Middleton mingles with the public in Anglesey as she learns the ropes of royal life

By Simon Perry and Tim Nudd
Updated February 24, 2011 10:30 AM
Credit: WENN

Prince William and Kate Middleton mingled with the public and launched a lifeboat in North Wales on Thursday – their first official duty together and the first genuine step toward Kate’s becoming a princess.

Royal life is all about appearances like these, and Middleton, 29 – who is set to wed William, 28, on April 29 – appeared to be enjoying herself, chatting with the locals in Anglesey, where she and William live and where William is stationed as a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot.

The couple named the “Hereford Endeavour” lifeboat, provided by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, in a ceremony at the Trearddur Bay Lifeboat Station – a low-key event in a familiar location, designed to let Kate ease into her royal duties.

Among other activities, Kate sang along to the Welsh national anthem – “Hen Wlad fy NhaDau (Land of my Fathers)” – met with a decided thumbs up from appreciative locals.

Rhian Hughes, 38, a grade-school teacher, told PEOPLE, “It’s fantastic – well done to her. It shows that she’s thinking about where she is. This is a very Welsh-speaking part of Wales so it’s a nice gesture.”

William Says Kate Has the Fun

Speaking to a crowd of some 500 on what is, significantly, the 30th anniversary (to the very day) of his parents Charles and Diana becoming engaged, William said that while he does the “talking bit, she’s going to do the fun bit.” And with that Kate poured champagne on the Hereford Endeavour.

Earlier, on a blustery podium, where the wind played havoc with Kate’s hair, William said, “It gives me huge pleasure to be introducing to this relationship, here and now, someone who is not only about to join the Family, but is also about to become an ‘Anglesonian.’ ”

Townspeople told PEOPLE they were proud to host the event, and remarked on how the high-profile couple enjoy a hassle-free life on the island.

“The majority of people don’t bat an eyelid,” said Trish Williams, 64. “She was shopping in Tesco’s the other day, and she’s been in Waitrose, and people don’t bother her.”

Anthony Smallshaw, 68, a retired landscape contractor, added of William: “He was in The Bull pub, at Valley, a couple of weeks ago playing darts with some friends. He was talking to the locals and one man called him ‘sir.’ He said, ‘Call me William.’ ”

For much more on William and Kate’s wedding, including the bride’s likely royal title and her pre-wedding princess training, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

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