Kate Middleton takes first ever salute in surprise visit to military music event

Kate Middleton has taken her first salute in a surprise visit to a military music event this evening.

The Duchess beamed as she arrived at the Beating Retreat – a display of military music, horsemanship, precision drill, fireworks and pageantry.

The mum-of-three took the salute at the prestigious event, a role usually given to the Queen.

More than 750 soldiers wearing ceremonial uniforms took part.

About 7,500 bystanders cheered as the duchess arrived and took her seat at Horse Guards Parade on Thursday evening.

It has taken place on House Guards Parade in Whitehall every year since 1966 and raises money for service charities.

Wearing a cream collared jacket, with her hair in a slick chignon, Kate smiled and spoke with soldiers who welcomed her to the event.

It paid tribute to the 75th anniversary of D-Day by including a composition taken from The Longest Day, a 1962 film depicting the Normandy landings on June 6 1944.

Kate was the only member of the royal family to attend the event, with the Duke of Cambridge marking the anniversary at an event in Staffordshire earlier on Thursday.

The hour-long programme featured traditional military anthems, telling the history of regiments in the British Army.

As well as bands from the Household Division, this year the military spectacular featured The Band, Pipe and Drums of the Royal Guard of Oman.

Dame Kelly Holmes, Honorary Colonel of the Royal Armoured Corps Training Regiment, took the salute at the event's first night on Wednesday.

Beating Retreat is performed in front of St James's Park across two evenings every year in the week preceding Trooping the Colour, the Queen's official birthday parade.

Earlier this week, Kate attended the state banquet held for Donald Trump and Melania.

The  Duke and Duchess of Sussex  gave it a miss, as did  Jeremy Corbyn  and House of Commons speaker, John Bercow.

Among the attendees, however there were several familiar faces – including  Rose Hanbury .

Also known as the Marchioness of Cholmondeley, Rose is the woman whom the Duchess of Cambridge is claimed to have ordered Prince William to "phase out" out of their Norfolk friend set, according to  The Sun

Prior to a reported falling out, the Cambridges were said to have enjoyed double dates with Rose and her husband David Rocksavage who live nearby, close to Sandringham.

Yet despite rumours of a rift, Rose was in attendance and was sat just metres away from Kate.

The former model and mother-of-three was pictured arriving at the event wearing an elegant white gown.

It's not known if this means the pair have repaired any damage to their relationship.

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