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Kate attends 1st solo engagement at Lucian Freud exhibition

London , Thu, 09 Feb 2012 ANI

London, Feb 9 (ANI): The Duchess of Cambridge took up her new role as a charity patron by visiting the National Portrait Gallery for her first major solo engagement.


Kate, 30, who is using her husband's six-week tour of duty in the Falklands as a perfect opportunity to publicise the four charities of which she is Patron, was given a preview of an exhibition of the late Lucian Freud's work.


The visit came as St James's Palace confirmed that the Duchess has agreed to a request from the gallery to pose for a portrait.


Wearing a double-breasted, 1950s-style dress by the high street clothing label Jesire, the Duchess was greeted by Freud's daughter Esther and Sir Paul McCartney's photographer daughter Mary, a trustee of the gallery in London's Trafalgar Square.


Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, and Sandy Nairne, director of the gallery, also joined her on an hour-long tour of more than 100 paintings on show.


They include Freud's celebrated Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, a portrait of Sue Tilley, a 20-stone Job Centre worker lying naked on a sofa which became the most expensive painting by a living artist when the Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich paid £17.2 million for it in 2008.


The exhibition also includes a painting of the Duchess of Cornwall's ex-husband, Andrew Parker Bowles, and photographs of Freud painting the Queen, though his portrait of her is travelling as part of another show.


"It's an honour for the Duchess to be patron of such a distinguished body and having spent the last few months preparing for the role she has been looking forward very much to this," the Telegraph quoted a spokesman for the Duchess as saying.


"It marks the start of a six to eight-week period in which the Duchess will visit all of the charities of which she is Patron," the spokesman said.


Last month St James's Palace announced that the Duchess was taking on the patronages of Action on Addiction, The Art Room and East Anglia Children's Hospices, as well as the gallery.


Her staff have said she intends to do "nothing but work" while the Duke of Cambridge is away in the Falklands with his RAF Search and Rescue squadron.


As well as visiting the charities, the Duchess is expected to volunteer with a local Scout group near home on Anglesey. (ANI)


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