Royal watchers have been missing Kate Middleton for the past couple of months as she has spent the summer in the English countryside with her two young children. But as she headed to church in Scotland on Sunday, she gave the world a hint that she getting ready to return to her royal duties later this week in style.
The Duchess of Cambridge, 33, debuted a new, shorter hairstyle with long bangs swept to the side as she and her husband Prince William arrived for Sunday morning prayers at a small parish church called Crathie Kirk – the first time she has been photographed in public for two months.
Wearing a black rollneck sweater under a brown coat, Kate gave a glimpse of her new cut as she arrived at the church from Balmoral Castle, where she and William are staying with Prince George and Princess Charlotte. The stylish royal, who favors classic hairstyles over trendy, debuted some shorter layers earlier this summer at Wimbledon, but it appears that she liked the change and now has gone shorter with the bangs and overall length.
Prince William and his wife were pictured arriving at church from Balmoral Photo: Splash
The last time the stylish royal was photographed was seven weeks ago, when she attended the America's Cup World Series in Portsmouth on July 26.
Prince Charles also attended the Sunday service at Crathie Kirk, which the royal family regularly visit while holidaying at Balmoral.
On Wednesday night, William and Kate dined with the Queen in celebration of her becoming Britain's longest reigning monarch. It is thought that during their stay in Scotland, the Duchess will also receive the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II – the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a female member of the royal family.
The Order she is tipped to receive is given to female royals directly from the Queen and serves as a personal memento rather than a state decoration, although it can be worn during state occasions.
Because there is no formal announcement regarding whether the honor has been bestowed, royal watchers will have to wait until Kate's expected attendance at next month's state dinner for China's President Xi Jinping to see whether she will be wearing it.
The Duchess debuted her new fringe as she attended church on Sunday morning Photo: Splash
The Duchess is set to end her maternity leave this week, as she embarks on a series of solo engagements as part of a busy fall program of royal duties. On September 17, she will pay a visit to the Anna Freud Centre, before reportedly joining her husband and Prince Harry at the opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup, which kicks off at Twickenham, England on Friday. Kate will also attend a charities' forum event in October and will make trips to Dundee and North Wales with Prince William.
It will be the first time that the royal couple will be juggling their parental duties and royal events with the Duke’s job as a helicopter pilot with the East Anglian Air Ambulance.
William and Kate have kept a relatively low-profile since welcoming daughter Princess Charlotte on May 2 – although in August they publicly issued a warning to the paparazzi demanding privacy for their two young children.