March 20, 2013 at 10:14 AM ET
What to give to the girl who has everything? It's a question workers on the London Underground surely asked themselves as they prepared to welcome the world's most famous royal on Wednesday.
Duchess Kate, five months pregnant, laughed as she was given a "Baby on Board" badge while touring the Baker Street tube station in London with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the transport network. The station is associated with 221B Baker Street, the home of fictional detective Sherlock Holmes.
The Duchess – now more accustomed to traveling by a chauffeur-driven car – chatted with underground workers, telling them, "I miss traveling on the tube. I used to use the tube on a regular basis". (The badge is worn by pregnant women on the tube so that they are given a seat.) "I'll make sure I wear it at home," she joked with Prince Phillip.
Meanwhile, it was also the queen's first public engagement since she became ill nearly three weeks ago. She showed little sign of difficulty as she boarded a special London tube with the destination "Buckingham Palace" written on the front.
"It's great to see the queen in good health," Devon Wordsworth, a train driver with 30 years service, told the U.K. Press association. "She looked well and it was a pleasure to meet her."
It was Kate though who, as usual, grabbed the crowd's attention. Commuters on the facing platform gathered to take pictures with their phones. They shouted "Hey Kate!" and booed loudly as a tube pulled up and blocked their view of the royal family.
As Kate left with her royal in-laws, she was careful to remain in the background and walk to her separate car, but it was clear photographers only had eyes for her. The cameras didn't follow the queen – preferring instead to focus on the duchess, a pattern that looks likely to continue well into her pregnancy.
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