THE Duchess of Cambridge has been on a gruelling SAS-run course to protect her against kidnap.
Kate, 29, went through the personal protection programme because her profile has soared following her wedding to Prince William.
Her new-found Royal status has earned her millions of fans - but also made her a target for terrorists, abductors and cranks.
The course - described as "very tough, physically and mentally" - has been taken by other Royals as well as politicians and people working in dangerous countries.
It teaches key survival skills such as noticing anything unusual in routine surroundings, how to react when attacked and how to build a relationship with hostage-takers.
Other elements include driving under pressure and passing on coded messages.
A source said: "The Palace want to ensure Kate's new status doesn't make her vulnerable to attack.
"She has been well trained in what to do should the unthinkable happen. VIP kidnap protection training teaches how to cope both mentally and physically. The mental element involves reacting to unusual situations, such as when there was a stranger in the Queen's bedroom - and she just started talking to him."
The course is usually taught by SAS, personal protection or MI5 officers.
The full training regime can take several months but it is not known whether newlywed Kate has taken a shortened version. Other Royals who have had SAS personal protection training include the Queen, Princess Diana, Prince William and Prince Charles.
Prince William ... on SAS course at 16
When William took the course as a 16-year-old at the SAS base in Hereford in 1998 he was taught to fire a submachine gun and bundled into a car in a mock ambush.
When Diana did the training her hair was set alight by an exploding flash bomb.
The exact venue for Kate's training has been kept top secret though she may have done some of it in North Wales, where she lives with William.