Kate plans first solo engagement

2012-02-03 14:00

London -The Duchess of Cambridge will carry out her first solo public engagement next week, palace officials said on Thursday, as her husband Prince William began a six-week deployment to the Falklands.

Kate, who wed the prince in an extravagant wedding in April last year, will visit an exhibition of portraits by late British artist Lucian Freud at the National Gallery in London on February 8.

The duchess is a patron of the gallery and studied art history at St Andrews University in Scotland, where she met Prince William.

The following week, on February 14, 30-year-old Kate will travel to Liverpool in northwest England to tour the Alder Hey Children's Hospital and an alcohol-free bar run by the charity Action on Addiction.

Kate, known formally as Catherine, is staying at home while her husband spends six weeks in the Falkland Islands in his capacity as a search and rescue helicopter pilot with the Royal Air Force (RAF).

The Ministry of Defence says his deployment is a routine part of his job, but it has stoked tensions with Argentina, which claims the British-controlled islands in the South Atlantic.

The two countries fought a brief but bloody war over the windswept archipelago, which Buenos Aires refers to as Las Malvinas, in 1982.