Kate and Camilla: royal ladies who lunch
[Updated at 9:23 p.m.]
After weeks of not being seen in public, Prince William's fiancee, Kate Middleton, decided to go out today ... with her future stepmother-in-law.
People reports that the royal bride-to-be lunched with Camilla, the duchess of Cornwall, at The Berkeley hotel in London. Spotted by a fellow diner at Koffmann's -- which bills itself as offering "hearty, seasonal French cooking from a modern master" -- Kate brought along a notebook, prompting the magazine to suggest they might have been discussing the April 29 wedding.
If they weren't talking about the wedding or the Windsor clan, it's possible they might have just made note of the meal, perhaps to tell Camilla's son, Tom, an established food writer.
The Daily Mail's Richard Kay offers details on the lunch, which was actually for four -- the women were joined by Camilla's daughter, Laura, and Kate's sister, Pippa.
Kate and Pippa are known to be close, and one of Kate's early public appearances with Prince William was at the 2006 wedding of Camilla's daughter. Laura Lopes was also among those who attended a photo exhibition Kate and Pippa organized in 2007.
Still, it's unusual that a group who could dine in, well, their pick of palaces had such a public sitdown.
A diner seated two tables away told Kay that the women were in high spirits, cheerfully discussing a lunch menu among other things: "All four women were talking away like mad .... I heard Camilla saying... 'if I can give you one bit of advice.' ... I did hear talk of trumpets and someone said, 'We can't have trumpets, the ceiling is too high,' which may have been a reference to Westminster Abbey."
Photos of the ladies leaving the restaurant show Kate carrying a slim red notebook.