Kate Middleton and Sir David Attenborough come face-to-face with blue whale skeleton at Natural History Museum

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The Duchess of Cambridge came face-to-face with a blue whale skeleton as she unveiled the Natural History Museum’s striking new exhibition.

Kate, wearing an ice blue dress, joined Sir David Attenborough to see the 25-metre long skeleton suspended from the ceiling in the revamped Hintze Hall.

The whale skeleton has replaced Dippy the Diplodocus, which first went on display there in 1979.

When the museum announced it was dismantling the dinosaur display, 14,000 people signed a petition to stop the move.


Unveiling: The Duchess meeting Sir David (PA)

But the museum went ahead, and soon the famous fossil will be going on a nationwide tour of museums and galleries, including a stint at Norwich Cathedral in 2020.

The Duchess enjoyed a tour of Hintze Hall’s 10 other new displays chosen from the museum’s collection of more than 80 million specimens.

Hope revealed as replacement for Dippy the Dinosaur

These displays aim to cover the history of Earth, and include a 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite, as well as the full skeleton of a mastodon, a distant relative of the mammoth.

Hintze Hall is due to reopen to the public on Friday following six months of refurbishment, and its displays will include a dinosaur fossil – an 120 million-year-old Mantellisaurus, found on the Isle of Wight in 1917.


Patron: The Duchess of Cambridge made a speech during the reopening of Hintze Hall (PA)

Dippy’s replacement, the blue whale, is the largest known animal on Earth.

After coming close to extinction, the animal became protected under international law in 1966, after which the blue whale population slowly began to increase.

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