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  1. ITV Report

Going for gold: Duchess of Cambridge attends launch of Olympic portraits exhibition

The Duchess of Cambridge outside the National Portrait Gallery, in central London. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

The Duchess of Cambridge has attended the launch of a photographic exhibition of London 2012 stars.

With excitement building ahead of the start of the Olympics, Kate toured the images of famous faces and newcomers all hoping for medal success.

The duchess arrived at London's National Portrait Gallery for the viewing wearing a short-sleeved electric blue Stella McCartney dress.

Kate appeared to have got into the Olympic spirit accessorising the dress with a large gold-coloured chain that had a ring on each shoulder, another further down on each side and a large hoop at the bottom.

The Duchess of Cambridge arrives at the National Portrait Gallery, in central London. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

A St James's Palace spokesman said of the necklace:

"It's a personal piece which she's had for some time. It's not an official Olympic item but it's appropriate to wear it."

– St James's Palace spokesman

The duchess has a close connection with the National Portrait Gallery as she is its patron and has a formal role with the Olympics as an ambassador for Team GB and ParalympicsGB.

During the visit, Kate was shown around by Director of the National Portrait Gallery, Sandy Nairne.

During her visit, Kate spoke to the oldest Olympic flame torchbearer, 100-year-old Diane Gould.

The Duchess of Cambridge chats to 100-year-old Diane Gould during her visit Credit: Sang Tan/PA Wire

Mrs Gould was photographed by Nadav Kander.

100-year-old Diana Gould was photographed for the Road to 2012 project Credit: Nadav Kander National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 project

The duchess also listened to a speech by Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, the UK's most successful Paralympian and an ambassador for the London 2012 bid team.

Kate listens to a speech during her visit to the 'Road to 2012 : Aiming High' exhibition' Credit: Sang Tan/PA Wire

Dame Tanni told guests:

"For me the Olympics have been a part of my life actually since '84 when I watched Seb Coe win, and that was one of the moments that inspired me to take part in sport.

"For everybody involved in 2012 it's been a huge deal and what I'm particularly proud of is what happened to the Paralympic movement.

The Duchess of Cambridge and Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson listen to a speech by the Director of the National Portrait Gallery Credit: Sang Tan/PA Wire

The exhibition - Road to 2012: Aiming High - is the third and final instalment of a three-year project that has showcased world-class Olympic and Paralympic athletes and those working behind the scenes.

Last year, the Changing Pace exhibition was staged and in 2010 Setting Out was the name of the inaugural event.

This portrait of top road racing cyclist Mark Cavendish features in the exhibition Credit: Anderson & Low National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 project

Sandy Nairne, the gallery's director, said of the exhibition:

It celebrates exceptional British sportspeople, and some of the crucial figures working behind the scenes - whether they be coaches and managers or soil engineers, architects or the producers of the key ceremonies.

"It features outstanding photographic portraits that convey the determination, skill and mental prowess of those working at the highest level of international sport."

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has been photographed for the exhibition Credit: Jillian Edelstein National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 project