Queen Elizabeth set off on her Diamond Jubilee tour of the U.K. on Thursday with a very special companion – her granddaughter-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge.
The pair caused a stir at London's St. Pancras Station as they boarded a train to Leicester, the first stop on the Queen's tour, which celebrates 60 years of her reign.
Kate, 30, looked gorgeous in a teal suit by L.K. Bennett and James Lock hat. The Queen, 85, wore a cerise cashmere dress, a coat with black trim by Angela Kelly and a matching hat.
With her husband Prince William busy with his military work, Kate is getting ever more comfortable flying solo at official royal events, impressing royal insiders and commoners alike with her grace and charm.
A Fashionable StartDuring the first stop at De Monfort University, the pair watched from the front row at a student fashion show. "They were chatting away," says Lord Waheed Alli, chancellor of the university. "Kate would ask me things and then tell the Queen."
Dr. Julie King, head of the School of Fashion and Textiles, adds that the Queen and Kate clearly got on well. "They seemed very relaxed together. The Queen has been doing this for so long and is so experienced and just seems to set everyone at ease. And Kate's got that manner as well."
The students "can relate to her," adds King. "She dresses in British designers and mixes them with High Street which a lot of people do day to day. She's very much got a modern look."
A model look, too: "If we were casting, we'd take her on for one of our catwalk shows," says King.
After the royals emerged into the spring sunshine to cheers from the 5,000-strong crowd, the winner of a contest to design a shoe for duchess was announced.
Winner Becka Hunt said she was "overwhelmed" that Kate had picked her sapphire blue (inspired by her engagement ring) creation. "I studied Kate's look and what she likes so I would make something right for her," she said.
The Queen and Prince Philip, 90, are set to visit every major town in the U.K. on their tour, which runs from March to July 25.
Next up? On March 15, Kate will head out with Prince Charles and Camilla as the prince introduces her to the work of one of his education charities, The Prince's Foundation for Children and the Arts.