Eight months pregnant Kate Middleton lent some royal glamour to the set of British TV series Downton Abbey during a visit to Ealing Studios in west London on 12 March.

The Duchess of Cambridge met with cast and crew and was clearly enjoying herself chatting and joking as she was shown around the various sets and backstage departments.

Visiting the kitchen set, where she was greeted by actresses Lesley Nicol and Sophie McShera who play Mrs Patmore the cook and Daisy the kitchen maid, Middleton joked with them about their cooking skills and how they must have had to learn how to beat eggs and roll pastry to play their parts.

When the two actresses presented the duchess with a cake she teasingly asked them if they'd actually cooked it themselves on the set. They also shared a joke about the nasty smell coming from the fridge where an old dessert had been left.

Middleton would not be drawn on who her favourite character of the series is when asked by actor Hugh Bonneville, who plays the Earl of Grantham, saying she had to be diplomatic.

Julian Fellowes, who created the smash-hit costume drama which has been syndicated all over the world, thanked Middleton for visiting and said she'd played her own part in the series' success in America.

"And it so happens that just as we were trying to shift Downton in America, you actually made a visit and someone said 'Had you ever heard of a show called Downton Abbey?' And you said you'd heard of it, you'd watched it, you'd enjoyed it. This went into the media like an exocet missile," he said.

The duchess was presented with a copy of the script for the first series of Downton signed by the cast and a Downton Abbey book signed by the crew.

The sixth series of Downton has been commissioned and is in production.

Middleton is expecting her second child towards the end of April.