Prince William and Kate Middleton showed up in Belfast this morning, continuing to tour the nation before their wedding at the end of April. It was a surprise “top secret” trip, apparently for security issues, but both seemed relaxed and in game form, especially for the old biddies and kids who can’t get enough of the Royalness. Kate in particular seems to be easing into the Life. After his mother struggled so publicly with the pressures of being a princess, word is William was very deliberate about making sure Kate has and continues to have access to the resources and the preparation required to thrive in her role. Still, sometimes I wonder, when you accept a marriage proposal from a Wales or Windsor (whatever, they don’t use last names and it’s a pain in the ass and here come the know-it-alls explaining why), where does “personal happiness” rank in the list of priorities? In other words, has this been made much clearer to Kate, the fact that Duty precedes everything, than it was to Diana? Is it stupid of me to believe it? Because I think she’s very, very aware of her expectations. I don’t think she’s going into it with any dangerous illusions. And I also think, given that this has been 8 years in the making, that “Catherine” will be a much more pragmatic princess than her predecessor. She’ll brace for and suffer disappointment away from the television. What? Too early for such cynicism? You’re right. Her coat today is too nice for that.

And she’s flipping pancakes too! After that William and Kate hit up the Youth Action Northern Ireland Centre, watched a short play, and spoke to members of The Rainbow Factory.

Kate seems to have lost a significant amount of leg weight since the engagement. I mean, she’s always been quite thin, but this, especially her legs here in Ireland, it seems a little extreme. Pre-wedding stress?

Photos from Pacemaker/ and WPA Pool/Chris Jackson/