Princess Anne thrilled members of the Thames Sailing Club on Tuesday (June 22) when she paid them a visit on the club's 150th anniversary.

The princess, who is also the president of the Royal Yachting Association and a keen sailor herself, and shared words with old hands, dedicated sailors and kids learning the ropes at the club alike.

Her visit also coincided with the launch of a planned refurbishment of the club itself, and the princess symbolically launched proceedings by planting a tree on site.

Anne meanwhile presided over several special races that were held to mark the occasion, including a children’s race in Topper and Optimist dinghies, a Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) race, a Merlin Rocket dinghy race and a race for the club’s 'Thames A Raters', the famous Thames racers dating from 1898, presenting prizes to the winners.

"It was a privilege to host The Princess Royal. We are proud of our links to the royal family through Prince Philip, whose passing we mourn greatly, so this visit was very special to us," TSC Commodore Matt Kyte said, referencing the late Duke of Edinburgh who was a long-standing patron of the club.

Surrey Comet: Princess Anne plants a tree to mark the occasion. Image: TSCPrincess Anne plants a tree to mark the occasion. Image: TSC

"We believe her visit was also especially timely, coming as it did so close to our 150th year, but also as we are very much looking ahead.

"As a charitable trust we will be offering more to the community, we will be improving the club’s facilities, and have welcomed paddleboarders as an integral part of TSC.

"All in all, the club is becoming a thoroughly modern watersports centre to ensure a healthy future," Kyte added.

Thames Sailing Club, who presented the princess with a new book charting 150 years of sailing on the river, was formed in 1870 purportedly as Britain’s first river sailing club, and played a leading role in the development of leisure sailing in the UK.

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