It’s not often you get a chance to speak to the Royal family, so when the opportunity arrives it’s best to make the most of it.

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And for Tharston skier Thomas ‘TJ’ Baldwin it was the perfect time to “cheekily” invite the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, plus Prince Harry, to join him on the slopes.

Twenty-one-year-old TJ met Kate, William and Harry at the Olympic Torch handover at Buckingham Palace last night, as part of a programme giving future Winter and Summer Olympians a taste of the big occasion.

The Alpine racing skier said: “It was absolutely insane, it was amazing and something I will never forget.

“To be honest I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t really expect the crowd to be that intense, that happy and cheering and it was crazy.

“We got to chat to the royals in the courtyard at the back before we came out to the front for the torch.

“I chatted to Kate the most and she was really interested in what we are doing, what our sports are and what our goals are.

“It was very casual and it was like chatting to a normal person. But it was a pinch yourself moment - ‘I was just talking to the Duchess of Cambridge’.”

Mr Baldwin added he had “a bit of banter with” them as he knew they were skiing in the French resort of Meribel at the same time as the British National Ski Championships earlier this year.

He said: “I said cheekily that next year we should go for a ski.”

Mr Baldwin successfully defended four titles at the British senior championships in Meribel in March.

He was backed by Norfolk County Council as a rising sporting star in 2008, a project which sees promising talent in sport and culture aged between 14 and 25 receiving a share of £60,000.




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