Prince William donned a pair of boxing gloves but neglected to change out of his suit as he praised the power of sport to provide “hope, connection and opportunity”, while celebrating the 10th anniversary of the charity Coach Core, established by his Royal Foundation.
As well as boxing the prince had a go at a penalty shoot-out while his wife Catherine, the Princess of Wales, had a go at wheelchair bowls at the Copper Box Arena in Queen Elizabeth Park, East London, the home of the London 2012 Olympics.
Prince William and Princess Catherine's Royal Foundation launched the Coach Core programme the same year with the aim of creating the next generation of sports coaches who will themselves go on to inspire their communities.
In a speech to mark the 10-year milestone of Coach Core, now an independent charity, the prince spoke of the “incredible achievements” of the organisation.
The celebration allowed Coach Core apprentices to show guests, who included representations from the charity's partner organisations, activities like boxing, wheelchair bowls and a version of pool, where cues and balls are replaced by footballs and the balls kicked into large pockets.
Prince William himself was tutored by amateur boxers Gabrielle Reid, 18, and 21-year-old Joshua Jones — who are both two months into their Coach Core courses and took it in turns to give the future king a brief training session.
The 18-year-old from Bournemouth watched as William snapped out the jabs and combination shots and then handed him over to her colleague who lightly sparred with the royal.
Ms Reid said: “He picked it up very fast and he said he had boxed before. I didn't have to teach him much. I'm not going to forget this experience, it was crazy.”
The 21-year-old added: “I just went over the fundamentals of boxing — I showed him the jab, backhand and I showed him how to throw a one-two, and his stance and guard.
“He enjoyed it, he said he'd done a bit a before but had a little knuckle injury so wouldn't be taking it up any time soon.”
Among Coach Core's ambassadors are England and Manchester City Women's captain Steph Houghton, gymnast Max Whitlock — a six-time Olympic medallist — and tennis coach Judy Murray.
“We're helping a lot more kids involved in sport by providing good coaches, good role models and [helping] these people into full-time employment — which is incredible,” said Whitlock.
“Two of the biggest problems in gymnastics — it's the same in most sports — is space and coaches.
“Obviously Coach Core is trying to fulfil that need for more and more good quality coaches to support these children who are coming through.”