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The Duchess at Downton: Kate Middleton visits the set of Downton Abbey

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As she nears the final weeks of her pregnancy, you might assume the Duchess of Cambridge would be thinking about putting her feet up.

However Kate Middleton clearly didn't want to pass up the chance of a tour round the set of one of her favourite TV shows, and met the cast and crew of Downton Abbey at their Ealing studios.

The royal was met by Downton creator Julian Fellowes before being shown around wardrobe and make-up, where she chatted to Phyllis Logan, who plays housekeeper Mrs Hughes, as well as Robert James Collier, who plays under butler Thomas - who rather cheekily joked: "You've come just at the right time, Phyllis is about to have her Botox put in."

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Kate chatted to actress Phyllis Logan, who plays Mrs Hughes, in hair and make-up

Kate, 33, is known to be a fan of the popular drama, previously revealing that she and Prince William watch it together, so she would have no doubt been excited to meet the stars, including Joanne Froggatt, who plays maid Anna Bates, and Laura Carmichael, who plays Edith Crawley, though ever the diplomat, apparently wouldn't be drawn on her favourite characters.

The visit doesn't appear to be mere a perk of being a royal, as aides said she accepted the invitation "to help celebrate what is one of the most successful products of the UK's creative industries, and one of Britain's greatest cultural exports".

Dame Maggie Smith, who plays the Dowager Duchess of Grantham, sadly couldn't attend the meet and greet due to illness.  

But the real Duchess was clearly excited to watch a scene from series six being filmed, and enjoyed the tour so much that she reportedly stayed for an extra half-hour.

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The Duchess sat in on a Downton scene being filmed

Kate, who was also pictured speaking to Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary, was presented with a posy of flowers by four-year-old Zac Barker, who plays Lady Mary's son George along with his twin brother Oliver.

Actress Lesley Nichol, who plays cook Mrs Patmore, later said: "We knew before she came that she was a fan of the show and she clearly knew a lot about what we did.

"I got the impression that she thoroughly enjoyed herself, but I really hope she has just gone home for a cup of tea and put her feet up. It was a long time for her to be walking around on the set with that bump."

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Kate speaks to actresses Sopie McShera and Lesley Nicol during her Downton set visit

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