TREARDDUR BAY (AFP) ― Kate Middleton got a taste of life as a working royal Thursday when she and Prince William dedicated a lifeboat in their first official appearance since their engagement.
Hundreds of people cheered as the smiling 29-year-old princess-to-be poured a bottle of champagne over the vessel in a dedication service at the lifeboat station Trearddur Bay on Anglesey, northwest Wales.
The appearance further whipped up excitement ahead of the couple’s wedding on April 29.
Wearing a three-quarter length beige coat, a black scarf, suede boots and a black feather hat, with her dark hair blowing in the wind, Middleton laughed as she emptied out the bubbly onto the boat.
She was unable to smash the bottle as per tradition because the lifeboat is inflatable.
Britain’s Prince William and his fiance Kate Middleton at a naming ceremony and service dedication for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s new Atlantic 85 Lifeboat, at Trearddur Bay Lifeboat Station in Anglesey, Wales, Thursday. (AP-Yonhap News)
William, 28, and Kate stood close beside each other on a podium as they sang the British and Welsh national anthems, “God Save the Queen” and “Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau” (“Land of My Fathers”).
William’s father Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, is the Prince of Wales, and he is therefore Prince William of Wales.
“They are a lovely couple. He is a great lad and she is a beautiful girl,” said well-wisher Jean Critchley, 63.
The couple attended a private event at a cancer charity shortly after they announced their engagement in November but this was their most high-profile event together so far.
The lifeboat station is near where William works as a Royal Air Force search and rescue helicopter pilot ― a job he will return to after the couple’s honeymoon in an as yet unannounced location.
Britain is gearing up for a national celebration to mark the royal wedding at Westminster Abbey in central London, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to line the streets of the capital.
But the impending nuptials have also raised inevitable comparisons with William’s mother Diana, who became a subject of fascination for the public and the media alike before her death in a car crash in Paris in 1997.