The Duchess of Cambridge has followed in the footsteps of Queen Elizabeth, her mother in law, to buy cut-price clothing on a high-street shopping trip.

During a trip to London, Kate Middleton stopped off at Zara to check out the rails in a hunt for some cheap fashion items.

Oblivious to the stares of other shoppers who couldn't believe their eyes, the 32-year-old Duchess of Cambridge was casually dressed in a polo shirt, long skirt and woolly boots.

The duchess, who has an eye for a bargain, then made her choices of a £35.99 pair of navy chinos, a peach skirt for £39.99 and a £29.99 graphic-print skirt, according to a Sun report.

In a previous shopping trip to the London store, a Zara Home employee said: "She didn't look like the magazine pictures without her makeup or anything," she told People magazine. "She came in, shopped around, paid and left."

Other high street shops that Kate Middleton has paid regular visits to include Topshop, Whistles and Hobbs. She was also once employed by fashion chain Jigsaw.

However, the duchess also wears designer clothes worth thousands of pounds from Alexander McQueen and Alice Temperley.

According to Grazia magazine, Prince William's wife is preparing for her forthcoming trip of Australia and New Zealand by visiting antipodean designers.

"Kate visited Ralph & Russo's boutique last month and said she was looking for inspiration for the tour. She liked that they had Australian connections and has apparently given them specific instructions for a gown," a palace source told Grazia magazine.

The British fashion house was founded by Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo in 2007. The Australian couple count Angelina Jolie, Beyoncé Knowles and Jennifer Hudson as celebrity clients. They are known for their eye-wateringly high prices, with cocktail dresses starting at £50,000.

In 2012 it was reported that Prince Charles had paid the bill for Kate Middleton's working wardrobe that year, which cost £35,000. The UK's average wage is £26,500, according to a survey by the High Pay Centre.