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Prince William and Duchess Kate visit Scotland to show the royal plaid and strengthen bonds in the north.

1:30 PM, Apr 4, 2013   |    comments
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USA TODAY- The Earl and Countess of Strathearn arrived in Scotland today for an official visit to the north country.

Wait, who?

Most people know them as Prince William and his pregnant wife, Duchess Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and a future British king and queen. But when they're in Scotland, they're called the Earl and Countess of Strathearn.

Why? Because royals collect titles like some people collect teacups, and Scotland is a separate country within the United Kingdom (for now). So they get a Scottish title or two in addition to their HRH.

Anyway, Will and Kate arrived today in Scotland's largest city, Glasgow, to start a two-day engagement with a visit to the Emirates Arena, one of the venues for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Thousands of excited Scots are expected to turn out to see them during their schedule of public events.

She was dressed, according to the Mirror, in a short, blue and gray wool plaid coat, by a designer called Moloh, plus black tights and black suede boots. She still appears slim for a woman about six months pregnant.

They toured a short-term residential facility for a dozen young homeless youths with addiction problems, and had a Skype conversation with two homeless Scots living in the Netherlands.

The Mirror reported that the duchess chatted with people in the crowd during a walkabout and revealed, for the first time, that the baby is due in mid-July. Also, they have a shortlist of names for both boys and girls, and that her friends keep texting her with new suggestions. She plans to give up royal duties around June to get ready for the birth.

The couple also visited a leisure center today to launch a project of their Royal Foundation to train young sports coaches. Homelessness, addiction and sports are all areas the couple have focused on in their royal patronage agendas.

On Friday, they will travel south of Glasgow to join William's father, Prince Charles the Prince of Wales, known as the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, to open a new outdoor center at Dumfries House. It's one of those 250-year-old Downton Abbey-style stately homes stuffed with Chippendale, hidden doors and cranky ghosts.

Once endangered, it's now open to the public, saved for the nation in 2007 by Charles, whose many titles include Great Steward of Scotland.

Later, Will and Kate will dip back into northern England to visit a defense contractor building new Astute-class submarines.

Both Will and Kate went to college in Scotland so they are as familiar and popular there as anywhere. If their visit helps strengthen royal bonds, that would certainly please Buckingham Palace. Scots are set to vote in 2014 on independence from the U.K. If they do exit, they'd keep the monarchy but Queen Elizabeth II is reportedly not thrilled about the prospect.

Meanwhile, the couple continue to prepare for the birth of their baby. He is reported to be giving up his job as a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot in the RAF based in Wales, and may take a new military assignment or go to full-time royal duties starting in the summer.

She appears to be thriving in the later stages of her pregnancy, making public appearances without William. She's scheduled to join grandmother-in-law Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle on April 21 for the annual review celebration of the Queen's Scouts. Kate is a volunteer with the Scouts.

They're expected to move into a large renovated apartment in Kensington Palace in the fall, and a country home on the queen's Sandringham estate in Norfolk is also being readied for them, according to British media reports.

They've also renamed their main charitable foundation, which includes Prince Harry, to the Royal Foundation. They have applied to trademark the name and their titles, according to The Telegraph, to protect against illegal use and in case it might want to use it for products in the future. This led to widespread speculation that she might be coming out with her own fashion line, even though the palace dismissed the idea as nonsense.

 

Maria Puente, USA TODAY

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