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BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS
Who looks unflappable right out of the frying pan? Four months after their engagement, Prince William and Kate Middleton ease into their role as a public couple – with a flapjack flip in Belfast on March 8 in honor of England's Pancake Day at a benefit for the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children.
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ON THE FLIP SIDE
It's a toss-up whether William or Kate is the bigger crowd pleaser as the Princess-to-be tries her hand at the griddle. The pair, whose goodwill visit was unannounced, stood in front of Belfast's City Hall greeting and chatting to well-wishers whose numbers swelled once word spread of the couple's impromptu stopover.
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WHERE IT ALL STARTED
Weeks earlier on Feb. 25, Will and Kate return to the site where they first met – and fell in love – the University of St. Andrews in Scotland to celebrate the institution's 600th anniversary. "This is a very special moment for Catherine and me. It feels like coming home," William tells the crowd of 600, which gathered to mark the Prince's new role as patron of the school.
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RED, SET, GO!
Sporting a bright red suit by Italian label Luisa Spangoli, Kate takes time out for a meet-and-greet with some of the 3,000 locals who gathered along the town's North Street to welcome back the '05 alums. St. Andrews's most famous couple also left another lasting legacy: a scholarship created in their names by the college, worth more than $100,000, to go toward future students' tuition fees and accommodations.
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PAYING THEIR RESPECTS
After their visit to Scotland, the couple return to London that same day to join William's and younger brother Harry at the New Zealand High Commission to sign a book of condolences for the 113 victims of the September 2010 Christchurch earthquake.
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TOAST OF THE TOWN
William and Kate make a splash in their first official duty together on Feb. 24 – to christen a lifeboat at the Trearddur Bay Lifeboat Station in Angsley, Wales, the place the pair call home while the Prince is stationed nearby with the Royal Air Force. Though it was the 29-year-old's first step toward becoming a princess, she got a thumbs-up from the locals, who praised her for her "nice gesture" of singing along to the Welsh national anthem.
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A beaming William escorts Kate to their first public event since getting engaged a month earlier: the Christmas Spectacular, a fund-raiser for the Teenager Cancer Trust, on Dec. 18 in Norfolk, England. Despite the chilly weather, the Princess-to-be is greeted with applause for cutting a stylish figure in an Alice Temperley dress – and earns even higher marks from seven young cancer patients. "They took a genuine interest in what I'd been through and the operation I had," Rosie Van Raalte, 16, from Little Melton, Norfolk, said of her encounter with the royal pair.