Prince William and Kate MiddletonWe've not seen much of the Duchess of Cambridge since the start of the New Year, but I can reveal that Kate and Prince William have been hard at work putting the finishing touches on their magnificent new home, Anmer Hall, in Norfolk. Last week the pair were up at Sandringham, the Queen's 20,000-acre country estate, on which Anmer Hall is located. The vast Georgian pile was a present to William on his 30th birthday, and the couple plan to divide their time between Norfolk and their London residence, Kensington Palace, from now on. The hall has a swimming pool and tennis courts, and with a brand new conservatory adjoining the kitchen, it is the perfect pad for entertaining.
As well as meeting the builders and ensuring the final stages of the refurbishment are going to plan, I'm told the couple enjoyed some downtime.
How it took this long for a video clip of an elementary-school-aged Kate Middleton playing Eliza Doolittle on stage to emerge is truly a mystery; but it's not worth bemoaning the delay now-we should just revel in its charms. And charms there are! Even while playing an imposter duchess, Kate exhibits a regal, downright noble presence onstage. She also manages to elicit notable laughs from the crowd as she delivers the character's famous "The rain in Spain" dialogue, and doesn't seem to be affected by any sort of nerves.
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"They were there to relax and have some time out from London and see how the property is coming along," my green-Wellied mole told me. While Kate has been hunting for pretty antiques in the nearby village of Holt, William has been taking a keen interest in ensuring the property is private and the family can relax there without the fear of being photographed by the paparazzi. A driveway has been re-routed and trees planted to shield the residence from the public.
The house was due to be finished at the end of last year, but the project ran over and the couple are due to move in imminently. Meanwhile, the Duchess is planning to begin her official solo royal engagements with a trip to the National Portrait Gallery on February 11th. Kensington Palace says the Duchess will be guest of honor at a gala dinner.