NORTHERN BELLE: After an hour-long delay caused by a thick fog in London, the Duchess of Cambridge spent Tuesday in Grimsby, in northeast Lincolnshire, England, performing a series of solo engagements. Wearing a coat by high-street label Hobbs, the Duchess’ growing baby bump was visible as she greeted crowds that had been chanting “We want Kate.” Her first engagement was a tour of the National Fishing Heritage Centre led by a former trawlerman.

On her way in to visit the Peaks Lane Fire Station, she made an unplanned stop to talk to about a dozen adults and children who are patients at the nearby St. Andrew’s Hospice. As she bent to talk to the group, who were wrapped in blankets as they awaited her arrival, she shared a joke with 86-year-old Claire Moss-Smith, who said that she was “waiting for [the Duchess] to be Queen.” Kate is said to have laughed and told her that she “might be waiting a long time.”

This story first appeared in the March 6, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Inside the fire station, she met with young people involved with the Prince’s Trust, her father-in-law’s flagship charity, as well as members of the fire crews. She was also shown the fleet of fire engines and the fire pole, which reminded her of that embarrassing scene from “Bridget Jones’ Diary.”

Her last stop of the day was at the Havelock Academy, where she watched a medley of Queen songs performed by students before unveiling a plaque to mark the school’s official opening.