Kate Middleton and Prince William Royal Trip: 7 Things We Learned

What William and Kate taught us about royalty from their North American trip.

July 11, 2011, 9:58 AM

July 11, 2011— -- Prince William and Kate Middleton's whirlwind tour of North America has been deemed a royal success.

"Really, really enjoyed it, thank you," the duchess said, uttering her first public words during the couple's three-day stop in California, which followed a nine-day tour of Canada.

On their first overseas visit as a royal couple, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge dazzled, even in Los Angeles, home to the world's biggest stars.

SEE PHOTOS: Kate Middleton's Best Fashion Moments

Most eyes were on Middleton, the commoner turned royalty, who was making her first trip across the pond. Her wardrobe -- rumored to be 40 outfits in all -- could have been the most watched, and most anticipated aspect of the visit. The prince, meanwhile, showed off his skills as a statesman, and one-day future king, in speech after speech. Together, they displayed the affection of a young couple in love and showed us sides of the royals we have rarely seen.

Here are seven things we learned about the royals, including this latest generation:

Royal PDA

The royal newlyweds made headlines throughout their North American trip by showing public displays of affection rarely seen from royals.

From the moment they touched down in Canada, the duke and duchess were touchy feely. William guided Middleton through crowds on Canada Day with his hand on her back. Later, while sitting, she rested her hand on his leg.

Those seemed like small gestures compared to the hug William gave his bride after they competed against each other in a Canadian dragon boat race, and her team lost. Middleton was also moved to give her hubby a kiss on each cheek after he scored four of his winning team's five goals in a charity polo match in Santa Barbara.

Throughout the tour there were plenty of shared smiles and good-natured ribbing. The couple showed their lighter side as they painted alongside students from Inner City Arts, an arts academy for disadvantaged children in one of the L.A.'s most impoverished neighborhoods.

"What the heck is that?" Prince William asked Middleton of her painting. She laughed in response.

They Crack Jokes Just Like Us

Prince William may seem to be the more serious of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's two sons, but when William took a moment to poke fun at his brother Prince Harry, he got plenty of laughter and applause.

Speaking at a Los Angeles job fair for combat veterans sponsored by the group, ServiceNation: Mission Serve, William said, "I am delighted, therefore, that our Foundation -- and in that I include my low-flying Apache very average brother -- is a partner in today's event."

Prince William Has a Real Job

During their tour of Prince Edward Island in Canada, William, who is a RAF pilot, showed off his piloting skills by landing a Sea King helicopter on water.

According to Britain's Daily Mail, the duke specifically asked to take part in the training exercise, since the Canadian manuever is considered legendary among helicopter pilots, and William is one of only a handful of British pilots who have had the opportunity to try it.

The duchess made sure to document the occasion, taking pictures with her camera.

Kate Likes Sheer Pantyhose

For the fashion forward Middleton, sheer pantyhose may seem like a throwback to the 1980s.

More than likely, Middleton, who pairs the shiny hose with her dresses for official appearances, is following royal protocol than making a fashion choice. But like everything else she touches that turns to gold, Middleton's embrace of sheer pantyhose has them flying off the shelves in her native U.K.

They Grieve Just Like Us

Prince William rarely talks publicly about his mother's death in a Paris car crash in 1997.

But days after what would have been Princess Diana's 50th birthday, he shared with three Canadian sisters, who lost their mother to breast cancer in 2002, how much he misses the mother he lost when he was 15.

As he walked around a garden that Meryl, Margot and Meghan Cooper created in honor of their mother, Loraine Minish-Cooper, in Yellowknife, the capital of Canada's Northwest Territories, William told the sister he could empathize with their loss.

"He said, 'I know what it's like to lose your mother at such a young age,'" Meghan, 25, told the Daily Mail.

Meryl, 27, added: "William said that he had been there and he knew how hard it is to lose your mother. He said, 'As you know I lost my mother, so I can imagine your pain.'"

They Like to Compete

Before they competed in the dragon boat race on Prince Edward Island, the duke and duchess engaged in a little friendly ribbing.

Both expected to lose. "I think I am going to take a ducking," Middleton told reporters.

William wasn't quite so sure. "We are both very competitive," he revealed. "She beats me at tennis and skiing but I am better at the rest."

As it turns out, the prince bested his bride but consoled her with a hug.

They Fly Commercial Like Us

The duke and duchess rejected a private jet in favor of a British Airways commercial flight for their return trip to Britain.

The Canadian government picked up the tab for their travel to Canada, sending a Royal Air Force plane to pick them up in London. But they were on their own in the U.S.

Breaking tradition with an older generation of royals -- Prince Charles and Camilla always fly by private plane -- the duke and duchess demonstrated that first class was good enough for them. It was also in keeping with a couple who had decided to travel with a scaled-down staff of seven, and a duchess who dressed herself and did her own makeup.

SEE PHOTOS: Will and Kate Mingle With Hollywood A-Listers

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