With Prince William flying search-and-rescue missions for the Royal Air Force in the Falkland Islands, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, née Kate Middleton, was flying solo at an event at London’s National Portrait Gallery on Wednesday.


Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, arrives at the National Portrait Gallery in London, on Feb. 8, 2012. (Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)

She wore a charcoal coat dress by Jesiré, a line that the magazine Grazia reports is now defunct — so sorry, copy-Kates. The dress featured a wide collar and a full skirt, belted at the waist. She accessorized with simple black pumps and a diamond bracelet.

The Duchess, who is a patron of the National Portrait Gallery, came to the museum to see an exhibition by the late British painter Lucian Freud. Freud is known for portraits, sometimes nude, that were “seldom flattering but that revealed their subjects in searing, sometimes brutal honesty,” wrote Post obituary writer Matt Schudel. Middleton chose to pose near some of the more chaste subjects — the Associated Press reports that of the 100 paintings, many are nudes.


Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, poses for a picture as she attends the Lucian Freud Portraits exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London on Feb. 8, 2012. (Jorge Herrera/AFP/Getty Images)

Can it really be the first time that Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, has made a public appearance without her husband? Well, no: The Duchess appeared sans-prince in October at a charity benefit, filling in for Prince Charles in a dreamy Amanda Wakeley gown. However, that was considered to be her first solo hosting engagement, not her first solo appearance. Semantics.


View Photo Gallery: A look back at the best outfits worn by Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, in honor of her 30th birthday.