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Prince William returns to work after celebrating Kate Middleton's 40th birthday

Back to business for the Duke of Cambridge

The Duke of Cambridge has returned to royal duties after celebrating his wife Kate's 40th birthday at the weekend.

Prince William hosted an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle on Wednesday, handing out honours to fashion designer Sir Paul Smith, Sir Clive Lloyd and Derrick Evans, better known as Mr Motivator.

Sir Paul, who opened his first clothes shop in Nottingham in 1970, has been made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour.

READ: Prince William's favourite birthday photo of Kate Middleton revealed

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WATCH: Kate Middleton's milestones as she celebrates 40th birthday

The Order of the Companions of Honour is sometimes regarded as the junior honour to the Order of Merit and is made up of the sovereign, plus no more than 65 members, who may use the letters CH after their names.

Sir Clive Lloyd was knighted for services to cricket, while TV fitness instructor Derrick Evans was made an MBE for services to health and fitness.

William wore military uniform as he presented honours to recipients at the Queen's Berkshire home.

MORE: Royal fans are all saying the same thing about subtle detail in Kate Middleton's birthday photos

MORE: The Countess of Wessex returns to royal duties with overseas trip

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William knights Sir Clive Lloyd at Windsor Castle 

It comes just days after the Duchess of Cambridge celebrated her 40th birthday on Sunday. Kate is said to have spent the day privately with her family, but Kensington Palace also released three new portraits to mark the occasion, taken by Paolo Roversi.

According to Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera, who conducted an interview with the photographer, the black and white close-up shot of the Duchess wearing a ruffled white one-shoulder Alexander McQueen gown and beaming at the camera, is William and their children's favourite image.

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This portrait of the Duchess is said to have been chosen by William

Paolo also revealed how he got the Duchess to dance during the photoshoot, but unfortunately, the images are unlikely to be released publicly.

"In the end I wanted to take pictures in motion, so with that wonderful wide skirt I made her dance in front of my lens, a kind of accelerated waltz mixed with a pinch of rock 'n roll," he said.

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