Tuning 40 meant a lot to the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, and the royal family made sure the world knew that. They released three iconic photos to mark the milestone.
The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton had a memorable four-hour photo session with famed photographer Paolo Roversi ahead of her 40th birthday. The result was a collection of 250 iconic photos which were eventually capped to thirty.
Of these thirty, the royal family decided to release three iconic ones to the public to mark the Duchess’ special milestone.
These photos, set to be added to the permanent collection at the National Portrait Gallery, showed a side of the Cambridge royal that is a blend of contemporary ambiance with historical significance. A side the world rarely sees.
In a way only the duchess could, Middleton depicted raw innocence, a hint of purity easily mistaken for shyness, and an air of charisma, proving her a royal at heart.
Most notably, the shoot paid tribute to two iconic royal women, Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth II, while tapping inspiration from a royal portrait from decades ago.
Kate Middleton Turns 40
Prince William’s wife marked her 40th milestone on January 9, 2022, and in one rare moment, the world got to see the Duchess abandon her usual position behind the camera lens.
This time, she posed for stunning shots, with Paolo Roversi manning the camera. While her three photo releases marked the highlight of the day to the public, Middleton rang in the big day in a private celebration with her family.
A Royal Birthday
Kensington Palace released the three selected photos from her prized collection just a day before the grand occasion.
An accompanying press release from the palace confirmed the photos were taken in November 2021 at London’s Kew Gardens and would become part of the permanent collection at the National Portrait Gallery in London.
The institution, where Middleton serves as patron, would include the royal portraits in their Coming Home project. The project involves displaying portraits of well-known people in various locations that hold special significance to them.
For the Duchess, hers would be on exhibit at three locations across the continent. They include Berkshire in Southeast England where she grew up, St. Andrews in Eastern Scotland where she met her prince charming.
The third location would be at Anglesey, in northwest Wales where she once lived with Prince Williams and a newborn Prince George.
The Royal Photos
Kate Middleton’s birthday photos reveal yet another of the Duchess’ talents having stunned the world with her piano performance during ITV’s “Royal Carols: Together At Christmas.”
Yet, more than playing the piano, Kate Middleton proved herself a natural in front of the cameras with the three iconic shots.
The Lady In Red
The first of the lot showed Middleton donning a bold red dress with one voluminous sleeve, leaving her right shoulder bare. The flowing dress came complete with two side pockets which she utilized in her glamorous hands-in-pockets pose.
The Duchess accessorized this outfit with a pair of diamond sequined earrings that complimented her looks. The Duchess’ minimalist makeup left her appearing natural, with an angelic aura surrounding her.
A Glimpse Of The Past
The second image portrayed Middleton as more of an angel with her dreamy expression, flowing locks cascading down her back, and a white off-shoulder dress with bows serving as the dropping sleeves.
The black and white contrast of the photo gave it a historic feel, taking every touch of contemporary out of it. Yet, the mother of three looked stylish, with her diamond engagement ring and a pair of tear-drop pearls dangling down her ears.
Straight At The Camera
The third shot appeared more subtle, as the Duchess of Cambridge seemed to be wearing a light-colored one-shoulder outfit with ruffled sleeves while staring directly at the camera. She accessorized the look with a stunning pair of pearl earrings.
The smile plastered on her face seemed to have an underlying message of warmth and reassurance to everyone looking up to her as future Queen. The shot also came with a black and white effect.
A newspaper publication lists this third timeless piece as the favorite of Prince William, and their three adorable kids.
The Shots Honored Two Great Women
Kate Middleton’s birthday photos paid tribute to two women whom she looks up to in her role as future Queen. The glittering pair of diamond earrings she rocked in one of the shots showing her in a red gown was on loan from the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.
For the second shot, the royalty sat sideways, positioning her hands in a way that brought her 12-carat sapphire engagement ring into view. Notably, the ring once belonged to the late Princess of Wales, who acquired it following Prince Charles’s proposal in 1981.
The third portrait also honored the late princess, with the Duchess donning a pair of pearl earrings previously owned by The People’s Princess.
Inspired By Portraits Of Old
Roversi, whose prolific photography shone through Middleton’s iconic portrait, admitted to finding inspiration from old royal portraits, including a photo of Princess Alexandra of Denmark.
We see the similarity in Middleton’s second portrait showing her in the off-shoulder gown reminiscent of an 18th century shot of Princess Alexandra.
Notably, Middleton shares more in common with Alexandra than their similar photos. For one, the late princess, who eventually became Princess of Wales and Queen consort to King Edward VII had an avid interest in photography, just like Middleton.
Additionally, both women seem to have similar paths in the course of their royal journey. Royal photographer Cecil Beaton was admittedly another source of inspiration Roversi tapped into to achieve the legendary birthday photoshoot that will go down in history.
Middleton’s Cooperation Made It Work
Coming up with the best of 250 photos might have required the input of Middleton’s husband and kids, but the bigger credits go to the Duchess alone.
Roversi has been open about his time with the Duchess in their effort to pull off the iconic shoot, from their first meeting to the final selection of three.
He praised the Duchess for letting go of her initial fears of having a session with him and relaxing into the moment which made his work easier. At some point during the shoot, he made Middleton dance and twirl on the floor in front of the lens to achieve some moving photos and the duchess complied.
The Public’s Reaction To The Portraits
Since Kensington Palace released the three iconic shots of the Duchess of Cambridge, the internet has gone abuzz, raving about the thrilling images.
Most of these comments emphasized what Kate Middleton wore in each of her shots. Several netizens have created an obsession over the inclusion of pockets to the mother of three’s bold red ensemble, which is set to become a fashion trend considering Kate Middleton’s royal effect.
Aside from the reference to the subtle detail, many netizens have sung odes to the Duchess’ coordination and beauty expressed in each shot. Millions around the world also utilized various platforms to wish the Queen-in-the-making a happy 40th birthday.
Meanwhile, some British tabloids and Megan-Markle critics have utilized Middleton’s birthday as an avenue to throw daggers at the Duchess of Sussex.
While some of these outlets have made demeaning comparisons between the two women, others have directly shaded Markle, who turned 40 in 2021 for being less of the ideal royal family jewel Princess Diana would be proud of.
The insensitive remarks have further strained the tension surrounding the royal family while fueling the supposed “feud” between these royal brides.