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[Update with IDs] Kate Takes the Royal Helicopter Back to Norfolk

Sunday, February 7, 2016

For those of us who enjoy the occasional candid... :) After her engagement in London today, Kate headed back home to George and Charlotte in Norfolk. The Duchess was snapped making her way to the waiting royal helicopter parked on a green in Hyde Park.

A photo posted by WEARFORE (@wearfore_by_ng) on

It looks like Kate was wearing a dark dress--posisbly the dress she wore under the McQueen and dark boots, maybe her Half 'N Halfs. I thought at first she was wearing the Reiss "Delaney" but this coat is a little too long to be the Delaney. She might be carrying the "Explorer HoldAll" or a large Longchamp we have not seen before. A Twitter fan, Meghan Patterson, took a few snaps which she shared on Twitter. This is a close up:

Someone on twitter mentioned seeing William, but the man with Kate is an aid, not the Duke. I don't think William made the trip with Kate. 

And they are up and away:

[Update] A better photo emerged from an Instagram account: @rainbowceline!

As I suspected, Kate was carrying her Tunsting bag, and the coat is new! The Duchess wrapped up in the Paddington coat from Mulberry's AW 2015 collection. The coat is in a chic, blue mohair:

Meanwhile, Kate's video in support of Mental Health Week has been released. I will blog on that tomorrow! 


  1. So you are OK with Kate spending taxpayer money to take a trip back home? I guarantee she and William aren't paying for its use. I understand taking one to an engagement because it cuts down on the possibility of being late because of traffic but there was ZERO reason for her to use it this time
    I know you are going to disagree but just thought I'd point out that the British people will be paying for that uncessary flight and not Kate

    1. It could be for security reasons. It is a good 2 to 4 hrs drive back to get house. So why be so nasty.

    2. What security reasons? They've driven that when they left KP with George and Charlotte over the summer
      And God forbid a 2 hour drive. I'm not being nasty I'm pointing out something I think is wrong

    3. Members of the RF have traveled by helicopter to and from engagements since before Kate was a twinkle in her parents' eyes. Why on earth should Kate be exempt from this arrangement?

    4. Do some research before you embark on a nonsense laden rant. First, royal travel is paid from the SSG, the Sovereign Support Grant which is from the profits of the Crown Estate, which is not owned by the government, but the Crown itself. The monarchy draws funds from for the upkeep of palaces, staff and other expenses. NONE of their travel is paid for by the taxpayers.

    5. Furthermore the helicopter and pilot are paid for by the Queen herself and is used by all the BRF for their transport when necessary. She recently advertised for a new pilot. Also wonder if you are British Anon 7.08 and 7.52. If not why is it a concern to you?

    6. OK so you think it's ok for her to use it on the way to an official engagement but not home from an official engagement? That just doesn't make sense to me.. She has to get home......

    7. Thank you Kailaa3. It seems as if every time a royal sneezes someone is going to say that it costs the taxpayers money. Yet, they are never given the credit for what they earn for the UK in terms of tourism revenue and worldwide goodwill.

    8. I need to intervene here and point out that in my opinion all the curtseying, no touching, respectful manners in which everyone behaves around them, of course is a way to "credit" them and their work.
      I do not see a higher blood rank per se as a reason to behave a certain way, because it is none, everything else is too old fashioned and narrow minded for today in my opinion. We believe in humans as equals and every single one is allowed respect and good manners, regardless of rank.
      The same with politicians or/ and everyting else regarding ettiquette - it is the way we honor them for their work, and NOT to give them some blood-earned right.


    9. Kailaa I suggest you follow your own advise. I rarely comment here because the comment section is fraught with inaccuracies, but you are sharing complete misinformation that people are taking as fact.

      The Sovereign Grant was established several years ago to replace the Civil List, the upkeep of palaces and travel expenses. The amount of the Grant is the *equivalent* of 15% of Crown Estate profits, but is *not* paid directly from the Crown Estate but from the Treasury. And the Crown Estate profits were surrendered many generations ago, so the monarch was no longer responsible for all the government expenses.

      Their travel is very much paid for by the taxpayers. Whatever side of that argument you all want to come down on, have at it, but know the facts first which are readily available to anyone with a computer and a search engine.

    10. Anon8:54, I think you may be skewing the facts the way you want to read them. Regardless of who was paying for it, she was on an official engagement and had every right to use the helicopter. So no need to be nasty about our comment section.

      I am finding it a bit ridiculous that people want her to do more engagements and when she does they complain about how she is doing them. You can't have it both ways. You want her to do engagements someone has to pay for it. The helicopter is there for their use, the pilot is paid a salary and has a job weather he is sitting at home or flying. It would take less security using the helicopter than a train or a car. Not sure if the cost of petrol would be less or more than a 2 hour car ride, I'll let you figure that out. You can bet if Prince Phillip were still in this role he would have used this mode of transport.

    11. I don't understand your argument---320 million(or a little more) goes into government coffers each year and 15% is returned to HM. At the start of a reign the "Civil List" was settled and was not changed for many years---it's only for the last three or so years that it has been fixed as a percentage of the Crown Land profits.

      It is rather like telling the President of the US that he should hand over any property he owns and he will get a bit back for expenses.

    12. The sovereign grant is not paid directly by the profits from the crown estate, but is paid indirectly by them nevertheless. It is a question of budget line. The crown estate profits end up in the treasury...the tax payer has nothing to do with them.
      And who gets the remaining 85℅ of the crown estate profits?

    13. I just wonder what the cost would be having a short helicopter transport with less security vs other longer transport with more security. Since this too was an official royal duty/job I see no problem with use of the helicopter in this particular instance. From the above discussion I am still mystified as who was responsible for payment.

    14. No u do research before you a royal reporters said the helicopter ride cost the taxpayer $3000

    15. And you believe what the media writes.

    16. Eva I didn't judge Kate at all because I actually don't care if she takes the helicopter, the bus or a Bentley. It's a drop in the bucket when it comes down to it and they all do it.

      I do care about facts, and the wrong information is passed on in the comments here by several readers many times over. People interested in the BRF should be familiar with the funding. There are detailed articles on the subject, some more reader friendly than others. The government information and releases are also available online if you want it straight from the horse's mouth. (the only thing kept under wraps is cost of security)

      I have no interest in skewing facts, particularly since I don't think this instance is significant spending worth any argument at all.

      Anon 8:54

    17. Just for the record, in my country, Brazil, the President uses helicopter all the time. If she's going from Brasília, where she lives, to her hometown, that happens to be my hometown as well, she takes a 4hrs flight in an airplane to the city airport plus an helicopter to go from the airport to her private home, which could be done by car in just 50min. I believe this is better because if she was drove by car she would need a huge security staff which could cause traffic problems. Maybe is the same for Kate.

    18. Anon 8:54- since I think you are sincere in your beliefs and not a troll necessarily, I choose to ro resond to your remarks. The remark that this comment section is "fraught with inaccuracies" leads one to wonder what you think a comment section
      is for- opinion? A source for doctoral candidates researching a thesis? I have recently and frequently stressed the need to back up
      one's remarks if one purports to give the facts. Chapter and verse, as they say.
      In fact, I was severely criticised on another blog for making such an outrageous
      One anon refers in general to a royal reporter. I know more than one royal
      reporter who has got it wrong more than once. Not really an expert opinion.

      Also, if you 8:54 wish to insult this comment section, please list five comments
      in the past month that back up the "fraught with inaccuracies." You will need to
      include recognised sources as back-up to your criticism other than reporters who aim for what will sell and
      "it's out there,, look it up."
      Any comment qualified by remarks such as:" in my opinion; I believe; I think...." etc
      are not presentations of fact and should not be included.
      Not anon 8:54

    19. I think that he money issue is an interesting and seemingly very complicated one. I have not reaserched it myself, but given how much the Royals produce every year in terms of tourism, etc, I do actually think that taxpayers are more than well served just by having warm bodies in the castles. A helicopter ride home is glamorous and it adds to part of what makes the Royals what they are: elite. So, I think taxpayers are well served. The trappings of royalty. :) In any event, I think we might have exhausted the topic for the moment. I appreciate the initial commented and the spirited debate and defenses!

    20. At Anon 8:54, No I was not mistaken. I just did not delve into immense detail. The SSG grant is drawn from a trust from the profits and the royals are paid in arrears. Here is the cut and paste from the British Monarchy website.
      "On 1 April 2012 the arrangements for the funding of The Queen’s Official Duties changed. The new system of funding, referred to as the ‘Sovereign Grant’, replaces the Civil List and the three Grants-in-Aid (for Royal Travel, Communications and Information, and the Maintenance of the Royal Palaces) with a single, consolidated annual grant.

      The Sovereign Grant is designed to be a more permanent arrangement than the old Civil List system, which was reign-specific. Funding for the Sovereign Grant comes from a percentage of the profits of the Crown Estate revenue (initially set at 15%). The grant will be reviewed every five years by the Royal Trustees (the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Keeper of the Privy Purse), and annual financial accounts will continue to be prepared and published by the Keeper of the Privy Purse".

      I was not at all in error, but perhaps not clear enough in my simplified explanation. Either way, it is not the taxpayers that are footing the bill for this, or any other travel expenses.

    21. Clearly opinions are subjective, there is no right or wrong opinion on something so "I think this" "In my opinion" do not count.

      But statements like "Kate and William don't cost taxpayers anything!" which I've seen more than once from regular commenters, or five times to your standards, are wildly inaccurate. Of course a head of state and family cost taxpayers money, whether they're elected or inherited. It's part of the package. To suggest otherwise is ridiculous and easily dismissed.

      Have any *opinion* you like, my point was base that opinion on fact. And yes the "facts" and statements thrown out here are often incorrect.

      Despite you suggesting I'm a troll or Eva suggesting I'm nasty, I'm not. And I have no intention of turning this into a name calling or finger pointing session by citing people who've made inaccurate statements, I respect Jane too much if nothing else.

      So I will go back to reading Jane's lovely posts and leave the comments and interpretations to others. Have at it as they say. But I would urge any true royal fan to educate themselves first and form opinions second. That's all.

      Anon 854

    22. "I think you are sincere...not a troll" My words.
      I think most frequent commenters
      here have been called on to defend their comments at some time or other.
      You are not alone.
      I think each person was telling a part of the truth. Perhaps the part that
      seemed to back up that person's views. Plus a bit of quibbling. Some of us (including me) may have a little too much time on our hands. lol
      Your opinion is as good and interesting as anyone else's, 8:54. I doubt I will be the only one to say that.

      The British Monarchy site seems like a reliable source.Probably would have helped
      if someone had quoted it a little earlier.

      anon 2:01

      anon 2:01

    23. I'll try an answer a few of these questions:

      Who gets the other 85% income from Crown Estate - the Government does (or the taxpayer if you wish). Technically all the money is given to the Government and then the Government gives 15% equivalent to the Monarch. Some people call this taxpayers money cos it comes via Government but whatever the route, the funding to HMQ comes from Crown Estates.

      This money can go up or down. So far its only gone up because Crown Estates (and therefore the tax payer) is doing well.

      All helicopter flights (there are 2 helicopters) are approved by the Queen. The travel budget for authorised flights is her responsibility at the end of the day. This is just my opinion but if the work done by the BRF comes within budget and is authorised by her, then I cant see any cause for complaint. Times, security, risk, other engagements are all taken into account. Apparently personal preference (ie I fancy going by helicopter) is not.

      There is a lease cost to be paid for the helicopters whether they are used or not. Fuel is the variable (currently at an all time low in cost terms) but again, if it comes within the budget what is the problem?

      All the BRF use helicopters - Princess Royal dashes about all over the place and is a regular user; so is the Prince of Wales; so is the Queen.

      Sovereign Grant (that's the 15% of Crown Estates money) pays for the running of the HMQs office, Duke of Edinburghs office, travel costs, running of royal households (BP, Windsor) and buildings maintenance of BP, KP,Windsor, Frogmore, Clarence House,and I think Holyrood in Scotland. That's it.

      The Queen uses her income from the Duchy of Lancaster to pay for the offices of Princess Royal, Wessexes, Duke of York, Gloucesters, Duke of Kent and Princess Alexander.

      This work is done in support of Queen in her role as Head of State and Head of the Commonwealth

      Prince of Wales pays for the support of himself, Camilla, Harry and the Cambridges.

      No one in the BRF receives a salary.

      Long post - apologies but hopefully it helps.

    24. Now I am confused. The British Monarchy site seemed clear.
      You seem to indicate that both HM via SG and the POW via the Duchy of Cornwall
      pay for the Cambridge travel expenses. Or are travel expenses separate from, say,
      clothing-or PR or KP?
      Hard to be an expert both on Spain's politics and British RF funding.
      I think the answer is that it is confusing on purpose. Keep em

    25. HMQ and the Sovereign Grant pay for official travel for all EXCEPT where travel is undertaken at the request of the Government.

      So - HMQ funds All helicopter trips for ALL the BRF but HMGovernment will pay for the Cambridges trip to India as it is at their request.

      If you want the nitty gritty try Royalty Inc. by Stephen Bates (former journalist, inc Guardian - definitely not a royal luvvy). Lots (too much??) detail but the book says that the overall costs for travel have stayed pretty much constant for the past 10 yrs (mine haven't) and the changes in funding have given them more control.

      It isn't straightforward - I'm still getting to grips with Commonwealth travel which is shared funding sometimes - and sometimes not.

      But Catherine used that helicopter with the Queens permission.

    26. Thank you, cepe, that's accuracy for me!!
      As I understand it, in an hypothetical world without taxpayers, the crown estate would still yield an income, wouldn't it?
      The statement "Of course a head of state and family cost taxpayers money, whether they're elected or inherited. It's part of the package" is a general sweeping statement, ignoring the fact that countries can be different! I admire the british complicated but very clever arrangement

    27. This whole discussion about the funds and how they're distributed is almost as complex and confusing as the US tax code. Yikes!

      One thing that was mentioned was that the BRF get their due respect because people obey all of the rules surrounding them about not touching them, etc.. I acknowledge that the curtsying part of it is a show of respect but the rest of those rules don't exist because their rank, or blood, or whatever, is better than anyone else. The no touching is a security matter. If it was your responsibility to protect the health and well-being of another person the last thing you need is people being able to reach out and grab at them. I see the helicopter as another part of that and, since it appears that HM pays for it (no matter how many channels the money passes through along the way) it seems to be what is actually best for the tax payers. The amount of local police protection and escorts that would be needed - for hours - if any of the royals were to drive to their long distance engagements would cost the tax payers far more money because you know the police protection is paid for by the tax payers. The helicopter seems to be a good balance for them.

  2. Yes, Jane, for those of us who enjoy the occasional candid. Thank you. :))

    That looks like the green just north of KP and Nottingham Cottage in KP Gardens.

  3. Are you British, then, anon?
    The taxpayers appear to have been saved the expense of security.
    There could have been an emergency. Maybe HM requested it for her.
    Why judge without all the facts, anon.

  4. Thank-you, Jane. So glad to hear she was on her way back to her babies. Perhaps she had
    another appointment or meeting about the HP editorial work or one of her charities or
    patronages,Helicopter rides are noisy and not as comfortable as the train, but I imagine
    she was needed sooner rather than later in Norfolk.

    1. I wonder if the helicopter was headed up to Sandringham already? Isn't HM due back in London soon? Kate may have caught a ride.Charles could be there and need a ride back.
      All kinds of explanations. No need to condemn without knowing all the facts, 7:08, 7:52.
      There could have been an emergency.

    2. HM leased the helicopter because it worked out cheaper than hiring one whenever necessary---fully reported at the time.
      It might be only 100 miles to their Norfolk home, but it is an awful journey, especially on a Sunday. Going on the train would need a car and security at both ends and again Sunday trains not the best. I suspect travelling on public transport or by road would need more than one security.
      She only appeared to have one person with her for the flight, so I assume he was security. I suspect the helicopter worked out cheaper.

    3. Jean- I think you are correct on all counts. I had a remark about security earlier,
      but it got dropped.Isn't each royal assigned a specific detail? The man with her
      appears to be of the height, build of one of Kate's RPOs. His tie also looks

      It looked like two-three persons were already seated in the helicopter. I don't know if
      a co-pilot is required in this situation.
      The Cambridges have been photographed in route between Norfolk and London by train.
      I do think there could have been a need to expedite the trip.Land directly at Sandringham, instead of the train station with transport to Amner Hall.I think there is also usually an SUV as well as the royal car. Much simpler by helicopter.
      anon 10:17

  5. Totally with royalfan on the occasional candid :)) - Thank you, Jane!

    ~ and to the use of the chopper (anon 7:08 and anon 7:22): I may be wrong or naive, of course, but IMHO, the chopper costs whether it's flown or not, same for the pilot (in that case of course flying, not flown). The only 'extra' costs would seem to be petrol. I leave it to the experts to figure out what takes more petrol, a drive or a chopper flight, from KP to Anmer ...

  6. I just had this image of the helicopter landing and a very enthusiastic and curious George running to greet Kate. :)

  7. (Some very, very nice houses in the background there.) Hello from Santa Fe! I love this blog and read it regularly; it's terrific! One question: how far a drive is it from Kensington Palace to Norfolk? I'm not criticizing the helicopter ride; I'm just curious.

    1. It's a little over 100 miles.

    2. Most of those houses are Embassies including Russia.

  8. I think she is wearing skinny jeans and boots. I think what we see is a garment bag over her arm with the blue McQueen inside.She's carrying a large carry all/purse.

    1. LOL-at. least I got the carry-all right. Obviously, I don't keep up with social
      media and the tabloids. She looks relaxed and reflective to me.
      anon 10:03

  9. I think she did for some reason hmm other article saying prince George is fun of helicopter maybe George will greet her mom the duchess with hello and being stunned by helicopter rides

  10. Looks like she was able to make a quick trip to KP for a change of clothes before heading back to Anmer. Looks like the helicopter is taking off from near there.

  11. Sonja from BavariaFebruary 8, 2016 at 2:17 AM

    Is that a huge longchamp bag? I really love those bags and Kate also does :)
    With this big bag, do you think she stayed in London overnight or did she arrive early on sunday morning?

    I think she could be wearing the pale blue Matthew williamson coat she wore at the beginning of her pregnancy with charlotte in wales...
    I love seeing those candids!

  12. I am a bit suprised here, how many same blue coats she has? I have lost counting...

  13. To Anon 8:54 am- thank you for responding- you are correct and I'm always troubled when people act as if the Crown Estates are the personal property of the monarch and that the monarch is doing the public a favor by "only" taking 15% (or whatever the amount) back. If the monarchy was abolished, the Crown Estates would not be returned to the royal family- instead, 100% of its revenue would go to the public.

  14. Love the candid! Thanks:-) What struck me looking at this image is how the DoC's public wardrobe is basically a costume for her. Its on for the duration of the event, then immediately off. Except for a few pieces, her professional wardrobe doesn't seem to cross over into her personal one, and the style of her public persona is vastly different than that of her off duty one ~very conservative vs quite modern.

    The Mulberry coat is beautiful. Gorgeous color, gorgeous fabric. Very chic over all black.

    1. That's an interesting way of looking at it, Faith. :)

    2. :-) I know a little out there but I had the sudden impression that the real Kate was boarding the helicopter with her duchess persona neatly packed away in her bag.

  15. Anon 5.50 she does seem to have a good number! But blue definitely suits her!

    1. I agree. Really suits her but still do not get. She does the same with lace dresses but at least in different colours. How bored with them tooo personally.

      With her resources it is just confusing.

  16. I just finished watching the video Kate made for Mental Health Week and I thought it was wonderfully done! I look forward to what you have to say, Jane.

    1. So did I, Robin, and like yourself, I thought this video very well crafted--much better than the recent one released by Prince Charles re The Princes Trust; did you see that one?

      I thought that Kate's message was excellent, as was the camera crew, who interspersed it with clips of Kate and children interacting.

      Children's mental/emotional health is such a worthy cause; I am looking forward to the Huff Post cause, Young Minds Matter(?), which they have chosen to launch with Kate on the 17th.


    2. I haven't watched Prince Charles' video. He's not a very dynamic personality so I'm not sure why his PR people would suggest a video. I'll have to go look at it.

      Kate's causes are really wonderful. Even if it's her support of tennis or boating she is always encouraging an active and healthy lifestyle. The support of children's mental health is something that's been needed for a long time and I hope it will encourage others to seek a way to volunteer or help with similar causes here in America as well.

    3. JC, I watched the Prince Charles video. I was very impressed with the work The Princes Trust has done but still so unimpressed with Charles. He's about as warm and fuzzy as a cactus.

  17. I like this Mulberry even better than the Matthew Williamson.The fabric and tailoring
    seem better quality to me. I have also noted the difference between her "royal" Catherine style and her casual Kate preferences when some kept demanding she hire a stylist.
    Who can forget the print pants she wore to rugby and later to the museum with George.
    Of course, the events she attends as Catherine are generally more conservative and would
    call for more conservative attire. When she sits in the royal box at tennis she is
    dressed differently than when she attends a charity polo match or a rugby game in the

    I think this has been a gradual transition. It seems as though her 2011-12 styles were
    more "modern," but then she has moved on in her royal life and status, calling for a
    more conservative look-at least in the BRF. At the same time, she expresses her
    private tastes privately.
    Maybe there aren't two Kates-just one very appropriate Kate.
    I do think this Mulberry would fit in perfectly standing next to HM. It really makes me
    wonder if she was on her way to another appointment. We only assume she was headed back
    to Sandringham. It would certainly explain the need for speed.

  18. interesting to see the media, twitter and commentator storm that Catherine using a helicopter has caused. All brought about by an excited "fan" posting her "candid".

    If I were Catherine, Id stay in Norfolk.

    1. Thanks for saying that anon 5:38
      It's not the fault of the Twitter poster.It's all the media who picked it up and
      grew it. We don't see many pictures of Prince Charles, Camilla, Prince Phillip or
      the Queen getting on the helicopter. If we did, you can bet few would complain.
      Also, I imagine their security would prevent it.

      My theory is the republicans and general mal-contents recognise that William
      and Catherine represent any chance for a future the British monarchy has.
      Anything that chips away at their credibility serves to weaken the future off the monarchy.

  19. Anon@7:15 PM, Feb.8--I completely agree with your last sentence: Anything which chips away at their credibility serves to weaken the future of the monarchy.

    At the moment, William and Kate are caught between a rock, a hard place, and the republicans, IMO; not until William becomes the Duke of Cornwall, with all of its $$$ and hence, soft power, will they be able to adequately fight back--by then, it may be too late. (Who, after all, aside from the Queen, gives a damn about Charles? By the time he becomes monarch, he will be hitting 80, ineffectual and old. William and Kate are the two to zero in on.)

    Hats off to the republicans; this is a brilliant chess move.


  20. JC Anon 3:19

    Actually quite a lot of people care about Charles. He has done so much for so many - raised millions; supported and financed young people to start their own businesses; introduced to many the benefits of organic farming; conservation; he also served for many yrs in the military, including commanding a minesweeper.

    I like William and Harry but Charles had done all of the above before he turned 35. They've got a lot of catching to do.

    1. Charles has done a lot of good work, but in the popularity and appeal department he has been his own worst enemy. I think it was unfortunate that he thought of Diana as a competitor, rather than a tremendous asset.

    2. I totally agree, royalfan. Charles has done a tremendous amount of charity work but in his personal life he has been a disaster. His likability is very low. He has also inherited his father's habit of saying or writing very rude things that the public ends up either hearing or reading as well. He is, unfortunately, more like his father than his mother.

      It has always been said that the Queen personally started grooming William from a very young age to become a monarch and, when it comes to humanitarianism, Diana groomed her boys. Charles has always seemed to have his own interests at heart first, the work second, and family a distant third. I watched his "Year with the Prince" special (or whatever it was called) and while hearing about the Princes Trust and all of the work it does is incredibly impressive, I'm not sure he was all that accessible to those two guys. A whole year fit into one hour that was very generously intermixed with interviews of other people? It was a bit thin. And during his bits he still didn't come off as very likable.

      I do think William and Harry are doing their part with their service and, unlike Charles, William is not sacrificing his family time to do it. They organized their Royal Foundation a few years before Will & Kate got married and they don't have the 40 plus years behind them to claim all that Charles can claim. But they shouldn't be sold short because of their age.

  21. Queen consort-Camilla at 80/Catherine at 45?
    William also needs to catch up to Charles's living expenses. He's way behind.His wardrobe
    All those pluses on Charles's résumé come at a price.

  22. Jennifer from the SouthFebruary 12, 2016 at 11:21 AM

    Another picture has emerged from the helicopter ride (perhaps just a full-body shot of the new closeup), and it looks like she has on a pleated skirt and a crew neck cashmere or merino sweater. Perhaps the lovely black Mulberry skirt from a few years ago?


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