Prince William's fiancee was on Sunday celebrating her last birthday before she officially becomes British royalty.
Royal officials said this week that Kate Middleton would be marking her 29th birthday privately, giving no further details.
Still, the event gave the nation's media a chance to talk about the princess in waiting. So too did fresh pictures of Middleton attending a wedding — this one of her friends Harry Aubrey-Fletcher and Louise Stourton, held on Saturday in the northern England village of Aldborough.
The bride-to-be wore black, sporting a velvety topcoat over a black dress and a black pillbox hat. Prince William, who also attended, wore a traditional dark morning suit, and managed to joke with photographers after the ceremony.
"Hello, hello," he said, jumping onto the sidewalk amid the camera flashes. "It's not my wedding yet."
The royal wedding, set for Apr. 29, is a highly anticipated event. Britons have been given a day off to watch the ceremony and the Sunday Mirror reported that government officials were going to allow every pub in the country to stay open until 1 a.m. for two successive days to celebrate. In England, last call traditionally comes around 11 p.m., although in recent few years many venues have begun staying open much later.
Middleton has hardly been seen in public since she and William announced their engagement to the world in November, so Saturday's appearance gave the British media a chance to subject her to the kind of sartorial scrutiny she might have to endure for the rest of her life.
All agreed she looked good, although Britain's tabloids tut-tutted over her plunging neckline and see-through top.
There was also free diet advice, with The Mail on Sunday telling the svelte Middleton she should consider a few more hearty meals to fill out her wedding dress.
The paper also offered readers the chance to buy what it described as "superbly tasteful souvenir tea towel" featuring a picture of the happy couple standing arm in arm.
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