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Prince who? Kate stuns at first solo royal appearance

Kate Middleton has been out alone since marrying Prince William. But not royally alone!

With her husband away doing search-and-rescue training in the Falkland Islands, Duchess Catherine was obliged to go solo to a private viewing of a new exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery in London--her first public appearance as a representative of the royal family made without Will by her side.

Story: Prince William flies first Falklands sortie for RAF stint

And what do you know?

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Middleton managed to stun on her own!

Clad in a gray tweed coat dress by high-street label Jesire (think there are any left now?), she enjoyed a guided tour of paintings by Lucian Freud along with VIPs such as photographer Mary McCartney (Paul's daughter) and the artist's daughter, Bella.

Middleton studied art history at the University of St. Andrews, so she really couldn't have scored a more fitting event to attend without Will, her usual partner in criminal glamour.

Story: How Kate Middleton is spending Valentine's Day

And while we don't think there's any Thelma & Louise action in Middleton's future, the Daily Mail reports that she's also planning an "away day" excursion to Liverpool on Valentine's Day. While in the Beatles' old stomping grounds, she'll supposedly visit an alcohol-free pub called the Brink (Middleton is a patron of Britain's Action on Addiction program), as well as the Alder Hey Children's Hospital.

Meanwhile, the Freud exhibit opens to the public tomorrow.

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