Kate Middleton leaves the royal jewels at home for museum opening

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Richard Sabin, the museum's whale expert, said seeing the skeleton on display as a child was a defining moment in his life and he's sure "Hope will inspire a new generation of visitors to discover the story of life on Earth and be encouraged to want to protect the natural world".

The museum posted a time-lapse video of its installation of an entire blue whale skeleton, and even from a distance, it's incredible. Chief digital and product officer at the museum, Piers Jones, says the museum wanted a "highly visual experience that would work in-gallery and on mobile" so visitors could engage with information about the whale in their own pace, whether they visited the museum in person or via the web app.

Many natural history lovers will miss Dippy; however, it was a replica, while the blue whale skeleton is the real thing.

The duchess was joined by Sir David Attenborough to speak at the unveiling of the 83-foot blue whale skeleton, which is a focal point of the newly-renovated Hintze Hall.

Hintze Hall will reopen to the public on Friday following six months of refurbishment.

Kate Middleton stepped out looking as fashionable as ever wearing a gorgeous Preen dress in pale blue and Prada pumps.

Kate delivered a short speech during the reception, telling the audience her two children - Prince George and Princess Charlotte - were already fans of the museum. In 2014, a British-Australian billionaire businessman and philanthropist - Sir Michael Hintze (above) - donated £5 million to the Natural History Museum.

Chatting to Attenborough about the reopening of the hall, the Duchess said: "You must have seen they've made a few changes here over the years", before they embarked on a tour of the museum. The Natural History Museum also hopes to redevelop its outdoor space and expand digitisation.

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