The royal should receive a new title – the Duchess of Downton – after her momentous visit to the hit show's set

By Simon Perry
Updated December 18, 2015 12:35 PM
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Princess Kate should receive a new title – the Duchess of Downton – after her momentous visit to the hit show’s set.

When the royal toured the studios in March, Kate, 33, was praised for helping put Downton Abbey on the map in the U.S. and around the world.

Creator Julian Fellowes called her a “functioning member of the Downton Team,” as her backing made big news in the U.S., which caused an upsurge in interest.

While the exteriors of the hit show are shot at Highclere Castle, the interiors are filmed at Ealing Studios in west London. And it was there that Kate – in the latter stages of her pregnancy with Princess Charlotte – visited the set, including the hair and make-up room. She also chatted with costume designers and cast members.

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“The sets are so much smaller than you imagine – especially when you’ve got all the crew in here as well,” Kate said of her visit. She also marveled at the “lovely kitchen” the fictional servants work in.

Laura Carmichael, who plays Lady Edith Crawley, told PEOPLE of Kate’s visit, “It was a surreal and exciting experience to be at work and be visited by a member of the royal family. She has watched the show and loves it and that’s really lovely.”

As for the royal’s favorite character on the show, Carmichael shared, “Brendan [Coyle, who plays John Bates] and Hugh [Bonneville] were fighting over who was her favorite character. But she didn’t reveal.”

Three of the show’s biggest stars, Kevin Doyle, Michelle Dockery and Allen Leech, chatted with PEOPLE about Kate’s visit last week while promoting the upcoming final season of the show.

“The energy on set was just amazing, it was magic,” Dockery told PEOPLE, adding that the two women shared a laugh over the fact that Dockery’s character has a son named George, not to be confused with Kate’s 2-year-old, Prince George!

“There was a moment when I said to her, ‘It’s funny, isn’t it? He’s called George and…. the future king!’ That conincidence she finds funny, too,” she said.

Sadly, Dockery, cut her trip to the U.S. short to be with her dying fianc John Dineen.

Dineen, an Irish native, died on Sunday after a battle with a rare form of cancer.