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Kate celebrates 30th birthday on the red carpet at premiere

The Duchess of Cambridge kicked off her 30th birthday celebrations by attending the glitzy London premiere of War Horse – and shared the red carpet with the film’s equine star.

Kate stole the show on Sunday night in an elegant floor-length black lace evening gown by Alice Temperley. She was 30 yesterday.

Michael Morpurgo, the author of the children’s book which inspired the film, led the well-wishes for the Duchess on the eve of her birthday.

With the Duke of Cambridge, she graced the red carpet in the long-sleeved dress, which was nipped in at the waist and accessorised with a black clutch bag and intricate diamond jewellery.

The couple shared the red carpet with the star of the film – a thoroughbred called Joey, who was driven from his stables in Milton Keynes to face fans and photographers.

When the royal couple arrived, the crowd gave a resounding cheer.

They walked up the red carpet, sheltered from the rain by a see-through umbrella, and when Kate spotted the horse she grinned broadly.

Mr Morpurgo said it was an “honour” that the Duchess chose War Horse as her first royal premiere and said he would send her a copy of the book as a birthday gift.

“I am thrilled, it is a wonderful honour that she has chosen this film to do that,” he said.

“I will send her a copy of War Horse for her birthday.

“She is a wonderful example of dignity and calm and I like that in her.”

The premiere of Steven Spielberg’s film, in London’s Leicester Square, was also attended by 600 serving and ex-serving military personnel and their families, as well as beneficiaries of military charities.

The royal couple went to the event in aid of the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry, which helps the welfare of those in the Armed Forces.

They met servicemen and women as well as the cast and crew and chatted animatedly with Mr Spielberg, Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch, Emily Watson and Tom Hiddleston, who plays Captain Nicholls and went to school with Prince William.

Mr Spielberg said it was an honour to have William and Kate in attendance.

“This is my first royal premiere for the Duke and Duchess, having done them before for the Queen and the Queen Mother,” he said.

“It is a wonderful occasion and so exciting. I get a buzz. You never grow out of something like this,” he said.

The World War I epic, which was nominated for best drama at the Golden Globes, follows on from the success of the play, which debuted at the National Theatre in London in 2007 before sell-out West End and Broadway runs.

The film largely met with a thumbs-up from newspaper critics yesterday, with reviewers in both The Times and the Daily Express awarding it four out of five stars.

The Independent, meanwhile, gave it three out of five stars.

War Horse opens in cinemas on Friday.

The girl who grew up to be a duchess

Things to know about the wife of William
Here are a few facts about the Duchess of Cambridge, who celebrated her 30th birthday yesterday


• Catherine Elizabeth Middleton was born to parents Michael and Carole Middleton at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading on January 9, 1982.

• Kate was christened at the parish church of St Andrew’s Bradfield in Berkshire on June 20, 1982.

• At the age of 13, she went to the £15,000-a-year Marlborough College in Wiltshire.

• During her time there she represented the college at tennis, hockey and netball.

• She became captain of the college’s hockey team and played in the first pair at tennis.

• Kate is a keen photographer and took pictures for her parents’ mail order business Party Pieces.

• Amman, the capital of Jordan, was home to Kate and her family for a few years in the mid-1980s.

• The Duchess has completed her Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award.

• Hobbies she enjoys include walking, tennis, swimming, sailing, and painting.

• It was rumoured that at Marlborough College Kate had a poster of her future husband William on her wall.

• But she has quashed speculation by revealing it was in fact the “Levi’s guy” who adorned her bedroom.

• Kate spent time studying at the British Institute in Florence during a gap year.

• She also crewed on Round the World Challenge boats in the Solent while taking a break from studies.

• In 2001, the Duchess enrolled at the University of St Andrews, Fife, from where she graduated in 2005 with a 2:1 in history of art.

• When an undergraduate she continued playing sports and turned out for the University’s hockey team.

• Kate met her future husband at St Andrews – a University where graduates have around a one in 10 chance of meeting their perfect partner and getting married.

• The Duchess worked in London as a part-time buyer for the clothing company Jigsaw Junior.

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