Kate Middleton's status as Prince William's 'princess-in-waiting' was reinforced this week after she was temporarily assigned her own bodyguard.
Currently on a ski holiday in the Swiss Alps the athletic brunette was accompanied by one of the Prince's armed Scotland Yard protection officers as she tackled some difficult runs before meeting up with William.
The security detail was apparently a precautionary measure in response to the busy Klosters slopes, and is not a permanent arrangement. Kate is not entitled to any official protection unless an engagement between the couple is announced.
It is, however, a sign of how firmly the 26-year-old is now accepted in royal circles following last year's break in her four-year relationship with Wills.
More evidence of this is due on Friday when Kate and her royal beau are joined on the break by his father Prince Charles. William's stepmother Camilla, who doesn't ski and is said to hate the cold, will stay behind in Britain.