Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, arrived in Stockton-on-Tees this week for a string of solo engagements. Around 2,000 well-wishers turned out to welcome Middleton to the north-east, where she met Olympic volunteers, reports BBC News.

Dressed in a burgundy coat, the Duchess braved the blustery weather to meet the likes of William Hardy, 14, who carried the Olympic torch through Newcastle earlier in the summer. William contracted meningitis when just 23 months old, having both of his legs and part of his left arm amputated. Megan Bartle, 20, who arrived early to get a good vantage point, said of the Duchess, "She is such a brilliant role model and a true inspiration. She also carries herself beautifully, but is modest and at ease with the public.I like the way she mixes designer clothes with high street fashion and almost as if she is saying, 'I don't think I'm better than you'". 67-year-old Mercy Scott got the bus from neighbouring Cramlington for Middleton's arrival, saying, "We understand though, why William isn't here and seeing Kate in person is brilliant. She is so beautiful and good natured and will make a good queen."

Prince William was unable to attend the royal engagement following the death of his former nanny Olga Powell. The Prince attended the funeral of Mrs Powell, who cared for he and Prince Harry following their parent's divorce and the death of their mother, Princess Diana.