SOLO MISSION: The Duchess of Cambridge flew solo in the northeast of England on Wednesday, taking on a series of official engagements in Newcastle without Prince William, who was attending the funeral of Olga Powell, his childhood nanny. She greeted hundreds of people who had gathered to welcome her to the Newcastle Civic Centre — and wowed the crowds. When one 10-year-old asked her for a hug, the duchess gamely leaned over the security barrier to embrace the youngster.

In her first official trip to the region, the duchess wore a burgundy coat by an unnamed designer, which she last sported on Christmas Day. During her visit to the center, Kate also met with representatives from community organizations and took part in a game of boccia, a form of bowls and a Paralympic sport, with two disabled players from a local school.

This story first appeared in the October 11, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

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