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Kate perfects the art of going solo at Lucian Freud exhibition

09 FEBRUARY 2012

If she felt nervous on her first solo engagement, then she was determined not to show it – even teetering in perilously high 'Cosmic' Jimmy Choos.

Visiting the National Portrait Gallery as its patron, the Duchess of Cambridge looked picture perfect in the heels, which were combined with a coat dress by high street label Jesire and accessorised with an Asprey pendant. 

 

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As a gradute of History of Art from St Andrews University, Kate was delighted to attend the Lucian Freud exhibition, with Sandy Nairne, the director as her guide.

Those she was introduced to included  'Big Sue' Tilley the 20-stone subject of Freud's famous nude Benefits Supervisor Sleeping.

It went for £17 million, becoming the most expensive painting ever sold by a living artist and now hangs in the home of Russian magnate Roman Abramovich.

 

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She laughed off the idea that she might feel awkward about the encounter with the Duchess.

"I'm not embarrassed about her seeing me naked - I'm a human being," she said before the event.

"I may not be the most gorgeous one under the sun but that's what I am.

"It's art, you know. Poor woman, I'm sure she's seen things before."

There are also subjects that would have been closer to home for Kate. His portrait of Andrew Parker Bowles, ex husband of the Duchess of Cornwall, is on display.

The picture Freud painted of the Queen is not included, but a photo of him at work on it can be seen. 

 

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Although, the Duchess attended a fundraising dinner as a last-minute stand in for her father-in-law Prince Charles last year, this was her first scheduled solo outing as a royal.

And her poised performance got glowing reviews.

Photographer Mary McCartney, who is the daughter of Paul McCartney, and one of the trustees of the gallery, was impressed by her thorough preparation. 

"She took an interest in all of us. She said she'd been on my website and seen my pictures – which made me blush," she said.

"It's so exciting she's become involved. She's refreshing".

The new royal will be hoping to make the same impact over the next six weeks on visits to the five charities she's supporting.

Palace staff have said that while Prince William is away on search and rescue duty in the Falklands, his wife plans to "do nothing but work".

On Valentine's Day, Kate will visit The Brink -  a 'dry bar' in Liverpool - associated with Action on Addiction, one of the organisations she has become patron of.

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