Kate Middleton's Maternity Leave: The Duchess of Cambridge Completes Her Final Pre-Birth Engagements

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Kate Middleton's Maternity Leave: The Duchess of Cambridge Completes Her Final Pre-Birth Engagements
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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Trooping the Color Parade, July 15, 2013.

After two weekend engagements, the Duchess of Cambridge was notably absent from today's Order of the Garter ceremony at Windsor Castle, a sign that the royal baby's due date is fast approaching!

Kate, who is expecting her first child in mid-July, has officially begun her maternity leave and will be out of the public eye until after she's given birth. The fashionable future queen did make a stylish departure, debuting two more trendy maternity looks before stepping out of the limelight.

Here's a look at Kate's last week of royal duties and how she's making her final preparations for becoming a mom.

Naming a Cruise Ship

Last week Kate was on-hand to christen the newest Princess cruise ship, officially becoming the godmother of the Royal Princess. The Duchess spoke briefly, saying "I name this ship Royal Princess, may God bless her and all who sail in her," before smashing a bottle of champagne against the hull. The day was particularly poignant, since William's beloved mother, the late Princess Diana, christened Princess Cruise Line's first Royal Princess at the same spot in 1984.

Kate picked an eye-catching look for the ceremony, wearing a Dalmatian-print coat from the popular retailer Hobbs. She accessorized with black heels, a black Sylvia Fletcher hat, and a white Alexander McQueen clutch.

Trooping the Color Parade

On Saturday, both the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge participated in the Trooping the Color Parade, which marks the Queen's official birthday. While William was on horseback, Kate accompanied the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry in a carriage.

The mom-to-be looked radiant in a pale pink Alexander McQueen coat, which featured a wide collar and large pearl buttons. She finished her look with a matching Jane Corbett hat and a gray McQueen clutch. Fans of the Duchess may recognize the hat, which she previously wore to an engagement at Buckingham Palace in 2012.

Final Balcony Appearance

In keeping with tradition, the royal family appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after the parade. Standing next to Prince Harry and the Duke of Cambridge, Kate waved to the crowd, giggled with relatives, and watched the Royal Air Force fly-over.

What's Next?

With her baby reportedly due on July 11, Kate will likely be putting the finishing touches on the nursery and getting ready for her delivery. According to one source, Kate is hoping for a natural delivery, and may be considering a hypno-birth to reduce the anxiety and pain of labor.

Last week, she was spotted shopping at upscale fabric store Bernard Thorpe, where she selected a nursery-friendly palate of cream and beige-colored items. Though the Duchess has no more official engagements on her calendar, it's likely we'll see her out and about doing some last minute shopping.

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