Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge is following in the footsteps of Diana the Princess of Wales by secretly visiting the homeless and the sick.
She has made a series of secret visits to learn about several charities, as she makes a decision as to which she will formally support as a royal patron according to St James's Palace.
The charities she visits have been asked not to disclose that Kate has been to see them until an announcement is made.
At this stage it is thought she will focus on the homeless, vulnerable young people, veterans' issues and conservation. However, she is using the next few months to learn more about a variety of good causes before she decides in the New Year.
A palace source said that Kate had the Duke of Cambridge's 'full support' but was researching the charities independently.
"The Duchess is using the next few months to get to know a number of charitable and other causes better, so she can make well-informed decisions about her future role," a St James's Palace spokesman said.
"The Duchess plans to meet a wide range of people and make private visits.
"We are not giving a running commentary of the causes the Duchess is looking at. Her interests remain broad at the moment."
At this stage the couple wants to avoid overshadowing Queen Elizabeth II in the run-up to 2012, the 85-year-old monarch's diamond jubilee year.