The event marks the first time the Duchess of Cambridge has had a public joint appearance with the Queen without any other royal family members in attendance

By Simon Perry and Erin Hill
March 19, 2019 07:31 AM

Kate Middleton joined Queen Elizabeth for a special joint outing on Tuesday — their first since she joined the royal family in 2011.

The future Queen got further insight into the life of the Sovereign when she and the monarch, 92, toured a high-tech university in central London. Kate and the Queen visited King’s College’s Strand campus, which is housed in the former BBC building, Bush House.

The Queen arrived in a Stewart Parvin pink cashmere coat (accessorized with her pink sapphire and diamond brooch!) over a silk printed dress and a matching hat, while Kate opted for a grey Catherine Walker coat dress and one of her go-to black fascinators by Lock & Co.

Press Association via AP Images

The event marks the first time Kate has had a joint appearance with the Queen without any other members of the royal family in attendance.

Queen Elizabeth and Kate Middleton
James Veysey/REX/Shutterstock
Queen Elizabeth and Kate Middleton
James Veysey/REX/Shutterstock

Almost a year after her wedding to Prince William, Kate made a royal visit to Leicester as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee tour in March 2012. Prince Philip was also on the outing, but it was viewed as a momentous occasion for Kate to step out with the Queen without William by her side.

“They were chatting away,” Lord Waheed Alli, chancellor of De Montfort University, told PEOPLE at the time. “Kate would ask me things and then tell the Queen.”

The Queen and Kate also viewed the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress at Buckingham Palace together, just the two of them, in 2011. But Tuesday marks their first public joint engagement without another member of the royal family.

Kate Middleton and Queen Elizabeth in 2012

Meghan had her first joint outing with the Queen a few weeks after her wedding to Prince Harry, when they traveled by train to Widnes, Cheshire. Meghan and the Queen were also happily chatting away as they took in a children’s dance performance during the outing.

Meghan Markle and Queen Elizabeth in June 2018
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Princess Kate, 37, and the Queen arrived together on Tuesday in the courtyard that links the five Bush House buildings. They toured the education and learning facilities and then headed to the eighth floor where they saw one of the roof terraces that enjoys panoramic views across the city.

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Queen Elizabeth and Kate Middleton
Joe Maher/Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth and Kate Middleton
Samir Hussein/WireImage

They also viewed a robotics demonstration, including robotic surgery, and one showing how sensors made from textiles can measure useful information about the body.

As she shook the robotic hand, Kate giggled and said: “Very nice to meet you!” When it gripped her hand back, she laughed and said: “So strange.”

The Queen looked slightly alarmed when the hand came near her and
decided not to grace it with a regal shake.

There was also time to meet students taking part in a “virtual trading floor” run by the college’s Entrepreneurship Institute.

Kate Middleton
James Veysey/REX/Shutterstock

Outside on the terrace which overlooked central London, Kate and the
Queen both remarked on the “impressive” view.

Inside, Kate met entrepreneur Aysha Ingar, who has set up an app for Muslim
women, and Tobi Oredein, who has set up a media platform for black women
in the U.K.

Kate told Aysha and Tobi, “I come from an entrepreneurial background
and my parents started their own business, so I’m all for it!

“Congratulations and keep going.”

Kensington Palace Twitter
Paul Grover/Shutterstock

Kate also met with medical student Qasim Munye, 22, who has set up an app called Shortly for people who want to read short stories on the go, allowing people to choose a story that suits how much time they have
to read.

Kate said, “Oh, that would be fantastic for the kiddies when it’s bedtime. Particularly for tired parents who want the children to go to sleep!”

King’s College – which acquired the former broadcasting buildings in 2015 after the BBC’s departure in 2012 — is the fourth oldest university in England and has played a major role in world-beating research, including the discovery of DNA and the work that led to the development of televisions and radar and mobile phones.

The royals received matching bouquets upon their departure from the school.

James Veysey/REX/Shutterstock

Later on Tuesday, Kate will step out solo to visit London’s Foundling Museum to see work being done to help young adults get a foothold in art teaching. Over the weekend, Kate and husband Prince William helped mark St. Patrick’s Day at a ceremony alongside the Irish Guards, while the Queen joined her granddaughter Zara Tindall (as well as Meghan and Harry!) for the christening of Zara’s second daughter Lena.