The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton is to become a patron of the arts as part of her future role in public life. The Duchess is considering supporting a number of national arts institutions, thought to include The Tate, the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery and the V&A.

The Duchess is expected to become the official patron of several national museums and galleries and may also act as an 'ambassador' for institutions that have existing Royal links.

She is also considering lending her support to a number of smaller, lesser-known arts organisations.

During her gap year in 2001, she spent three months studying art history at the British Institute in Florence.

She is said to be eager to bring her own personal knowledge and interests to the fore when carving out her future official role.

A royal aide said, "The Duchess has a keen interest in the visual arts and has her own links in that world, so she wants to see where she can lend her support. She is meeting people at all levels in arts institutions to learn more about the workings of a gallery, how exhibitions are put together and how works of art come together, before deciding which organisations she will support."