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Kate Middleton

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Kate Middleton embarked on her new royal duties in 2012, with appearances at Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee and the London Games, although a paparazzi cheap shot really got people's attention. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP Photo)

Following the 2011 wedding of the century, Her Royal Highness Princess William, Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn, Baroness Carrickfergus, was guaranteed to be in the spotlight. After all, this year would focus the world's attention on Great Britain itself, as Queen Elizabeth celebrated her Diamond Jubilee and the world's top amateur athletes attended the Olympic Games in London.

Unfortunately, the former Kate Middleton found herself in a situation more familiar to that of brother-in-law Harry, caught in his royal birthday suit in Las Vegas. Just weeks later, a pesky paparazzo aimed his telephoto lens at the sunbathing duchess at a private residence in France. The shot made the cover of Closer, a French tabloid, as well as Web fodder for royal peepers. A lawsuit soon followed, citing a "grotesque and unjustifiable invasion of privacy," as Middleton gracefully soldiered on.

Of course, there could be another reason for so much Web interest in these snaps: Tabloids have been seeking proof since her engagement to Prince William that a royal heir was on the way. Her new haircut even spurred speculation (as well as fans rushing to their own hairstylists) that her new bangs were masking incipient pregnancy weight. And voila, news that the happy couple was indeed expecting was revealed in December—a nice Christmas present for royalty-philes.

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