Telegraph — The Duchess of Cambridge showed off her Mustique tan – and her growing baby bump – as she met Sir Ben Ainslie in Portsmouth today.
The Duchess, who has just returned from a two-week family holiday on the Caribbean island with the Duke of Cambridge, Prince George and the Middletons, looked suitably bronzed in a cream MaxMara coat.
But it was her noticeably bigger baby bump that was attracting the most attention. The Duchess is due to give birth in April to a brother or sister for Prince George.
The Duchess was helping to promote Sir Ben’s attempts to get young people involved in sailing and the marine industry.
Underneath her coat she wore a nautically-themed navy blue shift dress with a sailing boat motif of red yachts with white sails from Somerset by Alice Temperley.
Sir Ben’s Portsmouth-based Ben Ainslie Racing is aiming to win the America’s Cup for Britain for the first time, and his 1851 Trust works with under-25s to inspire them to take to the sea.
The Duchess, who is Royal Patron of the 1851 Trust – named after the year the America’s Cup left Britain, never to return – was making her first visit to its headquarters.
She also attended a reception at the port’s Spinnaker Tower landmark to meet people involved in the Ben Ainslie Racing project and to view exhibits destined for a visitor centre being built by the Trust which will open in July.
It is billed as an “interactive showcase for the sport of sailing, sustainability and innovation”.
The Duchess, a keen artist, was invited to contribute to a mural painted by local people at Sir Ben’s headquarters, depicting the water and skyline from Portsmouth to Ryde on the Isle of Wight.
The Duchess painted in five crewmen, including Sir Ben, on a picture of a racing yacht, showing their backsides hanging over the side of the boat.
“Make it accurate,” Sir Ben told her, as she painted in his bottom.
She was asked to sign the painting but politely declined.
Art teacher James Waterfield from Park Community School in Leigh Park, Havant, stood alongside the Duchess as she did her painting.
“I was so worried about getting paint on her fantastic white coat,” he said.
“She told me she was painting yesterday with baby George and she should have brought him down because he loves doing all of this.”
Sir Ben said the Duchess had successfully handled a sailing simulator, adding: “It does make you sick, but she was fine.”
On her way to the Spinnaker Tower the 33-year-old Duchess stopped to chat to construction workers who are working round the clock to get the new centre finished in time for Ben to make it his base from May.
The workers downed their tools to watch her and gave her presents of hi-visibility vests saying The Boss for her, The Future Boss for George and The Boss’s Best Friend for cocker spaniel Lupo.
Inside the tower the Duchess had to tuck her baby bump out of the way as she tried her hand at a power grinder, a hand-operated device for winding in sails.
Sir Ben said: “It was great to have her here and she was looking well.
“She’s very interested in everything. She was really interested in how we are designing the boats and in the most secretive parts of that.
“There are a lot of very smart people working very hard on that.”
The Duchess delighted the waiting crowd outside by going on an impromptu walkabout.
She stopped to talk to nursery worker Kady Baulf, 28, from Portsmouth, who had taken the day off work specially to see her.
Kady said: “I asked her how George is and she said he’s fine. I wished her good luck with the new baby. She said I looked lovely and shook my hand.”
The Duchess also spoke to Rosemarie Thomas, 65, and stroked her pet Beagle Beagy.
Rosemarie said: “She said how lovely she was and asked her name. She’s clearly a dog lover. It’s fantastic, very exciting.”