Meghan Markle crossed off another royal milestone when she visited Smart Works on Thursday, marking her first patronage outing. Nearly seven years ago, sister-in-law Kate Middleton similarly made her own debut championing her charitable causes.
Kate’s first royal patronage was announced in Oct. 2011, when she joined husband Prince William and brother-in-law Prince Harry at The Royal Foundation. It wasn’t until Jan. 2012 that she revealed she would be a patron of four charities: East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices, the Art Room, the National Portrait Gallery and the Scout Association. The announcement came at the beginning of the first new year following her royal wedding, just like Meghan.
In Feb. 2012, Kate made her first patronage visit to the National Portrait Gallery for a private viewing of the works of artist Lucian Freud. She chose a grey double-breasted dress cinched at the waist by a belt for the occasion.
Like Meghan, Kate made a solo appearance as she learned about the exhibition.
The two sisters-in-law share something else in common: both chose patronages that blend their personal interests with charity work. Kate studied art history at the University of St. Andrew’s, where she met her future husband, and has used her interest in photography to capture some of the sweetest portraits of her three children. Meanwhile, it’s no surprise that Meghan, a vocal feminist, chose an organization focused on helping women regain the skills and confidence to find jobs after unemployment.
Can’t get enough of PEOPLE’s Royals coverage? Sign up for our newsletterto get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!
Although Kate, who celebrated her 37th birthday on Wednesday, has since taken on many more patronages aligned with her interests in children’s well-being, sports and art since 2012, she and Meghan both initially announced four charitable organization that they would back in their royal lives.
The other patronages that were announced on Thursday for Meghan, 37, are the National Theatre, The Association of Commonwealth Universities and the animal welfare charity Mayhew. They are all national and grassroot organizations “that are part of the fabric of the U.K,” the palace said.