Kate Middleton has made a first official and public appearance since her pregnancy was confirmed earlier this month at the 2012 BBC Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) awards in London.

The Duchess of Cambridge, who has just returned from a spell in the King Edward VII Hospital for severe morning sickness (Hyperemesis Gravidarum), wore a green Alexander McQueen bell-sleeve, floor-length gown for the gala event.

She presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Lord Sebastian Coe, the chairman of the London Organising Committee for this summer's Olympic Games.

Senior royal sources revealed that Kate, the official ambassador for Great Britain's 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics teams, was eager to be a part of the SPOTY awards despite medical warnings, because she wanted to honour UK athletes for an exceptional year.

St James' Palace told People: "The Duchess of Cambridge will tonight attend the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year Awards at the ExCeL London, where Her Royal Highness will present the Lifetime Achievement and the main Sports Personality of the Year Awards. The Duchess will attend the event in response to a longstanding invitation from the BBC."

The Duchess, who is 12 weeks pregnant, was ordered to rest after she left King Edward VII's Hospital on 6 December, after being diagnosed with acute morning sickness.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum is a "potentially serious" ailment causing vomiting and a bodily reaction against intake of food and liquids. This sickness, most common in pregnant women carrying twins, could last up to the 21st week of pregnancy.

The illness caused Kate to cancel recent engagements, including the London premiere of Sir Peter Jackson's new film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Prince William was not in attendance at SPOTY, as the Duke of Cambridge is to report for duty to Anglesey as an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot imminently.