• Kate Middleton is set to become the new royal patron of the Rugby Football Union and Rugby Football League
  • The role was previously held by her brother-in-law Prince Harry before he and Meghan Markle quit royal duties
  • Middleton's sister Pippa Middleton said in 2014 that rugby was a family-wide event growing up

Kate Middleton is set to take over a role previously held by her brother-in-law Prince Harry before he and his wife Meghan Markle stepped back from their royal duties.

The Duchess of Cambridge will become the new royal patron of the Rugby Football Union and Rugby Football League, the U.K.'s Sunday Times reported.

Middleton's new role is set to be announced "imminently," according to Daily Mail. The move would mark the first one of Prince Harry's former patronages to be redistributed to another member of the royal family since he and Markle quit royal duties in 2020.

Middleton is known for her athleticism. She plays tennis, is a patron of the All England Lawn Tennis Club and is a fixture at Wimbledon. The duchess also showed off her rugby skills during a 2017 trip to Paris, where she tossed a ball around with young players in a dress and heels, People reported.

Middleton's new role also sets up a husband vs. wife sports rivalry with Prince William, who is patron of the Welsh Rugby Union.

Her younger sister, Pippa Middleton, previously shared with Vanity Fair in 2014 that their family is a huge fan of the sport, and watching rugby was a family-wide event growing up.

"Picture the scene. It's Saturday afternoon in the Middleton household. The atmosphere is heavy with expectation," Pippa wrote. "All eyes are on the television ... we're watching England play Ireland in the 1996 Five Nations Rugby tournament ... Rugby was a big thing in our family, and the focal point was international matches ... We'd plan our weekends around the matches ... If we lost, my dad would be in a state of despair for the rest of the afternoon, as if he'd actually lost the game himself."

Prince Harry and Markle gave up their royal involvement with numerous U.K. charities when they officially stepped back from their roles as senior working members of the royal family last year, and the patronages reverted to Queen Elizabeth.

The Duke of Sussex was also stripped of his military appointments.

"Following conversations with The Duke, The Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of The Royal Family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service," the palace said in a statement last year.

The statement said that the Queen was "saddened" by the couple's decision but that Prince Harry and Markle would "remain much-loved members of the family."

In response to the Queen's decision to strip them of royal patronages and military titles, a rep for Prince Harry and Markle said in a statement, "We can all live a life of service. Service is universal."

At the time, royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said the Sussexes' "strong words" clearly showed they were "unhappy" with the Queen's move.

"I'd like to see a more balanced approach. … The language used [and] to appear to lecture the queen … that sort of statement is very unhelpful, but what it showed is how angry they are," Fitzwilliams told Us Weekly.

Kate Middleton, Prince Harry
Kate Middleton and Prince Harry host a tea party at Buckingham Palace to honor the children of those who have died serving in the armed forces on May 13, 2017 in London, England. Getty Images/Andrew Parsons-WPA Pool