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Kate and Will visiting a homeless center in London, Dec. 21 (Sang Tan/AP Images)

Where else would it be more appropriate to mark the passing of the old year into the new than in the land of “Auld Lang Syne”?  Kate and Wills are going to be celebrating their first married New Year’s together in Scotland, at the Birkhall estate owned by William’s father, Prince Charles, according to a “source” cited by US Weekly.

“They will stay for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day,” the source reportedly said. “Charles and Camilla will be flying there, too.”

And while Kate’s parents were not at last week’s royal Christmas gathering in Sandringham, Michael and Carole Middleton will be guests at Birkhall. But the source adds that they probably won’t be staying at Birkhall proper; instead, they’ll likely stay at one of the other cottages on the 53,000-acre estate. (No, that’s not a typo.)

In other Kate Middleton-related news:

• A tabloid columnist recently offered the Duchess of Cambridge a big mea culpa. The Daily Mail’s Amanda Platell wrote that before the royal wedding she’d been taken aside by “Prince William’s people,” who argued she was simply not being fair to Kate, whom she accused of being lazy, having had no job other than one in her parents’ company and “being more famous for her frocks than anything she’d said or done.” When the folks from the palace said that Kate was quietly preparing for her position as role model and wife of the future king, Platell asked whether they were joking.

“Well,” Platell writes, “now it looks like the joke was on me.”

From keeping her own down-to-earth style sense to working with her husband as a teammate on royal responsibilities, she says, “Kate has not put a foot wrong since her engagement to William was announced.”

“I admit I was completely unprepared for the grace with which Kate has conducted herself,” Platell wrote in her column, concluding: “Kate, I apologise for getting you wrong.”

• Prince Philip wasn’t the only royal who didn’t shoot any pheasant over the Christmas weekend. Kate didn’t take part in the actual firing of rifles, either, but that was by her own choice. (The Duke of Edinburgh, recovering from heart surgery, apparently took doctors’ advice to refrain from hunting.) As expected, Kate didn’t pick up any guns herself, a decision that was met with approval from animal rights groups. After writing to the Duchess, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says it was “thrilled” that she chose to forgo the traditional Boxing Day hunt, which apparently dates back to the time of George V.

“Whether or not a recent letter from PETA influenced Kate’s change of heart,” wrote Global Animal, “we applaud her decision to not participate in the Royal Family’s archaic hunting tradition.”

• Kate has come in at number one in a UK beauty poll. Who’d she beat out? Her sister, Pippa, who came in second. So it means that, according to the 3,000 women surveyed by the Superdrug chain, the two most beautiful women in Britain just happen to be sisters. Coming in at number three is last year’s winner, Cheryl Cole. Sara Wolverson, Superdrug’s beauty director, said it was “fascinating” that four out of the top five celebrities are brunettes, “which would indicate,” she observed, “that while blondes may have more fun, brunettes are seen to be more beautiful.”

The first ten women on the list are:

1.  Kate Middleton
2.  Pippa Middleton
3.  Cheryl Cole
4.  Rihanna
5.  Holly Willoughby
6.  Tulisa Contostavlos
7.  Beyonce
8.  Emma Watson
9.   Katy Perry
10. Victoria Beckham

There are, however, 20 women ranked in the survey – for the complete list, go to The Metro.

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By Paul Hechinger