They walk! they talk! they smile a lot! A year in Will&Kate

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There were speeches, handshakes, and ever so many parties – but somehow the royal couple have survived a year. Harriet Walker marks the occasion

A year on, and Waity Katie has come several steps closer to being Head-of-Statey Katie. With the eyes of the world on her, the Duchess of Cambridge has succeeded for 12 months in walking, talking, meeting and greeting, often all at the same time. Her natural grace, peerless elegance and sparkling sense of style are like something from a fairytale, or Just Seventeen, and she is imitated – if never bettered – by swooning secretaries across the globe. The column inches in celebration of the royal couple's first year are set to be wider than one of the Duchess's spindly little legs and more breathless than her aspirational mother, so here's a cut-out-and-weep guide on this, the eve of their paper wedding anniversary.

29 April 2011: Rear of the Year

When Edward IV ascended the throne, it was said three suns shone in the sky. When Kate Middleton became one of The Firm, a celestial body almost blotted her out. Despite Kate's undoubtedly fine entrance, her train-carrying sister, Pippa's, shapely posterior attracted rather more attention than was expected, thanks to an expertly-cut gown by Alexander McQueen's Sarah Burton (tatty copies now available in BHS). "Did Pippa do it on purpose?" was the question on everybody's lips. Also, "Is she wearing any pants?" And the instruction: "Flick to ITV and see if they zoom in."

24 May 2011: Fist-bumping with Obamas

Alas, no such gesture was possible because Kate's hands seemed glued to that prissy little bag she had her lippie in. It was an important and proud moment for Britain when the Obamas came to stay, and all we managed to offer them was a couple of boring parties with a bunch of toffs. Michelle Obama looked like she was having fun, but then she always does – and she was probably wryly remembering her last visit, when she touched up the Queen and everyone was outraged.

In other news, the internet and media almost broke themselves when the opportunity for meta-images of two of the world's most photographed and pored over women standing next to each other arose.

7 July 2011: In the colonies

Poor William and Kate. Their heads must be aching for a rather more shiny, golden hat, but these will have to do for now. In July, the couple undertook their first tour of duty, to Canada, where the Duchess's dress blew over her head and the pair of them were awkwardly inserted into cowboy get-up for a rodeo. Perhaps the natives thought that the horses would them feel at home. Either way, their trip to the colonies was a roaring success with the local villeins, and one managed to stop orff in LA on the way home, where no doubt Kate auditioned some bum doubles for her forthcoming biopic quadrilogy.

25 December 2011: At church with the in-laws

Many people are dismissive of the Duchess of Cambridge's achievements, but it's no mean feat to get out of bed early on Christmas Day and go to church with the olds.

It takes dedication, does that, so we can rest assured that she's serious about being the next Queen of our Hearts.

It also takes a great deal of rigorous training in fuddy-duddiness to pull off a hat this bad, so she gets extra points for effort here.

4 April 2012: The royal couple go to Madame Tussauds

Stiff, fake and possibly hollow, the couple's waxworks are an exemplary exercise in the world famous Tussaudian verisimilitude. (For the avoidance of doubt, these are the copies, not the moderately more animated originals.) Down the corridor from Robert Pattinson and a left turn from Henry VIII, the happy couple bring a touch of razzmatazz to the otherwise fusty Royalty section of the tourist attraction.

Middleton, who was presumably cast from the molten remains of Mark Phillips's dummy, is decorated with the rictus grin and blue Issa wrap dress that she wore the day that her engagement was announced. One year on, it still looks a darn sight better than all those flammable knock-off versions from Tesco.

1 March 2012: Girls' Night Out

A year after the Occupy movement swept into Fortnum & Mason and declared its owners guilty of tax avoidance, some tax avoiders dropped in for tea. One can only presume they were there to pick out the cake that they will let all us plebs eat, Marie Antoinette-style. The Queen quite fancied this one until Camilla pointed out its striking resemblance to her hat. Kate didn't want to get involved, but you can tell she agrees.

15 March 2012: She wears jeans! JEANS!

Like William Hague's baseball cap, the Duchess's salmon denim will linger in the memory: the first time you see an icon in casualwear is big. Canny Kate chose an on-trend pair when she played with the GB hockey team. For anyone who didn't go to boarding school, hockey is what was meant to happen when the PE teacher gave out three sticks and said not to hurt each other. Kate is great at it.

19 March 2012: Kate makes her first speech

Like every good Victorian child, the Duchess of Cambridge understands her role is to be seen and not heard. But she struck a blow for feminism in March when she made her first public speech at the opening of a children's hospice in East Anglia. Inspired by the stilted and monotonous tones of an Ancient Greek chorus, Middleton woodenly delivered what must have been a jolly nerve-wracking oration with a school assembly sort of aplomb. And a plum, in her mouth.

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