With Prince William away in New Zealand last week for work, it's been up to Kate Middleton to hold down the fort in London. And while you might believe recent weeks have been all about cake-tasting and dress fittings, this couldn't be further from the truth.
Sources tell UsMagazine.com that Kate, 29, spent a considerable amount of time last week planning her charitable works. I'm told that she met up with a leading children's charity to discuss a future patronage.
"The plans that Kate's involved in go far beyond the wedding," a royal aide tells me. "One of her meetings was with Beatbullying, which is a charity she feels interested in working with.
"She's hoping to begin her life of royal duty the second they are back from the honeymoon. Kate wants to do good and prove herself." (No confirmation from St. James' Palace yet, who say "Nothing has been confirmed" for Kate's chosen charities.)
Also in the cards? A source reveals that Kate and William, 28, are hoping to plan a special one-off concert in London to benefit Japan disaster victims.
Kate was also lucky enough to get a second preview of her wedding music when she visited the Cadogan Hall in Knightsbridge on Friday.
A spokesman for the London Chamber Orchestra confirms that Kate spent time with conductor Christopher Warren-Green (who is also a friend of Prince Charles). "Kate came in to see a little of what she can expect," adds an onlooker. "Everyone was very excited to see her at the rehearsals. It was totally out of the blue."
Of course, there was also time for a little shopping. I'm told that Kate spent much of Thursday on the boutique-lined Kings Road, taking her time to browse around several stores (including L K Bennett and L'Occitane).
Catching her eye was a jacket in Joseph, which an assistant came back and purchased later in the day.
So much for British gossip rag reports of "stressed" Kate crumbling under the pressure. It looks like the young Middleton has it all under control.
As William joked to a fan in Belfast recently: "If something goes wrong in the Abbey… If somebody body faints, it'll be me!"
By Omid Scobie, European Bureau Chief, for UsMagazine.com.
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