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Kate Middleton is guest of honour at National Portrait Gallery

11 FEBRUARY 2014 Kate Middleton attended her first official royal engagement of the year on Tuesday night as guest of honour at the National Portrait Gallery’s Portrait Gala.

The Duchess of Cambridge, who left Prince George being cared for at her Kensington Palace home, looked stunning in a midnight blue floor length Jenny Packham gown which she had previously worn in October at the '100 women in hedge funds' event, as she met guests including David Bailey, Jonathan Yeo and Olympic Gold medallist Katherine Grainger
 

Sticking to the 'black tie with a touch of sparkle' dress code, she wore a stunning Nizam of Hyderabad diamond necklace on loan from the Queen.  

Kate also viewed some of the gallery’s Pen Portraits, which are sketches that use words rather than pictures. The portraits are being sold to raise funds for the National Portrait Gallery.
 

The 32-year-old spent the first half of the evening mingling with guests and meeting with some of the writers behind the Pen Portraits, before heading to the event’s lavish gala dinner.

Prince William was unable to attend as he is in the midst of a ten-week course in agricultural management at the University of Cambridge. During his absence, Kate was recently spotted taking Prince George on his first holiday abroad to Mustique, on the Middleton family’s annual trip.
 

The Duchess last visited the iconic London gallery, of which she is patron, for an event in honour of charity The Art Room, in April 2013. The charity aims to help children with emotional and behavioural difficulties through art therapy.
 

The stunning royal was six months pregnant at the time and wore a baby blue Emilia Wickstead cocktail dress that showed off her growing baby bump.

“I am a firm believe in the power of art to make a difference,” she said. “The Art Room is providing this on a daily basis.”

Kate’s most famous visit to the National Portrait Gallery was perhaps at the unveiling of her first official painted portrait in January 2013.
 

The painting, by award-winning artist Paul Emsley, initially received criticism, but Kate herself was delighted, describing it as “brilliant, amazing, absolutely brilliant.”
 

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