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Kate Middleton opens V&A photography centre

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Back to her best! Duchess of Cambridge stuns in an edgy Erdem number to open a new photography centre at the V&A – two days before George and Charlotte's starring role in the second royal wedding of the year

  • Duchess of Cambridge is completing her first official engagement as patron of Victoria & Albert Museum
  • She was named as royal patron of the historic London museum in March, before welcoming Prince Louis
  • Kate returned to royal duties last week, five months after welcoming her third child with husband William
  • A keen amateur photographer, Kate will be given a tour of the opening display at the photography centre

By Rebecca English Royal Correspondent and Unity Blott For Mailonline

Published: 15:08 EDT, 10 October 2018 | Updated: 16:20 EDT, 10 October 2018

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Photography fan the Duchess of Cambridge was in her element on Wednesday evening when she stepped out to see a vast collection of pictures in a landmark museum.

The royal mother of three – who has published her own sweet pictures of her children – visited the Victoria & Albert museum, not far from her Kensington Palace home, to have a preview of some of the 800,000 images in the new Photography Centre. 

It was the first time she had visited in an official capacity since becoming the first Royal Patron in March.

Kate showed off her trim figure in the mid-calf fit-and-flare frock from British label Erdem's SS18 collection which she teamed with a waist belt, small box clutch and vertiginous heels.

The dress boasted a bateau neckline - a style favoured by Kate's sister-in-law the Duchess of Sussex - frayed sleeves and featured a purple Prince of Wales check pattern. 

Kate stunned in a check number, which boasted a bateau neckline. During her tour of the exhibition tonight, Kate, 36, will meet curators who have worked on the project, before unveiling a plaque to mark the official opening of the Centre
Kate stunned in a check number, which boasted a bateau neckline. During her tour of the exhibition tonight, Kate, 36, will meet curators who have worked on the project, before unveiling a plaque to mark the official opening of the Centre

Kate stunned in a check number, which boasted a bateau neckline. During her tour of the exhibition tonight, Kate, 36, will meet curators who have worked on the project, before unveiling a plaque to mark the official opening of the Centre

Kate does Erdem! The Duchess, who returned from maternity leave just last week, will be given a personal tour the opening display at the new photography centre
Kate does Erdem! The Duchess, who returned from maternity leave just last week, will be given a personal tour the opening display at the new photography centre
The show that Kate is visiting tonight is entitled Collecting Photography: From Daguerreotype to Digital
The show that Kate is visiting tonight is entitled Collecting Photography: From Daguerreotype to Digital

 Kate does Erdem! The Duchess, who returned from maternity leave just last week, will be given a personal tour the opening display at the new photography centre, entitled Collecting Photography: From Daguerreotype to Digital

Copy Kate in a check dress by Erdem

The Duchess of Cambridge made another public appearance since returning to the spot light after her maternity leave to open the photography centre at the V&A museum this evening.

Wearing a dress from Erdem’s spring/summer 2018 collection, which pays homage to Queen Elizabeth II, Kate looked gorgeous and right on trend in the check print!

The off-the-shoulder midi dress which features frayed edges and a flirtatious neckline, which is played down by the embellished buttons, brooches and demure fluted skirt, all added to the royal ensemble.

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Kate began the visit with a surprise when she was shown Queen Victoria's coronet - which her husband Prince Albert designed and had made for the Sovereign between 1840-42.

The diamond and sapphire coronet was both a reminder of the name that the museum carries — and a fitting moment to mark Kate's first visit as royal patron of the museum.

It was among 3000 jewels in the William and Judith Bollinger Gallery and followed a walk through the Silver and the Sacred Silver and Stained Glass galleries.

At the door of the new photography center she marvelled at some of the 150 cameras from 160 years that make up a display.

She toured the opening display, called 'Collecting Photography: From Daguerreotype to Digital,' saw some of the historical prints and contemporary photography the center is showcasing and met the curators.

Among the photographers whose work is on display are pioneering women like Julia Margaret Cameron, Agnes Warburg and Cindy Sherman and the late Linda McCartney, and her daughter Mary McCartney. 

The Duchess of Cambridge, who is visiting the V&A museum's new Photography Centre tonight, showed off her trim figure in the mid-calf fit-and-flare frock which she teamed with a waist belt, small box clutch and vertiginous heels
The Duchess of Cambridge, who is visiting the V&A museum's new Photography Centre tonight, showed off her trim figure in the mid-calf fit-and-flare frock which she teamed with a waist belt, small box clutch and vertiginous heels

The Duchess of Cambridge, who is visiting the V&A museum's new Photography Centre tonight, showed off her trim figure in the mid-calf fit-and-flare frock which she teamed with a waist belt, small box clutch and vertiginous heels

The dress boasted a bateau neckline - a style favoured by Kate's sister-in-law the Duchess of Sussex - frayed sleeves and featured a purple Prince of Wales check pattern
The dress boasted a bateau neckline - a style favoured by Kate's sister-in-law the Duchess of Sussex - frayed sleeves and featured a purple Prince of Wales check pattern
She teamed it with velvet shoes
She teamed it with velvet shoes

A nod to her father-in-law? The dress boasted a bateau neckline - a style favoured by Kate's sister-in-law the Duchess of Sussex - frayed sleeves and featured a purple Prince of Wales check pattern

The Duchess in Erdem at the V&A tonight. The display explores photography from the medium's invention in the 19th century to the present day and will be of great interest to the Duchess, a keen amateur photographer
The Duchess in Erdem at the V&A tonight. The display explores photography from the medium's invention in the 19th century to the present day and will be of great interest to the Duchess, a keen amateur photographer

The Duchess in Erdem at the V&A tonight. The display explores photography from the medium's invention in the 19th century to the present day and will be of great interest to the Duchess, a keen amateur photographer

Kate chatted animatedly ahead of her private tour of the exhibition
Kate chatted animatedly ahead of her private tour of the exhibition
Drawn from the V&A's collection of over 800,000 photographs, the display showcases contemporary photography alongside seminal prints by pioneers William Henry Fox Talbot, Julia Margaret Cameron and Roger Fenton
Drawn from the V&A's collection of over 800,000 photographs, the display showcases contemporary photography alongside seminal prints by pioneers William Henry Fox Talbot, Julia Margaret Cameron and Roger Fenton

Kate chatted animatedly ahead of her private tour of the exhibition. Drawn from the V&A's collection of over 800,000 photographs, the display showcases contemporary photography alongside seminal prints by pioneers William Henry Fox Talbot, Julia Margaret Cameron and Roger Fenton

Duchess of Cambridge visited the Victoria & Albert museum and was all smiles as she arrived wearing a calf-length dress tied with a burgundy belt while being accompanied during the tour
Duchess of Cambridge visited the Victoria & Albert museum and was all smiles as she arrived wearing a calf-length dress tied with a burgundy belt while being accompanied during the tour

Duchess of Cambridge visited the Victoria & Albert museum and was all smiles as she arrived wearing a calf-length dress tied with a burgundy belt while being accompanied during the tour

Kate tucked her glossy brown locks behind her ear to show off a stunning jewel and pearl encrusted earring that matched the buttons on her dress
Kate tucked her glossy brown locks behind her ear to show off a stunning jewel and pearl encrusted earring that matched the buttons on her dress

Kate tucked her glossy brown locks behind her ear to show off a stunning jewel and pearl encrusted earring that matched the buttons on her dress

The Duchess lightly brushed her stomach as she chatted and laughed while being shown around the London museum in south Kensington
The Duchess lightly brushed her stomach as she chatted and laughed while being shown around the London museum in south Kensington

The Duchess lightly brushed her stomach as she chatted and laughed while being shown around the London museum in south Kensington

Kate clutched on to her minaudière which matched the burgundy colour of her shoes and belt around her checked dress which also had a frayed hem
Kate clutched on to her minaudière which matched the burgundy colour of her shoes and belt around her checked dress which also had a frayed hem

Kate clutched on to her minaudière which matched the burgundy colour of her shoes and belt around her checked dress which also had a frayed hem

The Duchess's locks appeared to be a lighter shade of brown as she looked around intently at the exhibition on show 
The Duchess's locks appeared to be a lighter shade of brown as she looked around intently at the exhibition on show 

The Duchess's locks appeared to be a lighter shade of brown as she looked around intently at the exhibition on show 

The new center, which Kate formally opened during her visit, more than doubles the among of space given over to the art form at the V&A
The new center, which Kate formally opened during her visit, more than doubles the among of space given over to the art form at the V&A

The new center, which Kate formally opened during her visit, more than doubles the among of space given over to the art form at the V&A

Kate, 36, who studied Art History at St. Andrew's University, holds the visual arts at the center of some of her public work: She is also patron of the National Portrait Gallery. 

She has also been seen photographing husband Prince William, 36, when he flew a helicopter over a lake in Canada in 2011 and released her own shots of the rainforest in 2012.

Visitors enter the new centre through an installation of more than 150 cameras spanning 160 years and interactive displays help people understand how photographers view the world, through their equipment. 

The new center, which Kate formally opened during her visit, more than doubles the among of space given over to the art form at the V&A.

Tristram Hunt, Director of the V&A, said in a statement, 'Our collection – established by the V&A's visionary first director Henry Cole - now seamlessly spans the entire history of photography, telling the story of the medium from the daguerreotype to the digital.' 

The Duchess was all smiles as she arrived at the museum, just a stone's throw from her Kensington Palace home. The new centre will more than double the space dedicated to photography where prints, negatives, camera equipment, photographic publications and original documents will be displayed together to tell a broader story of international photography
The Duchess was all smiles as she arrived at the museum, just a stone's throw from her Kensington Palace home. The new centre will more than double the space dedicated to photography where prints, negatives, camera equipment, photographic publications and original documents will be displayed together to tell a broader story of international photography

The Duchess was all smiles as she arrived at the museum, just a stone's throw from her Kensington Palace home. The new centre will more than double the space dedicated to photography where prints, negatives, camera equipment, photographic publications and original documents will be displayed together to tell a broader story of international photography

Kate was at the museum to learn about its new photography centre where a frequently changing selection of new acquisitions, a 'Light Wall' for displaying the most cutting-edge photographic imagery, and a 'Dark Tent' projection area complete the new space
Kate was at the museum to learn about its new photography centre where a frequently changing selection of new acquisitions, a 'Light Wall' for displaying the most cutting-edge photographic imagery, and a 'Dark Tent' projection area complete the new space
She was all smiles as she arrived at the museum tonight
She was all smiles as she arrived at the museum tonight

 Kate was at the museum to learn about its new photography centre where a frequently changing selection of new acquisitions, a 'Light Wall' for displaying the most cutting-edge photographic imagery, and a 'Dark Tent' projection area complete the new space

'Our new Photography Centre provides a world-class facility to re-establish photography as one of our defining collections. In an era when everyone's iPhone makes them a photographer, the V&A's Photography Centre explores and explains the medium in a compelling new way.'

Martin Barnes, Senior Curator of Photographs at the V&A, added: 'The new Photography Centre brings to life some of the V&A's most beautiful original picture galleries and provides a permanent home for one of the finest and most inspiring collections of photography in the world. 

'Photography is one of our most powerful forms ofglobal communication, and I'm thrilled that we can contextualise the past and present of this powerful medium in new and exciting ways.'    

The Duchess was named as the first ever royal patron of the Victoria & Albert in March 2018, just a month before welcoming her third child, Prince Louis, on April 23.

Passion project: The Duchess, pictured arriving in south Kensington tonight, was named as the first ever royal patron of the Victoria & Albert in March 2018, just a month before welcoming her third child, Prince Louis, on April 23
Passion project: The Duchess, pictured arriving in south Kensington tonight, was named as the first ever royal patron of the Victoria & Albert in March 2018, just a month before welcoming her third child, Prince Louis, on April 23

Passion project: The Duchess, pictured arriving in south Kensington tonight, was named as the first ever royal patron of the Victoria & Albert in March 2018, just a month before welcoming her third child, Prince Louis, on April 23

Kate arriving at the V&A tonight
Kate arriving at the V&A tonight
At the time her patronage was announced earlier this year, Kensington Palace said the new role would further the Duchess's interest in the visual arts, photography and design
At the time her patronage was announced earlier this year, Kensington Palace said the new role would further the Duchess's interest in the visual arts, photography and design

Kate arriving at the V&A tonight. When her patronage was announced earlier this year, Kensington Palace said the new role would further the Duchess's interest in the visual arts, photography and design

At the time, Kensington Palace said the patronage would further the Duchess's interest in the visual arts, photography and design.  

The V&A, which is a short distance from the Duchess's Kensington Palace home in west London, is the world's leading museum of art and design. 

It was founded in 1852 and named after the Duke of Cambridge's great-great-great-great-grandparents Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. 

Tristram Hunt, director of the museum and former shadow education secretary, has previously said he was looking forward to working with the Duchess.

'From its foundation by Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, the V&A has enjoyed a proud history of royal support,' Mr Hunt said.

Easy journey: The V&A, which is a short distance from the Duchess's Kensington Palace home in west London, is the world's leading museum of art and design
Easy journey: The V&A, which is a short distance from the Duchess's Kensington Palace home in west London, is the world's leading museum of art and design

Easy journey: The V&A, which is a short distance from the Duchess's Kensington Palace home in west London, is the world's leading museum of art and design

'We are delighted that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge has agreed to serve as Royal Patron of the museum.

'The Duchess's personal interest in photography, textiles and the visual arts, alongside her support for the role of art in supporting mental health and nurturing young people's creative talent, fits naturally with the collections and civic purpose of the V&A.

'The trustees, staff and members of the V&A look forward to working with Her Royal Highness across our museums in South Kensington, Bethnal Green and Dundee.'  

Kate previously visited the V&A in June 2017 to officially open its new entrance, courtyard and exhibition gallery on Exhibition Road. 

After her engagement in London tonight, she is set to travel to Windsor with her family for the wedding of William's cousin, Princess Eugenie, on Friday.

The proud couple will watch three-year-old Princess Charlotte take a starring role as a flower girl, while George, five, has been chosen as a page boy for the nuptials at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.

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