Catherine, The Princess of Wales has given her support to another epic sport and has become the patron of ‘Woman’s Solo Trek Across Antarctica’. The British army officer and physiotherapist, Preet Chandi, is attempting to be the first woman of colour to complete the first-ever ‘Woman’s Solo Trek Across Antarctica’ -a 1,000-mile journey.
“The Princess of Wales is delighted to be the patron of the mission as an advocate of the huge impact the outdoors can have on our well-being 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. Preet’s historic expedition is the pinnacle of such activity and that is why The Princess is delighted to have been invited to be Patron“- Kensington Palace.
The Princess has given her name and support to the mission in an attempt to bring more women trekkers to attempt the adventure journey as part of her long-standing cause of mental well-being and outdoors. Catherine has been championing the positive impact of the outdoors on mental health for a long time. From The Telegraph’s report,
The patronage follows in a long tradition for the Royal Family, dating back to King Edward VII’s support of Scott’s Discovery expedition in 1901 and Shackleton’s Nimrod in 1907.
Famously known as ‘Polar Preet’ is believed to be the first woman of colour to complete an unsupported expedition to the South Pole. She has already completed the 700 miles in only 40 days. You can read her journey and daily updates on her blog here. You can also support her here.
“My aim is to complete a solo, unsupported crossing of Antarctica, travelling over 1000 miles, pulling a pulk (sledge) with all of my kit, battling temperatures of -50c and wind speeds of up to 60mph. I expect the journey to take approximately 75 days. This journey would make me the first female to cross Antarctica, solo and unsupported. I will be taking a period of leave from the Army to conduct the expedition. It is an absolute privilege to have The Princess of Wales as the Patron.” Preet Chandi.
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The Princess of Wales, Catherine, is not the first Royal to support a polar expedition. King Edward VII was the first one to support the trekkers and began the tradition of raising the Union flag in the name of the King and Country. The Late Queen Elizabeth II supported British explorer Vivian Fuchs and New Zealand’s Sir Edmund Hillary who famously led the 1956 Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition. The late Duke of Edinburgh was the first Royal to cross the Antarctic Circle in 1957.
The Princess herself is a keen sportsperson and actively participates in various sporting activities like swimming, tennis, and skiing. Catherine is also a patron of various sporting organizations like All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, SportsAid, The 1851 Trust, The Lawn Tennis Association, The Rugby Football Union and the Rugby Football League. She is also the vice president of The Scout Association.
In 2019 when she designed a ‘Back to Nature Garden’ for the Chelsea Flower show, Catherine talked about her own kids’ outdoor habits and said, “Yes, “rain or shine” they get “dragged outside. But it’s great, and I see it encourages creativity and confidence. Even a short amount of time 10 to 15 minutes outside makes a huge difference I think to both physical well-being and also to our mental well-being.” The Duchess’s RHS Chelsea garden aimed to trigger memories of time spent in nature, and encourage others to go out and create new experiences in the great outdoors.