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Kate and William: Last official public appearance as singletons

By Susannah Palk for CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Kate Middleton and Prince William have made their last official appearance before their wedding
  • The couple opened a school and visited a park in East Lancashire
  • Despite rain, an estimated crowd of 15,000 turned out to catch a final glimpse of the couple

London, England (CNN) -- Britain's Prince William and fiancee Kate Middleton have made their last official public engagement before their much-anticipated wedding on April 29.

On a tour of East Lancashire in north-west England, the couple opened a school in the town of Darwen and then visited a park in Blackburn.

Despite rain threatening to dampen the occasion, an estimated crowd of 15,000 turned out to catch a final glimpse of the couple before their wedding day, which takes place in less than three weeks.

"There was tremendous excitement," said CNN royal contributor Mark Saunders, who was at both events. "The crowd was in really high spirits, with some people arriving up to four hours in advance of the couple's arrival."

William and Kate's last pre-wedding event

The pair's first stop was at Darwen Aldridge Community Academy (DACA), where Prince William launched the SkillForce Prince's Award, which recognizes the contribution young people make to their communities. The couple also unveiled a commemorative plaque while taking a tour of the facilities.

"By the time Prince William and Catherine Middleton arrived at the academy, it was raining quite hard, but it didn't seem to dampen anyone's spirits," said Saunders.

In a statement issued before the ceremony, Rod Aldridge, Chairman of The Aldridge Foundation, Rod Aldridge said: "It is fantastic that Prince William and Catherine Middleton are giving us their support.

Kate Middleton has taken on the look of a seasoned pro. She really does seem to know how it all works, it's like she's done it her entire life.
--Mark Saunders, CNN royal contributor.
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"This day marks the beginning of an exciting and entrepreneurial future for the Academy and for the Foundation."

The couple's second engagement was at Witton Country Park in Blackburn, where the pair viewed a range of outdoor sports activities by community members, with Kate Middleton starting a 100-meter race by holding up a flag and letting it drop.

"Kate Middleton has taken on the look of a seasoned pro," said Saunders. "She really does seem to know how it all works, it's like she's done it her entire life.

He continued: "They actually are quite a good team -- it's remarkable when you think this is only their fourth official job together. I think the signs are very good for the future."

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