If you happen by royal couple Kate MIddleton and Prince William looking stiff, it's not that British monarch stuffiness wafting through the room -- they could very well be wax.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, WIll and Kate, have been immortalized by the artists at Madame Tussauds in London, just in time for the couple's one-year wedding anniversary.
At an unveiling ceremony Tuesday in the British capital, folks turned up for a glimpse of the waxen duo, whose real-life counterparts are celebrating 12 months of wedded bliss on April 29. The prince's likeness looks congenial, as always, but the figure of Middleton is striking.
Forget the facial resemblance (almost too good), the Kate replica is a carbon copy down to the blue Issa dress made famous when she wore it to announce her engagement to the late Princess Diana's eldest son in 2010.
The replicas will be on display through the month and beyond. You can relive their wedded bliss on the Ministry here, and stay tuned for more anniversary shenanigans.
With Prince William deployed in the Falkland Islands, the former Kate Middleton -- Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, since they wed -- has been bravely racking up several solo firsts.
Last month, she made her first major solo public appearance when she attended a preview of the Lucian Freud exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.
On St. Patrick's Day, Catherine marked her first solo military engagement with a visit to the Irish Guards, passing out shramrock sprigs just as the Queen Mother did in her day.
And now (drumroll) she’s given a public speech. OK, it wasn't that exciting. What was notable about the three-minute speech at the opening of the Treehouse children’s hospice in Ipswich on Monday was that it was Catherine's first solo public speech -- and she didn't mess it up.
The duchess appeared a little nervous but poised as she gave the speech, which she'd composed herself. She didn’t rush but frequently checked her notes and began by apologizing for William’s absence, which brought some titters from the crowd.
She confided in her brief prose that she had had a "preconceived idea" of how the hospice would be but saw that, "far from being a clinical, depressing place for sick children, it was a home … a happy place of stability, support and care."
The Treehouse is run by one of the charities of which Catherine is patron, the East Anglia Children's Hospices.
Catherine also is a patron of the National Portrait Gallery. During her February visit there, the duchess -– who majored in art history at St. Andrews University -- reveled in the work of Freud, one of her personal favorites.
Catherine had been prepared for another first at the gallery: As a new royal bride, she had broken with protocol, according to the London Evening Standard, by refusing to sit for a formal portrait. But with her patronage of the gallery, she has conceded and is now in talks to sit for her first official portrait.
Photo: Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, speaks with a girl in the crowd during a visit to the Treehouse children's hospice in Ipswich, eastern England, on Monday. Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth / AFP / Getty Images.
That Kate Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge, is pretty crafty when it comes to her gratitude. Especially for the crafty folks who contributed to her iconic wedding dress.
The Duchess paid a secret (and surprise) visit Tuesday to the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace, the group of hands that added the meticulous embroidery to the Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen dress in which she said "I do" to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge last April.
"Catherine was keen to express her gratitude in person to the women who worked so hard on her dress. She was very conscious of the pressure that they were under," a friend of Kate's told Britain's Telegraph.
About 30 of the institution's staffers -- whose handiwork incorporated United Kingdom symbols such as the rose, shamrock, thistle and daffodil into the more than 9-foot train -- reportedly gathered to greet Kate.
The Ministry wonders if the chic staff of the Alexander McQueen salon can expect the same courtesy? We'll keep you posted.
Ken and Barbie have some serious competition: Prince William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Toy company Mattel has released images of royal couple Will and Kate immortalized as collectible dolls, done up in their garb from last year's royal wedding.
Accurate and adorable, the figures don the royals' much-discussed outfits from the nuptials, including a tiny re-creation of Sarah Burton's lace masterpiece, from the house of Alexander McQueen, that Kate wore down the aisle.
A cool $100 will get you the set (click the photo at left to see it larger), which is being released April 29 to commemorate the first anniversary of that special day.
It's unclear how the life-size royals will ring in their anniversary (perhaps a raunchy female comedy?). As for the wee ones, we envision a play date with G.I. Joe and Skipper.
Recount! I demand a recount! Kate Middleton gets more than 90% of the vote as the "Hat Person of the Year"?
Not Princess Beatrice, for her Philip Treacy antler hat from Kate and William's wedding, a fetching item if only because it fetched $130,000 for charity on EBay?
Not Tilda Swinton, on the cover of W in a Patricia Underwood for Chris Benz white hat that John Wayne would empty his six-shooter to get?
Not ... me?
The 104-year-old Headwear Assn., which bills itself as the oldest fashion trade association around -- and who is still around from then to dispute that? -- crowned the Duchess of Cambridge as "Hat Person of the Year."
She has certainly shown a fine flair for the whimsical chapeau. There's her scarlet maple-leaf hat for her Canadian trip last year, an homage to her hosts. On the solemn side of things, her stylized black fedora for Remembrance Day suited the moment and the wearer. Her fascination with fascinators –- those little tip-tilted numbers that don't conceal her face or her shampoo-ad hair –- have blown the lid, so to speak, off sales figures for similar numbers.
Much the same happened when her late mother-in-law, Diana, Princess of Wales, stepped out in her own millinery, which sometimes ran to the larger and more dramatic -- and had the same effect on hat sales.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and his bride, Catherine, stepped out in the London rain to celebrate the premiere of "War Horse" on Sunday.
At a screening on the West End the newlyweds met Hollywood royalty Steven Spielberg and his star, Jeremy Irvine (also a Brit), sharing the same carpet with Joey — the horse that shares top billing with Irvine.
"The fact that they're here to watch my fat face on a cinema screen is bizarre," Irvine said, according to People. "It's such a thrill. And also for their charity. It's a great cause."
After the film, the couple hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace in the Queen's Gallery to benefit the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry, which works to help returning soldiers adjust to civilian living.
In floor-length sparkling Alice Temperley gown, Duchess Kate was probably excited for some glamour. On Monday she'll turn 30, with reports indicating she'll enjoy a low-key celebration with friends and family.
Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, is recovering from heart surgery this holiday.
On Friday at the expansive eastern England estate of Sandringham, where the royals gather annually for a formal holiday celebration, Philip complained of chest pains. The 90-year-old was taken to Papworth Hospital, near Cambridge.
After what doctors called a "minimally invasive procedure" to mend a blocked coronary artery, official word from Buckingham Palace was that Philip, aka Duke of Edinburgh, enjoyed a good night following the experience.
Bedside visitors to Papworth included his sons, Princes Charles, Edward and Andrew, as well as Her Royal Highness Princess Anne. Camilla Parker Bowles, Charles' wife and Duchess of Cornwall, also reportedly popped by.
With his hospitalization, the duke is missing the fun at Sandringham, where the schedule includes proper luncheons, a gift exchange and a hunt on the 20,000-acre estate. Perhaps his recovery will excuse him from the weekend's rigorous pace: The royal Christmas can mean up to five costume changes a day for the family.
The former Kate Middleton and her strapless black velvet dress were technically not the stars of the Sun Military Awards on Monday. But it's safe to say the Duchess of Cambridge made some soldiers at the event very happy.
The awards, created by Prince Charles, are known as the "Millies" and honor members of the British Armed Forces in categories such as most outstanding soldier, best armed forces animal and the Life Savers Award.
The Alexander McQueen creation was fishtail style but fit closely enough around the torso to dispel any baby-bump rumors. Catherine looked reed thin in the gown, which had a small ruffle atop the bodice.
She wore diamonds around her neck and wrist, and the strapless style bared her buff arms. The dress and jewelry reportedly were given to her as wedding presents.
No word on whether the Jimmy Choos came wrapped up with a bow. But the spike-heeled Cosmic suede platform pumps did mean Catherine, 5-foot-10, was above eye level when she chatted with attendee David Beckham (who may be 5-foot-11, but chances are, if you ask him, he'll say 6 feet). Jerry Hall, who will also say she's 6 feet tall, presented the Life Savers Award.
It's a very Duchess Catherine Christmas! Or it will be, as the former Kate Middleton gets ready to spend her first royal holiday with husband Prince William and his family.
Family being Her Majesty the Queen and husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, plus Wills' father Charles, Prince of Wales, with bride Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. And don't forget our quick-footed favorite, Prince Harry.
Sadly, the Middletons and Kate's sister Pippa won't be on the guest list at storied Sandringham House in Norfolk, England, where the queen has long retreated for her holidays. In-laws are not invited for the festivities.
Among the traditions are a royal hunt, black-tie dinners and even a gift exchange. The demanding schedule requires costume changes and impeccable timing -- or, in other words, the tests will keep coming for Kate.
"It will be a difficult baptism in protocol laced with pitfalls. ... She's first the first outsider since Camilla ... so all eyes will be on her," Robert Jobson, a Ministry-tested royals expert, told Us Weekly.
If we were Kate, we wouldn't sweat the holidays with her new family. After passing her first royal tour of duty with flying colors, some present-wrapping and figgy pudding with the queen should be a breeze.
The former Kate Middleton -- now Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge -- will not play cover girl for American Vogue, despite a report Monday that Prince William's bride was being courted by editor Anna Wintour.
Rumor had it that Wintour was campaigning for the former Kate Middleton as a stateside cover of the fashion mag, leveraging her relationship with longtime Vogue photographer Mario Testino to get it done.
But sadly, "There are no plans for the Duchess to do anything with U.S. Vogue," a palace rep told People magazine.
The Testino connection would've been a safe bet -- not only a prize steed in Wintour's photography stable, he's a longtime pal of the royal family. His portraits of the late Princess Diana are treasured by many, along with the engagement portraits of Kate and William he shot last year.
Magazine competition over the princess bride has been stiff. The New York Post says British Vogue tried to get her for a wedding edition, which she declined. A collaboration with Wintour would've been her first cooperative editorial spread, save for another Testino shot that landed in the June issue of Vanity Fair.
"There’s nothing trashy or vulgar about her," Wintour has said of Kate's style. "She dresses her age and never looks out of place."
Photo: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, found a traditional white cowboy hat to be in vogue during her July visit to Calgary, Alberta, with husband Prince William. Credit: Phil Noble / Reuters.
<p><a style="display: inline;" href="http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef015391e8ad04970b-pi"><img class="assetasset-image at-xid-6a00d8341c630a53ef015391e8ad04970b" style="width: 600px;" title="Kate Middleton, now Duchess of Cambridge, won't be on U.S. Vogue" src="http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef015391e8ad04970b-600wi" alt="Kate Middleton, now Duchess of Cambridge, won't be on U.S. Vogue" /></a></p>
<p>The former Kate Middleton, now Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, will not play cover girl for American Vogue, despite a report Monday that Prince William's bride was being courted by editor Anna Wintour.</p>
<p>Rumor had it that Wintour was campaigning for the former Kate Middleton as a stateside cover of the fashion mag, <a href="http://www.nypost.com/p/pagesix/anna_fights_for_kate_cover_MBwF1zRRAYrnFgE1PR1PhM" target="_blank">leveraging</a> her relationship with longtime Vogue photographer Mario Testino to get it done.</p>
<p>But sadly, "There are no plans for the Duchess to do anything with U.S. Vogue," a palace rep <a href="http://www.people.com/people/package/article/0,,20395222_20532087,00.html" target="_blank">told</a> People magazine. </p>
<p>The Testino connection would've been a safe bet -- not only a prize steed in Wintour's photography stable, he's a longtime pal of the royal family. His portraits of the late Princess Diana are treasured by many, along with the <a href="http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/gossip/2010/12/royal-engagement-photos-prince-william-kate-middleton.html" target="_blank">engagement portraits</a> of Kate and William he shot last year.</p>
<p>Magazine competition over the princess bride has been stiff. The New York Post says British Vogue tried to get for a wedding edition, which she declined. A collaboration with Wintour would've been her first cooperative editorial spread, save for another Testino shot that <a href="http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/gossip/2011/05/kate-william-vanity-fair-mario-testino-us-road-trip.html" target="_blank">landed</a> on the June issue of Vanity Fair.</p>
<p>"There’s nothing trashy or vulgar about her," Wintour has <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/fashion/2011/09/kate_middleton_expected_to_hav.html" target="_blank">said</a> of Kate's style. "She dresses her age and never looks out of place."</p>
<p>Least of all on the cover of Vogue, we'd say.</p>
<p><a href="http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/gossip/2011/05/mario-testino-royal-couple-kate-william-photo-talk.html" target="_blank">Mario Testino talks photographing royal couple Kate and William</a></p>
<p><a href="http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/gossip/2011/08/obama-fundraiser-harvey-weinstein-gwyneth-paltrow-anna-wintour.html" target="_blank">Obama rubs fundraising elbows with Harvey Weinstein, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anna Wintour</a></p>
<p><a href="http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/gossip/2011/01/royal-wedding-prince-william-kate-mario-testino-princess-diana.html" target="_blank">Royal wedding: Mario Testino on Prince William and Kate Middleton, remembering Princess Diana </a></p>
<p>-- Matt Donnelly<br /><a href="http://www.twitter.com/mattdonnelly" target="_blank">twitter.com/MattDonnelly</a></p>