Duchess Kate marks International Women's Day with video call to world record-breaking rower Jasmine Harrison

By Heather Cichowski

Duchess Kate marked International Women's Day 2021 with a video call to Antigua with Jasmine Harrison, the incredible world record holder who became the youngest woman to row solo across the Atlantic.

The mom of three spoke with the amazing 21-year-old to hear about her experiences during the nearly 5,000-kilometre trip, which took just over 70 days. Jasmine set out from the Canary Islands in December, and arrived in Antigua last week. Her epic journey raised funds for ShelterBox, an international charity that distributes green boxes containing lifesaving supplies to disaster victims, and the Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE), which is focused on restoring ocean health. The two women also discussed raising awareness and amplifying achievements of females in honour of International Women's Day.

At the start of the interview, Jasmine, who represented team RudderlyMad, chatted about how she would never have even known about the race if she hadn't been at the right moment to hear about it, and it has made her wonder "what else is there."

"I don't know, I have been so closed off to this world of possibilities, just because it has never been advertised that a young woman would maybe ever want to do," the North Yorkshire native went on.

Kate explained this was why she wanted to talk to Jasmine and called her "such an inspiration to lots of women."

In the chat, Jasmine revealed that although she has been sporty, it wasn't until January of last year that she began training for the race in the gym, to build up her strength. She finally got in the water in July 2020 due to delays related to COVID-19. She was originally expected to get training in the water in March and April. Jasmine was required to complete 120 hours in the water before she would even be allowed to race.

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During the call, Kate asked Jasmine about any inspiring women she met along the way and Jasmine discussed meeting a female American rower who broke the record 10 years ago. She supported Jasmine and told her, "If someone is ever going to break my record, you've got to do it right, and this girl is doing for these charities, she's doing it for the right reasons."

They both completed the race in 70 days! Jasmine finished the 3,000-mile (4,828 kilometre) race in Antigua after 70 days, three hours and 48 minutes in February 2021.

The duchess and Jasmine also discussed the impact on mental health of being at sea for 70 days alone. Jasmine addressed the dichotomy.

"Well, I think right now being out on an ocean by yourself, I think 'Wow, I couldn't do that, 70 days? That's a long time,'" the record holder explained, "Oh wait, I did it. That was literally me a week ago. It's really surreal, actually."

Jasmine talked about the days being different and wanting to take mental pictures of everything, such as the incredible nature and wildlife, because she knew at the time how amazing it was.

In the second part of the conversation, Kate and the athlete addressed the latter's legacy and inspiring others.

Jasmine wasn't sure about the term "inspire," but she hopes others will use her story and see it as something to strive to pursue their own goals and dreams.

"I want to push and motivate people to get up and do something," she explained to Kate.

Jasmine said she hopes people of all genders see the potential of girls and women.

"If nothing else, it's given a huge door opener to so many other young women with that idea, with determination, with bravery and confidence, so much is really achievable, so a huge well done," Kate said of Jasmine's incredible achievement.

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It appears Kate conducted the call at the Queen's residence of Sandringham House. She and Prince William have done many Zoom chats there lately, as they stay nearby at their country home of Anmer Hall. The duchess wore a pink pussy-bow blouse by Boden paired with Missoma earrings.

Kate was last seen in the A Celebration for Commonwealth Day broadcast special on March 7. Commonwealth Day also falls on March 8 this year, and the Royal Family participated in the televised broadcast because the traditional service at Westminster Abbey could not take place due to the coronavirus pandemic.


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