15 MAY 2007

She may no longer be in the running to become Prince William's future queen, but Kate Middleton is still causing a stir on the London social scene. The St Andrews graduate has clearly gained poise and confidence during her time in the royal spotlight and was perfectly at ease under the camera's glare during a book launch at Aspreys jewellers on Monday. Looking immaculately groomed and svelte in an elegant cream lace dress, Kate was accompanied to the soiree by her younger sister Pippa, an Edinburgh University student, to whom she is very close.

The attractive Berkshire-born siblings were attending the launch of historian Simon Sebag Monetfiore's new book Young Stalin. Simon's wife Santa, also a writer, and her sister Tara Palmer-Tomkinson were also at the cocktail event, and both took time to catch up with Kate whom they will have met through their joint royal connections. Santa and Tara's father used to be Prince Charles' ski instructor and Tara in particular crosses paths with William and Harry on the social circuit.

Since her split with the second-in-line to the throne, Kate has been far from reticent about appearing in public and has continued to enjoy visiting her and William's old haunts with friends. And the stylish brunette's confidence can only have increased in recent weeks, as it was revealed she has gained a promotion at the fashion chain where she works. After just six months as an assistant buyer with Jigsaw she's apparently now joined the design department as a junior.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
Siblings, Pippa and Kate, made a striking duo at the London book launch. The pair are very close and have comforted each other in recent weeks after breaking up within days of each other. After Kate split with William, Pippa and her wealthy aristocratic boyfriend JJ Jardine Patterson ended their romance after over three years togetherPhoto: © Rex
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Tara - whose father taught Prince Charles to ski - chatted away to Kate during the eveningPhoto: © Rex

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