Quick change Kate: Duchess swaps blue suit for sleek grey designer dress as she visits the Imperial War Museum


Quick change Kate: Duchess swaps blue suit for sleek grey designer dress as she visits the Imperial War Museum

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UPDATED:

20:50 GMT, 26 April 2012

The Duchess of Cambridge tonight swapped a blue suit she was wearing earlier for a sleek grey designer dress as she attended a museum fundraising event.

As rumours swirl about her pregnancy status, Kate looked svelte as she arrived at the Imperial War Museum with her husband in tow.

The Duchess, who was wearing a form-fitting grey Amanda Wakeley dress with a gold chain belt and earrings, revealed that she, like her husband, was obsessed by all things military.

Sleek Grey: Prince William and Kate arrive at a reception at the Imperial War Museum tonight to launch a First World War Galleries: Centenary Campaign

Sleek Grey: Prince William and Kate arrive at a reception at the Imperial War Museum tonight to launch a First World War Galleries: Centenary Campaign

Earlier she had been wearing a dark
blue tweed skirt and jacket made by Australian-born, New York-based
designer Rebecca Taylor as she attended a reception at London's Goldsmiths' Hall to celebrate the achievements of members of the South Pole Scott Expedition group.

After undergoing the quickie change, she listened intently as William gave a speech in the museum, surrounded by military hardware from conflicts down the down the decades.

He said although the First World War
was a ‘terrible chapter in our history’, it also demonstrated ‘the
extremes of resolve and courage’ of the British people.

Accompanied by his wife, the Duchess
of Cambridge, the prince, who as an RAF helicopter pilot is himself a
serving member of the armed forces, was attending a reception at the
Imperial War Museum (IWM) in London to launch a 35million fundraising
effort to transform its World War I galleries.

Even Duchesses get the blues: Kate wore an indigo tweed Rebecca Taylor suit for her visit to Goldsmiths' Hall today

EARLIER: Kate wore an indigo tweed Rebecca Taylor suit for her visit to Goldsmiths' Hall today

Kate told fellow guests that while
other young girls ‘had ponies on their walls’, her bedroom was covered
with posters of airplanes. ‘I just love flying,’ she said. ‘This place
is so inspiring and impressive.’

The reception was hosted by the IWM
Foundation, an independent charitable trust set up under the
chairmanship of Viscount Rothermere, Chairman of the Daily Mail and
General Trust.

The trust, of which Prince William is
patron, aims to raise 35 million – of which 20 million has already
been collected – to transform the museum’s First World War Galleries to
mark the centenary of the outbreak of the conflict in 2014.

This ambitious project will allow the
IWM to display even more of its renowned collections including film,
art, sound recordings and photographs.

Dazzling: The Duchess of Cambridge wears an Amanda Wakeley dress as she arrives at the Imperial War Museum tonight

Dazzling: The Duchess of Cambridge wears an Amanda Wakeley dress as she arrives at the Imperial War Museum tonight

Dazzling: The Duchess of Cambridge wears an Amanda Wakeley dress as she arrives at the Imperial War Museum tonight

Quick change: The Duchess was wearing a new outfit and looked stylish in an Amanda Wakeley charcoal grey dress with three-quarter length sleeves, while the Duke wore a smart dark suit

Quick change: The Duchess was wearing a new outfit and looked stylish in an Amanda Wakeley charcoal grey dress with three-quarter length sleeves, while the Duke wore a smart dark suit

Original objects, such as letters and
diaries written by those on the frontline, will be exhibited in
interactive multi-media displays, exploring the stories of those who
lived, fought and died in the Great War in order to hand on to a new
generation.

The IWM has always focused on the
human dimension of war mindful of the enormous, and often unthinkable,
sacrifice made by millions of servicemen and women.

It is a lasting reminder, as if it
were ever needed, of those who have given their lives to ensure the
prosperity and freedoms we enjoy today.

In a deeply personal speech, Lord
Rothermere paid tribute to the prince’s support and highlighted the
‘devastating impact’ the First World War had on many thousands of
families in the country, including his own.

Lord Rothermere’s great-grandfather,
the 1st Viscount Rothermere, Harold Sidney Harmsworth, tragically lost
two of his three sons in the fighting.

Captain Harold Vyvyan St. George
Harmsworth was severely wounded while serving with the Irish Guards at
Cambrai in November 1917 and died from his injuries the following year.
He was awarded the Military Cross for his bravery in taking out two
enemy machine guns under heavy fire.

Lieutenant Vere Sidney Tudor
Harmsworth, of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, was also killed in
action at the battle of Ancre in November 1916 at the age of just 21.

A combat veteran even at such a
tender age, he had already been deafened by gunfire during service in
the Royal Navy, captured at the bombardment of Antwerp in October 1914
and interned in Holland before escaping and going onto serve at
Gallipoli.

Dazzling: Earlier Kate had worn an indigo tweed Rebecca Taylor suit for her visit to Goldsmiths' Hall

Dazzling: Earlier Kate had worn an indigo tweed Rebecca Taylor suit for her visit to Goldsmiths' Hall

Turning down offers of safer jobs, he
volunteered to return to the frontline in France and was cut down by a
shell as he advanced, wounded, across No Man’s Land – showing such
endurance and courage, according to his commanding officer, that ‘the
men of his battalion who survived the action are thrilled with pride in
his name.’

He was, Lord Rothermere, said ‘the
sort of dashing young man for whom the very expression might have been
invented and for whom flower of English youth sadly soon would be.’

Royal arrival: Kate the Duchess of Cambridge, right, and her husband Prince William, center, are greeted as they arrive for a fund raising reception at the Imperial War Museum in London

Royal arrival: Kate the Duchess of Cambridge, right, and her husband Prince William, center, are greeted as they arrive for a fund raising reception at the Imperial War Museum in London

Indeed, three weeks before his death
he wrote a haunting – yet strangely inspiring – letter to his family,
saying: ‘We came into the trenches this morning and go over the top
tomorrow. It will be about dawn….Whether I am to emerge from this show, I
do not know. Fate has not definitely informed me….I may have been born
to live my 21 years and then fade away. It may have been my mission in
life. If I fall, do not mourn but be glad and proud. It is not a life
wasted but gloriously fulfilled. The crowning consolation is the
knowledge that one will have done one’s utmost to leave the world better
than one found it.’

His words moved his grieving father,
who was himself Director-General of the Royal Army Clothing Department
during the First World War before being appointed Air Minister in 1917,
to donate the building which houses the Imperial War Museum today.

Once the home of the Bethlem Hospital
– also known as Bedlam – it was bought by the 1st Viscount Rothermere
when the medical facility decided to move out in 1926.

He originally intended to demolish
the entire building to create a park in memory of his mother but, after
being inundated with petitions for use of part of the building, gave his
approval for a lasting memorial to the sacrifice of the country’s war
dead.

Comfortable: Wills looked entirely at ease with the newborn as he chatted with the boy's parents

Comfortable: Wills looked entirely at ease with the newborn as he chatted with the boy's parents

Feeling broody, Kate The Duchess of Cambridge is charmed by three-week-old Hugo Vicary, held by his father Vic

She's a natural! The Duchess of Cambridge is charmed by three-week-old Hugo Vicary, held by his father Vic

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