Royalty and statesmen

A bearded William shares a word with Kate during a day's pheasant hunting at Sandringham in Norfolk
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Kate joins bearded Wills in country pursuits on royal estate

15 DECEMBER 2008
As her relationship with Prince William continues to go from strength to strength, Kate Middleton becomes increasingly immersed in the country pursuits around which the personal lives of most of the members of the royal family revolve.

At the weekend the 26-year-old joined her soldier beau and his brother at the Queen's Sandringham estate for a traditional pre-Christmas weekend break with friends.

Kate had donned a cosy Russian-style shapka hat to take to the fields for a day of pheasant shooting with Wills, who was sporting a distinctive look of his own - a beard and 'tash.

The second in line to the throne - who will celebrate Christmas on the Norfolk estate with the monarch and other members of the royal family - finished off his country gent look with a flat cap and green jacket.

The usually smooth-shaven Prince gained the facial hair during a recent ten-day exercise in Barbados with the UK's Naval Special Forces, the SBS. But it's unlikely to be around for long as the RAF does not permit its members to wear beards and William returns to his 18-month pilot's training course in January.


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