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Image: Prince William and Kate Middleton
Niall Carson  /  AP
Prince William and Kate Middleton leave City Hall Tuesday in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Middleton's appearance and comments during the Ireland trip raised concerns about whether the princess-in-waiting is losing too much weight in advance of her April 29 wedding.
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updated 3/9/2011 7:51:29 PM ET 2011-03-10T00:51:29

How thin is too thin? Not even Kate Middleton has escaped the thorny debate.

The willowy princess-to-be's appearance and reported comments during a visit to Northern Ireland sparked some concerns Wednesday about whether she's losing too much weight ahead of the April 29 royal wedding. The subject even became a topic on Twitter.

In front-page newspaper photographs, Middleton appears to be in good health if slightly slimmer than usual, but reporters heard many in the Belfast crowd of well-wishers on Tuesday making comments that she looked a bit gaunt.

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One woman, Heather Lindsay, told Middleton "not to lose any more weight," and said Middleton remarked that it was all part of the wedding plan.

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Palace officials Wednesday refused to say whether Prince William's fiancée is trying to lose a few pounds before the big day. They also declined to specify her height, weight or to comment on her words in Northern Ireland.

"It was an off-the-cuff comment," said a press aide to Prince Charles who asked not to be identified because of palace protocol. "It's a hugely private matter."

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Prince Charles' press aides have been protective of Middleton's privacy since the engagement was announced in November. Middleton was active in many sports during her university days and her weight hasn't seemed to have fluctuated much since then.

Even if Middleton is not dieting, it would not be uncommon or worrying for her to lose several pounds in the weeks before the wedding simply because of nerves, said Mark Niemierko, a top London wedding planner who has seen clients lose weight unexpectedly in the final days before the ceremony.

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"Even those brides who don't plan to lose weight lose weight," he said. "This is the one day they will be the absolute center of attention, and these are pictures they'll have forever, so they want to be in good form. The same is true for the groom."

He said Middleton is naturally tall and skinny — like her sister, maid of honor Pippa Middleton — but does not seem dangerously slim.

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"I think she looks perfect, but everyone has issues about their bodies and I'm sure she just wants to be very toned," he said.

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On Twitter, a handful of people posted comments about Middleton's weight on Wednesday. One said she shouldn't lose any more weight and should serve as a healthy role model to young girls.

Nutritionists who deal with eating disorders — like the bulimia that plagued William's mother, the late Princess Diana — say it is usually fine for prospective brides to diet before their weddings as long as they don't try to lose too much weight, which can create an unhealthy "yo-yo effect" when the pounds are put back on before the honeymoon is over.

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But nutritionist Amanda Hamilton said Middleton should be careful.

"She's already slim enough so I would have concerns over that," Hamilton said. "Anyone would look at her picture and ask why does she have to lose weight. She looks fantastic. She's on the very slim end of what would be considered healthy. She's not in the danger zone, I don't think ... but she doesn't have any weight to lose."

Shawn Pogatchnik in Belfast contributed to this report.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: Kate Middleton’s spot-on princess style

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  1. Princess style

    On the left, Princess Diana wore an elegant pink gown to the opera in Milan in 1985. Kate Middleton chose the same color halter dress for a Starlight Children's Foundation event in 2008.

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    Kate Gosselin’s Style Evolution (Jayne Fincher/Getty; Davidson/O'Neill/Rex via InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Whimsical hats

    Princess Anne of England matched a fun orange hat to her suit at the Ascot Racecourse in 2009, the same year Kate paired a matching hat with her lavender coat at the wedding of a British aristocrat. (Samir Hussein/WireImage; Indigo/Getty via InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Equestrian chic

    Princess Charlotte Casiraghi of Monaco looked ready to ride in 2003 at the International Horse Jumping Show. Kate Middleton went for a similar look with tall riding boots and a crisp white skirt in 2007 at the Badminton Horse Trials.

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    Kate Gosselin’s Style Evolution (Bruno Bebert/Rex; Rex USA InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Classic coats

    Princess Caroline of Monaco looked chic in a classic trench in London in 1973. The same style still looked fresh on Kate Middleton in 2008 as she watched Prince William receive his military pilot's wings. (Popperfoto/Getty; Michael Dunlea/AP via InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Holiday wear

    Princess Diana wore a red coat and black hat on Christmas Day in 1993. Kate wore the same winning combination during the 2006 holidays.

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    Kate Gosselin’s Style Evolution (Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty; Anwar Hussein Collection/ROTA/WireImage Photos via InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Royal blues

    Crown Princess Mary of Denmark looked elegant in a teal gown at a birthday celebration. Kate Middleton looked equally regal in a blue halter at a charity gala in 2006. (Tim Rooke/Rex; JPI via InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Black and white

    Princess Diana dressed in a chic black and white skirt suit at Royal Albert Hall in 1990. Kate dressed similarly to receive her diploma from the University of St. Andrews in 2005.

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    Kate Gosselin’s Style Evolution (Tim Graham/Getty; Michael Dunlea/Getty via InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Feathered hats

    Princess Diana wore a feathered hat for outing in Pembrokeshire in 1981, while Kate Middleton wore an almost-identical one to a wedding in 2006. (Jayne Fincher/Getty; Tim Graham/Getty via InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Metallic gowns

    Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden wore a beautiful bronze silk gown to a banquet for the Danish Royals in 2007. Kate opted for an elegant chrome-colored gown for the annual Starlight Children's Foundation event in 2009.

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    Kate Gosselin’s Style Evolution (Tim Rooke/Rex; Alan Davidson/Rex via InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Feminine florals

    Queen Rania of Jordan chose a delicate floral dress for a Royal Military Academy parade in 2006. In 2007, Kate Middleton wore a similar carefree look on a walk through West London. (MJ Kim/Getty; Ramey Photo via InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Fur hats

    Princess Marie Chantal of Greece wore a luxurious fur hat to the wedding of the Dutch Crown Princess in 2002. In 2006, Kate kept warm in a fur hat at the Cheltenham Races.

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    Kate Gosselin’s Style Evolution (UK Press/Getty; Tim Graham/Getty via InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Polka dots

    Princess Diana looked glamorous in a red polka-dot dress at the premiere of "For Your Eyes Only" in 1981. Kate Middleton dazzled in the same pattern at the Chakravarty Polo Match in 2006. (Tim Graham/Getty; Rex via InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Menswear

    Princess Diana went shopping at Harvey Nichols in 1995 wearing an understated neutral pant paired with a blazer. Kate Middleton dressed almost identically 10 years later out and about in London.

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    Kate Gosselin’s Style Evolution (Rex USA (2) via InStyle.com) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image:
    Jayne Fincher/Getty; Davidson/O'Neill/Rex via InStyle.com
    Above: Slideshow (13) Kate Middleton’s princess style
  2. Mario Testino / Art Partner
    Slideshow (27) A royal couple’s long courtship

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