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Kate sees life below stairs on Downton Abbey

By Tony Jones

The worldwide success of Downton Abbey is all thanks to the Duchess of Cambridge - the show's creator has revealed.

Lord Fellowes told Kate she was the reason the ITV period drama had taken off overseas, after she unwittingly plugged the show during a visit to the US in 2011.

He praised the Duchess as a "functioning member of the Downton team" after she had been taken on an extensive tour of the show's sets at the world-famous Ealing Studios in west London.

Kate, who is a fan of the series, clearly enjoyed her behind-the-scenes visit meeting cast and crew who included Hugh Bonneville who plays Robert, Earl of Grantham and Jim Carter, the one of the leading figures below stairs, butler Mr Carson.

Wearing a cream coat by British maternity label JoJo Maman Bebe, Kate revelled in the period detail of the costumes, sets and props used in the drama now set during the reign of George V - asking dozens of questions as she visited make-up and hair departments, toured scenery construction areas and watched live filming.

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