She showed no shyness about her football knowledge -- or lack thereof -- as she chatted with players (including Adam Johnson and Frank Lampard, left).
The couple arrived by helicopter at a nearby airfield and were whisked to the facility, where they were also treated a flypast from three Squirrel helicopters of the Defence Helicopter Flying School.
In a short speech to thank those who contributed to the centre, the Duke, as is his wont, couldn't resist bringing up his little brother: "I feel tempted to cry 'God for Harry, England and St. George,' but I really don't want to lower the tone by bringing my brother into it."
The prince praised the new facility, which boasts 12 pitches among its 330 acres. "It is more than just the university from which thousands of highly qualified coaches will graduate," he said in his speech. "It is also a magnificent example of the sort of social initiative that brings opportunity and purpose to wider British life."
One of the more interesting moments came when William posed next to Ashley Cole (right) for a 'team' picture. Cole, who plays for Chelsea, has been under a lot of heat after attacking the FA via Twitter for finding teammate John Terry guilty of making racist comments during a match. The FA had questioned the evidence Cole presented at a hearing. On Friday, Cole tweeted: "Hahahahaa, well done #fa I lied did I, #BUNCHOFT***S."
On Tuesday, face-to-face with the FA president, Cole -- who is in line for a heavy fine -- looked a little sheepish as he shook William's hand and covered his eyes while William grinned and made a joke. Sources told the Daily Mail that the Prince told Cole: "If you continue to be a naughty boy then they will take your Twitter account off you."
The visit comes in the middle of one of the busiest weeks at home for the royal couple. They were in London for a reception with scholarship winners on Monday. On Wednesday, Kate will be flying solo in northeast England, making stops at Newcastle, Gateshead and Stockton-on-Tees. William will miss those engagements as he attends the funeral of his former nanny, Olga Powell. On Thursday, he'll be at St. James's Palace for a gala dinner.
Kate remained stylish in spite of the workout at a reaction tester. The Duchess wore a coat from one of her High Street favourites, Reiss, coupled with a Betony belt and black suede boots.
An aerial view of St. George's Park, home of the new National Football Centre at Burton-Upon-Trent. It boasts 12 soccer pitches, two hotels, and state-of-the-art training facilities and therapy clinics. (Getty Images)