Duke of Cambridge kicks off half marathon at Sandringham alongside Prince George and Princess Charlotte

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Prince William with Prince George and Princess Charlotte at the start of a half marathon on the Sandringham Estate, Sandringham, - Ian Burt
Prince William with Prince George and Princess Charlotte at the start of a half marathon on the Sandringham Estate, Sandringham, - Ian Burt

The Duke of Cambridge kicked off Father's Day celebrations by counting down to the start of a half-marathon on the Sandringham Estate on Sunday with his children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

The royal trio arrived just before the start of the first-ever Run Sandringham, a community event aimed at raising thousands of pounds for good causes.

William, George and Charlotte walked to the stage holding hands, before sending hundreds of runners on their way.

Prince William counts the runners down with a little help from Prince George and Princess Charlotte - Ian Burt/Ian Burt
Prince William counts the runners down with a little help from Prince George and Princess Charlotte - Ian Burt/Ian Burt

Their participation in the event was a secret known only to race organisers, and the trio are believed to be staying at their nearby Norfolk residence, Anmer Hall.

According to the event's website, Run Sandringham welcomed hundreds of runners of all abilities and ages to run a half marathon, 5K or community mile, with the aim of raising "many thousands of pounds for good causes".

The website said: "With a start and finish within the royal estate, the event boasts a super scenic route around the grounds of Sandringham Estate, Her Majesty The Queen's winter retreat."

It is understood the duke was not running in the event and was there in a private capacity.

Surprised participants took selfies of the royal trio, who waved, clapped and shouted encouragement as runners set off from the starting line on three different routes through pine woods and country lanes.

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Earlier today, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge marked Father's Day by sharing a previously unseen photo of William with Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

The royal couple posted a short clip on their official Instagram account wishing the public a "happy Father's Day", featuring a picture of the Duke in full military uniform surrounded by his children.

The photo, believed to have been captured by the Duchess, was taken outside Kensington Palace at Trooping the Colour in 2019.

Queen Elizabeth - Buckingham Palace/PA/PA
Queen Elizabeth - Buckingham Palace/PA/PA

The clip also included a photo of Kate walking down the aisle with her father Mike during her 2011 wedding, a picture of Prince Charles with William and Harry as young boys in Scotland, and the Queen and Prince Philip surrounded by their grandchildren.

Meanwhile, the royal family Twitter account marked Father's Day by sharing a photograph from 70 years ago of the Queen with King George VI, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales.

The picture, captured at Balmoral in 1951, shows the Queen with her father and Philip at either side of her while Charles sits atop an animal statue. All four are smiling in the black and white photograph, which was posted on the royal family Twitter feed.

A message accompanying the image said: "To all dads everywhere, we wish you a very special Father's Day."