Kate Middleton confident and pretty as a picture at first solo engagement

Last night, all eyes were on the Duchess of Cambridge as she embarked on her first official solo engagement as a royal – and she impressed.

Kate arrived for a private viewing of portraits by the late Lucian Freud at the National Portrait Gallery in London, of which she is a patron, looking every inch the style queen in a stunning tweed coat style dress.

Once again opting for a high street brand, Kate’s shawl collared frock was from High Street label Jesire – sure to sell out within hours.

The dress was complemented by a dazzling diamond bracelet and elegant Jimmy Choo shoes.

As the duchess entered the Gallery, photographers went wild, desperate to get a shot of the 30 year old, but she took the flashes in her stride, smiling and placing her gorgeously glossy locks behind her ear.

Kate’s confident manner continued as she wowed some of the biggest names in the art world with her knowledge and interest in the works.

The exhibition proved the perfect starting point for Kate’s solo royal duties as she knows a thing or two about art, having studied history of art at St Andrew’s University, where she met Prince William. And the rest they say is history…

With William currently away for six weeks with the RAF on the Falkland Islands, last night was Kate’s chance to shine and she certainly did just that.

Photographer Mary McCartney, daughter of music legend Sir Paul McCartney, attended the viewing and told the Daily Mail she was thrilled when Kate took the time to talk to her about her work.

She said: “It made me blush but I was incredibly flattered. It is refreshing having her here. It is so exciting that she has become involved.”

Kate clearly has a natural flair for impressing at social occasions but she has also been getting some tips from the top, recently enjoying ‘chats’ with the Queen at Buckingham Palace, in a bid to ensure she is fully prepared for royal life.

An insider told the Daily Mail: “The Queen has developed a great affection for Kate and wants her to feel fully supported.

“She knows how big a step carrying out official duties will be for Kate and has offered to have regular meetings to make sure she feels prepared.”

On February 14, with her husband away for their first Valentine’s Day as a married couple, Kate will travel to Liverpool to visit The Brink - an alcohol-free bar linked to Action on Addiction, which Kate is a patron of – and Ronald McDonald house at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

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