One of the best things about scuba is its inclusiveness. In the last year, we’ve heard about 13-year old scuba ambassadors, diving courses for amputees, and 90 year-old retirees taking the plunge for the first time. Kensington Palace recently announced that the Duchess of Cambridge recently became certified as a PADI Advanced Open Water diver, confirming that the sport is a favorite pastime for royals as well.
Kate isn’t the first member of the British royal family to don scuba tank, however. Her husband, Prince William, took over from his father Prince Charles as the President of the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) last year, becoming the third generation of the monarchy to hold the position. According to British national newspaper The Telegraph, Kate’s decision to upgrade her Open Water certification was the result of friendly competition with her royal husband. Now qualified to dive to 98 feet (30 m), Kate can join William in exploring deeper dive sites during their regular trips to the private Caribbean island of Mustique.
Part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Mustique has long been a favorite holiday destination for the royal couple. When William succeeds to the British throne, he will also become King of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It is thought that Kate signed up for her advanced course so that she would be able to dive with sharks at one of the island’s deeper dive sites. According to fellow diver Kelly Fisher Katz, who met William and Kate while vacationing in Mustique, “we went diving, and they went very deep, more than 90 feet…we weren’t qualified to go on the shark dives that they went on.”
Kate is thought to have earned her AOW while on vacation, which explains why she chose to certify with PADI rather than with BSAC. When she actually completed the certification is unknown though, as she was seven months pregnant with Princess Charlotte when she last visited Mustique in February. Eugene Farrell, BSAC’s chairman, has no hard feelings about Kate qualifying with a different training organization, saying, “we are thrilled that the Duchess of Cambridge shares her husband’s interest in the underwater world and has further progressed her diver training.”
He went on to express his hopes that Kate and William will eventually pass their passion for scuba diving on to their children. According to Farrell, “while diving with BSAC, the Duke of Cambridge suggested George may also one day follow in his footsteps.”