Duchess of Cambridge: 'Hugs are very important'

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The Duchess of CambridgeImage source, Shutterstock
Image caption,
The Duchess of Cambridge hugged children as she arrived in Basildon

The Duchess of Cambridge has revealed that she regularly teaches her children about the importance of hugs.

The mother-of-three was at the Basildon Sporting Village with her husband, the Duke of Cambridge, to highlight the ability of sport to change lives.

She embraced young fans, along with Janet Emery, 58, who hugged both Catherine and Prince William.

"Thank you very much," Catherine told her. "Hugs are very important. I keep saying that to my children."

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Prince William and Catherine joined in with activities at the sports centre

During the visit, the duchess played tennis, while the duke tried javelin practice, as they met young trainee coaches enrolled in the Royal Foundation's Coach Core project.

It aims to empower those not in education or employment by training them up as the next generation of sports coaches - who will hopefully go on to inspire their communities.

Image source, AFP/Getty Images
Image caption,
Catherine showed off her tennis skills during the visit

Hugging members of the Royal Family is said to break with traditional protocol - you are not meant to touch a royal when meeting them unless they offer their hand to you first to shake.

But BBC royal correspondent Jonny Dymond said these are "customs and practices" rather than "a book of rules".

You will not see the senior royals, such as the Queen or Prince Charles, handing out hugs.

But, for the younger generation, he says "nothing is set in stone", adding: "Reinvention is something they have become rather good at."

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have flouted the tradition throughout their tour of Australia and New Zealand, embracing a number of well-wishers - one of which stroked Prince Harry's beard.