Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Kate Is in Top Rank at Willia'ms Big Parade; the Most Important Date Yet as Willia'ms Girlfriend Joins the Senior Royals at Sandhurst

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Kate Is in Top Rank at Willia'ms Big Parade; the Most Important Date Yet as Willia'ms Girlfriend Joins the Senior Royals at Sandhurst

Article excerpt

Byline: ROBERT JOBSON

KATE MIDDLETON today joined the Queen and other senior members of the royal family to watch Prince William graduate from Sandhurst.

It is Miss Middleton's most significant public appearance since she started dating William, 24, four years ago and her presence will intensify speculation that the couple will marry in the future.

Miss Middleton, also 24, wore a black hat and red coat, matching the colours of William's uniform as he marched with other graduates before the Queen on the Sandhurst parade ground.

Other royals at the ceremony which marks the prince's commission as an Army officer - included Prince Charles, Camilla and the Duke of Edinburgh.

It was a day of pride and happiness for William, in stark contrast to yesterday's publication of the police report into his mother's death.

Although Miss Middleton was one of William's guests she tried to keep a low profile and was not seated with the royal family.

Instead she chatted to her parents, Carole and Michael, smiling and laughing ahead of the ceremony on a cold morning.

She arrived to take her seat shortly after William and the other cadets lined up on the parade ground, and stoodfor the National Anthem with her hands clasped in front of her as the Queenand the Duke of Edinburgh took their places on the dais in front of the officer cadets. Miss Middleton was also joined by William's private secretary Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, a former SAS officer.

Rather than the VIP section, the

party was seated in the front row of one of the general stands. "That's how they wanted to be today, like everybody else," a member of Sandhurst said.

Today's ceremony marked the first time Miss Middleton has been William's guest at a high-profile public event attended by the Queen.

The last time the two were together at an event attended by the monarch was when she and William graduated from St Andrews University in June last year.

Then she was attending the graduation in her own right to collect her degree in the history of art.

Since then, with William at her side, she has enjoyed a number of private meetings with the Queen. At today's parade the Queen began her inspection of the cadets with the military academy's Commandant, Major General Peter Pearson.

When she came to William's platoon she stopped briefly in front of her grandson and said a few words that made the future king smile before carrying on with her inspection.

The Sandhurst cadets then marched past the monarch first in slow time, then in quick.

The stature of William, who stands 6ft 3in tall, meant he acted as a marker during the Sovereign's parade and ensured the cadets marched in a straight line as they trooped past family, friends and dignitaries. As William marched past his grandmother he strained his neck to look at her following the order of "eyes right" barked out by a senior officer. …

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