Kate Middleton and Princes William and Harry had a wizard Harry Potter experience today as they attended the inauguration of the Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden, Hertfordshire, UK.
The highlights of their visit include a trip to the Great Hall, a special effects demonstration on Diagon Alley and even a wand lesson in The Gryffindor Common Room.
Kate Middleton, who is due to give birth in July, wore a short £38 ($59) polka dot dress by TOPSHOP and black suede heels with a black Ralph Lauren jacket pushed up at the sleeves.
The trio have brought with them to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, 500 guests, both children and adults, associated with some of the charities they support.
The royal party were first shown props and costumes from the Batman film The Dark Knight Rises. Princes William and Harry were clearly taken with a camouflaged Batmobile known as the Tumbler.
Prince William turned to his brother and whispered: “We should borrow that for the weekend.” He then climbed inside and turned on the engine, revving it to within an inch of its life.
When Prince William finally emerged from the Batmobile after a long while he said: “I’m a very happy man” but when he spotted his wife the royal apologized saying: “Sorry, sorry.”
Clearly a fan, the future king then couldn’t resist climbing on board the Bat Bike and posing for the cameras as Harry looked on enviously. Both brothers own their own superbikes – but clearly nothing on this level.
The three royals also spent time examining Batman’s heavy rubber armor.
“Is this really what the actor wore, how heavy is it?” Prince William asked.
He was astonished to discover it took 25 minutes for actor Christian Bale to put on.
The royals headed over to a “green screen” where draftsman Ed Symon was seated on another model of the Batpod motorbike sited on top of a “six axis motion base”. It was originally built for the broomstick flying in Harry Potter movies.
John Richardson special effects supervisor on the movies, said: “We’ve had everyone on it from Harry Potter to Voldemort.”
There, Prince William took to the controls of the simulator making the Batpod move up and around as if it was flying.
The visit will culminate with them hosting a most unusual meeting for their Charities Forum in the Great Hall, one of the original sets from the Harry Potter film series.
The Charities Forum is a collection of charities, of which The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry are Patrons.
Started in 2006, it provides a platform for collaborative activity between the 35 participating charities and organizations who meet twice a year to discuss ideas and ways to support each other.
During the first part of today’s Studio tour, Kate Middleton and Princes William and Harry also met some of the creative teams from recent Warner Bros. Productions and were given an insight into the film making process as well as being shown some of the props and costumes from those films.
Warner Bros.’ £100 million ($160 million) facility, the first of its kind to be built in the UK in 70 years, accounts for a third of the dedicated major feature film production stage space in the UK.
It is the only film studio in the country to be owned and operated by a major Hollywood studio.
Formerly the production home of all eight Harry Potter films, Goldeneye, Star Wars Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace and Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow, the state-of-the-art studios now encompass nine sound stages, a 100 acre back-lot and one of the largest underwater filming tanks in Europe. It is available to all kinds of productions, not just Warner Bros., from commercials to music videos, TV shows to feature films.
The first production to shoot there since the redevelopment was All You Need Is Kill, directed by Doug Liman and starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter takes guests behind the scenes of the Harry Potter films and showcases the incredible British talent, creativity and artistry that went into bringing the series to life.