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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

The Duchess of Cambridge has signed on for her first royal patronage, but this one’s in the family.

Kate is now the official patron of The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry, which she has been working with closely since it was established in 2009. The organization is aimed at coordinating the charity work of the two princes.

The Express reported that the charity is likely to change its name to reflect the Duchess’s new role.

Meanwhile, there are also reports that Kate will place a special emphasis on the arts as she takes on other patronages. The Telegraph says that she is likely to become a patron of several arts institutions, like the Tate and the National Gallery, and that she may act more generally as “an ambassador” to other arts groups as well.

The Duchess has had a longstanding interest in the arts, with a special interest in photography. She majored in art history in college, where her thesis was about photography and Alice In Wonderland author Lewis Carroll. She curated a photography show at a London gallery and she herself has recently taken on photography as an avocation.

She is also said to be very interested in using the arts to help disadvantaged children, and during her trip to Canada this summer visited several groups with that focus.

“The Duchess has a keen interest in the visual arts,” a royal aide told the Telegraph,  “and has her own strong links in that world, so she wants to see where she can lend her support to the arts going forward.”

In other royal-related news:

• As expected, the number of visitors to Buckingham Palace this summer broke all previous records. And it’s obviously because of the Duchess of Cambridge’s famous dress. More than 600,000 people bought tickets, topping the previous record of 420,000 for 1994, the first year the palace was opened to the public. Visitors paid £17.50 a ticket, and although firm figures won’t be known until later, early estimates are that the revenue could approach £10 million. And that’s even after the Queen herself called the dress exhibit “horrid.” (via the Evening Standard)

• Another quasi-royal mystery has apparently been solved. The blonde who Zara Phillips’ husband, Mike Tindall, was seen with in a New Zealand bar has been identified. She’s Jessica Palmer, and she was Tindall’s girlfriend before he met Phillips. She was also, as the Phillips camp maintained from the beginning, a guest at the couple’s wedding in Edinburgh, Scotland this summer. Palmer is said to be “very upset” about the scandal and says their night out was “totally innocent.” (via the Telegraph)

• It seems Amanda Knox got the royal treatment after she was freed from prison in Italy. Her route from Rome to Seattle took her through London, where she changed planes. While Knox was at Heathrow Airport, she was apparently whisked into a building, separate from the main terminal, known as the Windsor Suite, because it’s a VIP area normally used by Queen Elizabeth and other royals, as well as celebrities.

“It is standard operating procedure for passengers to bypass the terminal area when there is the possibility for disturbance for other passengers, for example when there is media attention,” an airport spokeswoman said. (via the Herald Sun)

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By Paul Hechinger