KEY POINTS

  • Kate Middleton and Prince William visited the Foundling Museum in London for their first royal outing of the year
  • The Duchess of Cambridge rocked a darker color and slightly shorter hairstyle for the outing
  • Middleton ditched the curly look and returned to her signature bouncy blowout

Kate Middleton and Prince William stepped out for their first joint royal engagement of 2022 Wednesday.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the Foundling Museum, which tells the story of the 18th-century Foundling Hospital — the first children's charity in the U.K. The hospital was founded in 1739 as a care facility for children at risk of abandonment. Middleton is now a patron of the London museum.

For her first royal outing of the year, the duchess rocked a darker color and slightly shorter style. But Middleton returned to her signature bouncy blowout after sporting curly looks in the past months, People reported.

London-based hairstylist Daniel Galvin Jr., whose father was among Princess Diana's hairstylists, complimented the Duchess of Cambridge for always choosing the right style for any engagement.

"She always chooses a look that really suits her, a look that she feels confident with and she looks radiant," he told the outlet.

For Wednesday's outing, Middleton wore a head-to-toe monochromatic blue look that featured a turtleneck sweater, matching trousers, and pointed-toe suede pumps of a similar hue. She completed the look with a knee-length teal coat and a $9.50 pair of earrings from Accessorize that are now sold out.

Prince William coordinated with his wife and wore a navy blue sweater over a dress shirt, matching trousers and a plaid sport coat of the same color.

The couple shared on Instagram a short video documenting their first engagement of 2022. During the visit, the royal couple spoke with those who have spent time in care to learn the issues and challenges for young people leaving the care system. They also joined their bonding exercise and enjoyed it.

"It’s lovely to be back at the @FoundlingMuseum and see how they’re continuing to help to transform the lives of young people, but also hear some of the difficulties that care leavers have faced over the years, including during the pandemic," the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wrote in the caption.

They continued, "We were able to understand first-hand the impact of spending time in care in the U.K. and its links with employment, housing, mental health, addiction and the youth justice system, 'and some of the work that is being done to tackle these issues.'"

Prince William and Duchess Kate also thanked those who joined them during the visit and shared with them their experiences of living in care. The royal couple said it was "great to see the successes [they've] had and hear the importance of having someone who believes in [them]."

The couple's outing comes more than a week after Middleton celebrated her 40th birthday.

The duchess released three portraits taken by photographer Paolo Roversi to mark her milestone birthday on Jan. 9. 

The portraits will enter the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery, of which Middleton is patron. Ahead of the Portrait Gallery's re-opening in 2023, the photographs will be part of its Coming Home project, a nationwide initiative that sees portraits of well-known individuals being sent to locations that they are closely associated with.

Kate Middleton and Prince William LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 18: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend the Royal Variety Performance at the Royal Albert Hall on November 18, 2021 in London, England. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images