New portraits of Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge herald a new era for a woman about to become Queen Consort.
The Duchess celebrated her 40th birthday on Sunday with the publication of three official portraits of the Italian fashion photographer Paolo Roversi.
The photos taken in London’s Kew Gardens in November will be added to the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery and will be exhibited in three locations in the heart of Middleton – part of the Portrait Gallery Return home Project.
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The Duchess shared the photos on social media and added: “Thank you for all your dear birthday wishes and to Paolo and the National Portrait Gallery for these three special portraits” and signed the post with a simple “C” for Katharina.
The first photo shared is Middleton in a white off the shoulder Alexander McQueen chiffon dress, looking into the distance. Her stunning sapphire engagement ring is highlighted by a bow loop wrapped around her finger that comes off the shoulder loops of the dress.
Her hair is different from her usual bouncy blowout and instead appears in tighter, more natural-looking curls.
She wears a pair of her late mother-in-law’s classic teardrop pearl earrings that Diana gave in 1981 before her wedding to Prince Charles.
As many royal watchers have pointed out, the photos are reminiscent of photos taken by photographer Cecil Beaton of a young Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mother.
In the second photo, the Duchess literally switches over. Her hair is parted on the left for a change (she usually parts it on the right) and she is shown with bold red lips and wind-blown hair. She also wears a pair of Queen’s diamond frame earrings.
Her red, pocket-shaped (!) One-shoulder dress by Alexander McQueen has a large puffed sleeve and exudes the energy of the glamorous shots that Princess Diana loved to take.
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Stylistically, the third photo mixes the energy of the two previous ones – the glamorous headshot with the black and white romance. She’s wearing a white McQueen dress and Diana’s pearl earrings again, but this time the focus is on her face and smile.
According to People Magazine, Middleton’s kids helped select this particular photo as one for the portrait gallery.
The new photos will be on display in Berkshire, St Andrews and Anglesey during 2022 before moving to the Portrait Gallery in 2023.
Middleton grew up in Berkshire, the Duchess and Prince William met in St. Andrews while studying at the University of St. Andrews, and in Anglesey the two shared a house for the first time after their wedding in 2011.
Using Google Translate, Roversi told the Italian newspaper that Middleton was “concerned” during the photo shoot and stated that although she is often caught by paparazzi or on camera at personal events, she rarely poses for photos alone.
He said the key to taking the photos is having natural light and a relaxed environment.
“You with little make-up, no hairstyle, simple pearl earrings, a ring… The focus of Kate’s face is her look and smile. I didn’t want her to be Duchess, not too established, but purer and more contemporary, even more timeless, ”he told the newspaper.
Roversi also announced that there are photos that have not yet been shown to the public, including one of the Duchess dancing.
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“Ultimately, I wanted to take photos on the move, so I made her dance in front of my camera in this wonderfully wide skirt, a kind of accelerated waltz mixed with a pinch of rock ‘n roll,” he shared.
Meanwhile, members of the royal family wished Middleton a happy birthday on Sunday.
On Instagram, the royal family’s official account shared pictures of Kate alongside Queen Elizabeth. “I wish the Duchess of Cambridge a happy 40th birthday today!” Wrote the royal family.
Prince Charles and Duchess of Cornwall Camilla shared their own tribute to Kate on her Clarence House Instagram account.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Duchess should celebrate her milestone birthday in a small, private celebration with the family.
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