There's a real-life royal heading to Downton Abbey: Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge!
On March 12, HRH Kate Middleton will visit Ealing Studios "to celebrate the success of the award-winning production," the palace announced in a statement Thursday. The pregnant duchess will get a personal tour of the Downton Abbey set from executive producer Liz Trubridge, and she'll also meet with cast and crew members including Dame Maggie Smith, Phyllis Logan, Robert James-Collier, Lesley Nicol and Sophie McShera.
According to the palace, Prince George's mum will have the opportunity to "watch one take of a scene being filmed in the servants' quarters for series 6 and a second take of the scene via a monitor in the 'Video Village' area, before proceeding to the Servants Hall to join cast members, writers and producers in an official photograph."
Kate will also attend a brief reception and meet production, editorial and Ealing studios staff, as well as meet with more cast members including Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern.
This, of course, isn't the first connection between the real royal family and the PBS Masterpiece. Last October, Queen Elizabeth II honored Dame Smith, who plays the Dowager Countess of Grantham on the British TV series, by making her a member of the Order of the Companions of Honor in recognition of her 60 years of theater, cinema and and TV.
It goes back farther than that, too—in 1989, Maggie was made a dame commander of the Order of the British Empire, which gave her the title of Dame (which is the female equivalent of Sir). And believe it or not, one Middleton family member has a history of her own with a key cast member of the PBS show, too...
Pippa Middleton, Kate's kid sister, grew up playing tennis with Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary Crawley. The longtime pals remained friends into adulthood, even attending a Wimbledon match together in 2014! Pippa's taken advantage of her Downton connection, too. As Michelle told E! News, Prince William's sister-in-law "actually came on-set with her brother, James [Middleton], a few years ago!"
Michelle noted that the Middletons "are good fans of the show."