Her mother was a successful air hostess for British Airways and it seems the Duchess of Cambridge may have been inspired by Carole Middleton today as she boarded a commercial flight back to London from her first solo overseas tour.

Kate, 34, was sporting a bespoke 'vintage style' pale blue skirt suit by French-born fashion designer Catherine Walker as she stepped onto the 7.15pm British Airways flight from the Netherlands following her whirlwind trip.

With her brunette locks scraped back neatly into a chic bun, the Royal appeared to be channelling an air hostess look as she returned from her first foreign trip on official royal duties without her husband Prince William.

Photographs show her boarding the passenger plane in Rotterdam early this evening, with fellow flyers excitedly taking pictures of her on their mobile phones as she is shown to her seat on the front row of the aircraft.


The scheduled flight - the last of the day from Rotterdam to City Airport - was full of members of the public who were shocked to see the Duchess board at the last minute.

She was escorted onto the plane by bodyguards and her team ahead of the 50-minute flight. One source said he had "never seen so many iPhones pop up at once," as passengers scrambled to get a photograph of the Duchess.

Keeping a low-profile, Kate spoke with a member of her team for the duration of the quick flight before being the first to be escorted from the plane once it landed "a couple of minutes early". A car was said to be waiting on the tarmac at London City Airport and the Royal was whisked away before passengers were allowed to disembark.

Standing in front The Girl With The Pearl Earring, Kate looked like a perfect match for the enigmatic figure in Vermeer's masterpiece.

And given her knowledge of art, her choice of jewellery for today's visit - a pair of diamond and pearl earrings borrowed from the Queen - was clearly no coincidence.

The Duchess lingered in front of the Dutch masterpiece, made famous by the film of the same name starring Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson, to ensure that photographers had ample time to take their pictures of the girls in pearls.

She regarded the visit as 'a real treat' according to the Mauritshuis gallery director Emilie Gordenker who showed her around the permanent collection as well as the Queen's paintings.

She said: "She didn't mention the earrings she was wearing, but she was interested in the painting. She asked if it had become a lot more popular since the film came out, and I said it definitely had.

"The Duchess seemed to particularly enjoy seeing The Goldfinch, by Carel Fabritius.

"But she asked a lot of questions about the presentation of the paintings, because although she is familiar with a lot of the Queen's paintings she has never seen them in this setting before, which gives them a different context."

Kate was all smiles as she chatted with her royal counterpart, King Willem Alexander, at the start of her day of engagements in Holland. Photo / Getty Images
Kate was all smiles as she chatted with her royal counterpart, King Willem Alexander, at the start of her day of engagements in Holland. Photo / Getty Images

Kate was visiting the museum as part of a day of engagements in the Netherlands - her first solo foreign trip on official royal duties without William.

The mother-of-two looked elegant in a bespoke pale blue skirt suit by Catherine Walker and in a break from her usual style she wore her brunette locks swept back in a chic bun.

She teamed her outfit with her trusty Gianvito Rossi suede pumps, which she also wore yesterday for an engagement in London and carried a small nude box clutch from L.K. Bennett.

The chic ensemble gave the Duchess more than a hint of Jackie Kennedy style, and is in keeping with her new high end wardrobe.

Kate was given a personal tour of an exhibition featuring Dutch Old Masters loaned by the Royal Collection, with artwork, furniture and other objects accumulated over centuries by the British monarchy.

The highlight of the visiting exhibition is Johannes Vermeer's The Music Lesson, but the Duchess also toured the museum's permanent collection, which is where she encountered Vermeer's best-known work, as well as The Goldfinch by Carel Fabritius.

Before leaving, the Duchess met children taking part in the gallery's learning programme and attended a short reception with museum supporters.

Earlier today, Kate made a courtesy call to King Willem-Alexander at Villa Eikenhorst, the royal residence he shares with wife Queen Maxima and their three daughters, Princesses Amalia, Alexia and Ariane.

The family home is on the forested De Horsten estate in Wassenaar, near The Hague, and, despite being a private residence, the Dutch monarch sometimes hosts foreign guests.

"Welcome, welcome, very nice to see you," the king said, as he greeted his guest for the first visit by a British royal to the Dutch kingdom in three years.

Her one-day trip is a royal milestone for the Duchess as it's the first time she's travelled abroad by herself on official royal duties without William.

A tour of Malta in 2014 was scheduled to be Kate's first solo trip but she had to cancel as she was suffering from acute morning sickness while pregnant with Princess Charlotte.

Folowing her museum visit, Kate travelled to the official residence of Sir Geoffrey Adams, Britain's Ambassador to the Netherlands, to convene a round-table discussion on the themes of addiction, intervention, family and mental health.

Taking part were professionals from the Trimbos Institute, a non-profit research centre working on the issues of mental health and addiction.

Rutger Engels, President and Chief Executive officer of the Trimbos Institute said: 'Still too often children are overlooked when one of their parents has a mental disorder or addiction problem.

"We are very pleased that The Duchess will use her visit to the Netherlands to raise more awareness for the vulnerable position these children are in."

They were joined by counterparts from two of the Duchess's UK charities - the Anna Freud Centre for Children and Families, a leading charity in the research, teaching and the provision of care for children and young people with mental health issues, and Action on Addiction.

Kate Middleton is introduced to a robot by a local youngster at Bouwkeet for teenagers. Photo / Getty Images
Kate Middleton is introduced to a robot by a local youngster at Bouwkeet for teenagers. Photo / Getty Images

Later Kate travelled to the neighbouring city of Rotterdam to learn about Bouwkeet, the social Makerspace of Bospolder-Tussendijken. This is a new community focused initiative in the centre of an economically deprived district which provides a creative design and technology workspace.

The Duchess met with youngsters in woodwork and bike-building classes, and even got the chance to meet a real-life robot, where she was pictured shaking hands with the machine.

Local residents can use the facilities, and 'pay' by sharing their skills with others, providing education, skills and positive role models within the community. The centre works with local schools to bring young people in the area into workshops, where they learn to design, create and build their own projects.

Residents pay by sharing their skills with others, providing education, skills and positive role models in the neighbourhood.

The visit comes a day after Prime Minister Theresa May was in the Netherlands for talks with her Dutch counterpart, Mark Rutte, to put forward her case for a fair deal for the UK with the European Union.

Mrs May also visited Denmark for talks with Prime Minister Lars-Lokke Rasmussen as part of her diplomatic offensive ahead of the formal beginning of the Brexit process.

Some commentators believe Kate will be an asset in helping to safeguard the UK's relations with its European neighbours as Brexit takes shape in the coming years.

One of the Queen's most senior aides, her private secretary Sir Christopher Geidt, joined Kate's small entourage - which may be interpreted by some as reflecting the importance of the trip.

But a Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "The Duchess' visit centred on an exhibition featuring works from the Royal Collection. Sir Christopher attended in his capacity as a trustee of the Royal Collection."

Royal sources dismissed the speculation that Sir Christopher's presence was Brexit related, and said his joining the Duchess also reflected the close ties between the British and Dutch royal families.