LIVERPOOL LOVE: The Duchess of Cambridge made her first solo visit outside London Tuesday, visiting a variety of charities in Liverpool — and was showered with homemade Valentine’s Day cards, flowers and praise at every stop. She chose a burgundy Hobbs below-the-knee coat with a skinny leather belt and leather details on the sleeves, and a black turtleneck sweater for the visits with recovering addicts and sick children. She sipped a banana-and-skimmed-milk smoothie called “The Duchess” at an alcohol-free bar run by the Action on Addiction charity, of which she is a patron, and was serenaded by the resident choir made up of recovering addicts.

Later, she visited the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, where patients are treated for cancer and burn injuries, and to Ronald McDonald House, which provides free accommodation for families visiting sick children.

This story first appeared in the February 15, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Meanwhile, in other royal news, Mattel plans to come out in April with a Barbie Collector William and Catherine Royal Wedding gift set to mark the couple’s one-year anniversary. The Duke of Cambridge doll wears a red jacket with a blue sash and gold detailing, while the Duchess doll wears a floor-length ivory gown with a lace torso and full skirt. She also wears an ivory veil, tiara and matching drop earrings. The adult collector dolls are priced at 99.99 pounds, or $157 at current exchange, and can be preordered as of today.

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