Watch: Princess Kate visit the Landau Forte College in Capt Chandi's home city of Derby.

Princess of Wales meets 'incredible' Captain Polar Preet

Watch: Princess Kate visit the Landau Forte College in Capt Chandi's home city of Derby.

The Princess of Wales has praised Captain Preet Chandi's "incredible" polar expedition following the Army officer’s record-breaking trip to Antarctica.

Kate visited Landau Forte College in Capt Chandi's home city of Derby on Wednesday, just days after the 34-year-old, dubbed Polar Preet, returned to the UK.

During her trip, Capt Chandi broke the world record for the furthest unsupported solo polar expedition, covering 922 miles (1,484km) in 70 days and 16 hours.

Kate became a patron of the challenge at the end of October, something Capt Chandi described as an "absolute privilege", with the two women speaking on the phone prior to her departure in November.

Speaking about the feat, the princess said: "I just think it's incredible, what you've been able to achieve.

"Being by yourself… as humans, we are meant to connect and be with each other, and being on your own all that time is really challenging."

Princess of Wales pulls tyre on visit to Captain Preet Chandi 080223 Image ID 2N46YY1 CREDIT PA Images Alamy Stock Photo
Princess of Wales pulls tyres to simulate the weight of Captain Preet Chandi’s sledge (Picture: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo).

While at the school, Kate attempted to pull two tyres attached to a harness, which weighed 44lb (20kg) each, and which Capt Chandi pulled along Derby's roads during her three-year training period to simulate the weight of her sledge.

Speaking to pupils, Kate said: "(Capt Chandi) has been a huge inspiration to me and it's been great to see her journey and what she has been able to achieve in the year she has been working towards this incredible goal.

"I really hope it inspires you all to believe in yourself, to push boundaries and to really work on your own resilience because there are such strong messages that really help support your emotional and mental wellbeing."

Polar Preet beat the previous world record of 907 miles (1,459km), set in 2015 by fellow soldier Henry Worsley, a retired lieutenant colonel.

Watch: Polar Preet arrives back in UK

She skied for up to 15 hours a day on as little as five hours of sleep, pulling her kit and supplies – which weighed around 19 stone (120kg) – through winds of up to 60mph and in temperatures as low as minus 30C.

She said: "Physically it was very difficult, but mentally it was a whole different ball game.

"When you're looking into nothingness, it was tough to keep going.

"It was hard, it was cold, it was frustrating, but I thought about the 'why' and that helped me."

The achievement marked the second time Capt Chandi had been to the continent, after becoming the first woman of colour to embark on a solo expedition when she completed a 700-mile (1,127km) ski to the South Pole in 40 days in January last year.

She completed the challenge while on a period of leave from her Army role, having joined the Army Reserves at the age of 19 and the regular Army at 27.

She is now based in Buckinghamshire, working as a physiotherapist at a regional rehabilitation unit, helping injured soldiers with training and rehabilitation, and is set to resume work in April.

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