Kate Middleton Shines in First Solo Public Engagement

Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Kate Middleton doesn't need Prince William by her side to make a splash.

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The 30-year-old Duchess of Cambridge made her first solo public appearance since marrying into the royal family Wednesday, attending a preview of Lucian Freud paintings at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Wearing an affordable gray Jesire dress and four-inch heels, Middleton spoke with photographer Mary McCartney and Freud's daughter, Bella Freud, inside the museum. See more photos from Kate's first official solo outing.

The National Portrait Gallery is one of the five charities Middleton -- an art history major at St. Andrews University -- officially supports.

Where was her beloved William, 29? The search-and-rescue helicopter pilot is currently deployed 7,500 miles away in the Falkland Islands, near South America.