Duchess Kate’s royal return

After four months of maternity leave, Duchess Kate gets set for a number of engagements.
After four months of maternity leave, Duchess Kate gets set for a number of royal engagements.

She’s rarely been seen out in recent months, but Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge is thought to have broken her seclusion for a very important event – a dinner with the Queen on her milestone day. The Queen extended an invitation to her grandson, Prince William and his wife Kate, to attend a low-key dinner with her and Prince Philip at Balmoral Castle. Prince Charles was unable to attend, choosing to honour a long-standing appointment at nearby Dumfries House in Ayreshire – something the Queen apparently urged him to do rather than place any great significance on the day.

But the date marks the beginning of a new era for Kate, who has spent four idyllic summer months with her two young children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte. She will resume her public duties this week with a visit to an organisation that helps young people with mental health issues. Palace sources say the new mum is keen to return to her work championing causes she believes in, after the many weeks she has spent blissfully cocooned at Anmer Hall in Norfolk with George (2) and Charlotte (4 months).

Kate attended a low-key dinner at Balmoral to mark Her Majesty’s record reign.

She’s spent some of that time learning a new skill. Kate has been hand-drawing portraits of her children based on photos she has taken of them. Some of her friends say the pencil drawings are so good, she should exhibit them at the National Portrait Gallery. There have been few public appearances since Charlotte’s birth on May 2.

Her daughter was just a few hours old when Kate appeared outside the London hospital where she was born. Six weeks later, Kate joined the rest of the royal family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for Trooping the Colour and the following day, she was spotted keeping George amused while Prince William played polo.

She was back in formal royal mode for Charlotte’s christening on July 5 and three days later, accompanied William to Wimbledon. But the last time she was seen in public was on July 26, when she and William visited America’s Cup hopeful Sir Ben Ainslie and his crew. Tongues wagged when she didn’t turn up to a wedding of close friends last month.

There was talk of marriage troubles but as her friends have pointed out, she has different priorities now that she is the mother of two, and was probably too tired to attend.

The Queen was in Scotland for her milestone day. The brooch, which belonged to Queen Victoria, was her personal tribute to the UK’s previous longest serving monarch.

Her new schedule of duties is not expected to be too taxing, and includes attending the opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup. Rather than remaining at the castle with Kate, William and her family on the day of her milestone, the hardworking Queen spent time with her adoring public, opening a railway in Scotland.

She spoke warmly to the crowd, telling locals gathered for the occasion, “Inevitably a long life can pass by many milestones. My own is no exception. But I thank you all and the many others at home and overseas for your touching messages of great kindness.”

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