Saturday, 8 January 2022

Happy 40th Kate: Stunning New Portraits & Past Decade in 40 Photos

Hello, dear readers and a very Happy 2022 to all of you! It's a very significant weekend for the Duchess of Cambridge as you all know. Kate celebrates her 40th birthday tomorrow and to celebrate the landmark occasion Kensington Palace shared gorgeous new photographs.

The striking images were taken by Italian fashion photographer Paolo Roversi at Kew Gardens in November, and will enter the permanent collection of Kate's patronage the National Portrait Gallery. Kensington Palace said: "Ahead of the gallery’s re-opening in 2023, the photographs will feature as part of its 'Coming Home' project, a nationwide initiative which sees portraits of well-known individuals being sent to locations which they are closely associated with. The project has enabled works from the National Portrait Gallery’s national collection to travel to towns and cities across the UK, providing communities with the opportunity to see famous works locally." Throughout the year they will be displayed in places which hold special meaning for the Duchess, including Berkshire, St Andrews and Anglesey.

The black and white images were chosen with the historical value of these photos in mind and references to previous generations of the Royal family.

The Telegraph reports:

'Taking influence from the work of era-defining royal photographers such as Cecil Beaton, the Duchess has also channelled her admiration for Victorian photography for a series of three very different images.

One, in which the Duchess is captured in profile, is reminiscent of the young Queen Victoria and shows the modern mother-of-three in regal serenity.

A second, also in sepia tones, is more intimate, seeing her look directly at the camera with a beaming smile in a pose echoing Diana, Princess of Wales in her Mario Testino photoshoots.

The photographs are the most heavily symbolic of any taken of the Duchess in her royal life so far.

They are intended to capture the family and creative influences in her life, paying tribute to the taste of the young Queen and her mother, Queen Elizabeth, whose image was so often captured by Beaton in a similar style.'

Below, two of Cecil Beaton's iconic images of the Queen and Princess Margaret.

Hello! reports: "The Duchess and Paolo drew inspiration from 19th century photography, which was the focus of Kate's undergraduate thesis." It is thought the work of German painter Franz Xaver Winterhalter served as inspiration. Below an 1864 portrait of Queen Alexandra when she was Princess of Wales. Considered something of a fashion icon, Alexandra held the title of Princess of Wales longer than anyone else (1863-1901). 

Globally renowned photographer Roversi spoke with the Duchess via video call before the photoshoot and was chosen following conversations between Kate and the gallery. Roversi has led advertising campaigns for (most recently) Alexander McQueen, Cerruti, Comme des Garçons, Christian Dior, Yves Saint-Laurent, and Valentino and features in a number of fashion publications including Vogue. Speaking about the experience he described as "profound and rich", Paolo said: "I was moved by her warmth and friendly welcome and enchanted by her shining eyes that reflected the loveliness of her soul and her smile showing the generosity of her heart. I have met a wonderful person, a person who, with her positive energy, can bring hope to the whole world."

The Duchess selected gowns by her favoured fashion house of the past decade -- Alexander McQueen. Kate's striking red gown is a bespoke version of McQueen's Asymmetric Draped Sleeve Gown (with thanks to Innominate).

The original design is described as: "Asymetric draped sleever Anemone print flower dress in rose gold polyfaille."

The Duchess accessorised with the Queen's Diamond Frame earrings which have been on loan to her for years. Her Majesty last wore them for the 2012 State Opening of Parliament. Her Majesty's Jewel Vault reports: "This pair of diamond pendant earrings includes a pendant of separate stones hanging within a diamond frame. These appeared at the 2012 State Opening of Parliament, but have no publicly known provenance as of yet."

The Telegraph notes the other dresses incorporate silk jacquard, organza tulle repurposed from previous collections in order to create the pieces with sustainability in mind. Kate wore Diana's Collingwood pearl earrings to complete the timeless looks on the left.

The UFO No More team suggest the ruffled gown on the right may be McQueen's One Shoulder Ruffle Gown from the Resort 2022 Collection inspired by English poet William Blake.

How will the Duchess mark her birthday? The Cambridges have been at Anmer Hall since mid-December. It's been reported she will be joined by family and close friends (the continuation of a tradition started in Norfolk) for a quiet and relaxed weekend before the children return to school on Tuesday. According to various reports, plans for a larger gathering were shelved due to the high level of Covid cases. The Mirror revealed plans for joint celebrations to take part over the summer for William and Kate. It's thought the Queen may be planning to throw a party for William over the summer and that will now take shape to include Kate's birthday.

Over Christmas I received several splendid suggestions on marking the occasion with a special post. I concluded highlighting the past decade in 40 photos offered the perfect way to do just that.

2012

A decade ago, Kate was enjoying newlywed life in idyllic Anglesey. The year began with an important announcement -- confirmation Kate had chosen her first four patronages: the Art Room, the National Portrait Gallery, Action on Addiction, and East Anglia's Children's Hospices. Kate reached her decision following a series of private visits to charities, and while in Anglesey the Duchess would volunteer privately with UK Scouting. It was a time when things were very much in flux. In February, the Cambridges enjoyed a vacation with the Middleton family in Mustique. Upon their return, Prince William was deployed to the Falklands as part of a four-man Search and Rescue crew. Flight Lieutenant Wales' tour of duty lasted six weeks. William's deployment proved something of a learning curve for Kate who performed her first solo engagement, visiting the Lucian Freud Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. Kate made her first official speech during a visit to her patronage, East Anglia's Children Hospices, where she formerly opened the Treehouse Hospice in Ipswich. During her speech Kate said, "First of all, I'd like to say thank you. Thank you for not only accepting me as your patron but thank you also for inviting me here today. You have all made me feel so welcome and I feel hugely honoured to be here to see this wonderful centre. I am only sorry that William can't be here today; he would love it here. A view if his -- that I share -- is that through teamwork, so much can be achieved. What you have all achieved here is extraordinary."

The summer of 2012 was a momentous time in London for many reasons -- none more fondly remembered than the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. The Jubilee Bank Holiday Weekend officially kicked off in June with a wonderful display at the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. Over one thousand boats mustered on the River Thames from the UK, the Commonwealth and around the world. Crowds lined fourteen miles to catch a glimpse of the royals. When the Duchess arrived, wearing red Alexander McQueen, she was heard describing the event as "so exciting". It was a time of one fabulous event after another, engagements with the Queen, and a tour of Southeast Asia.

As London 2012 ambassadors, the young royals led the nation in welcoming athletes from all over the world and honouring the incredible and inspiring talent across the UK. In an iconic fashion moment, the Duchess sported a teal Jenny Packham gown for the fundraising gala 'Our Greatest Team Rises'.

The year drew to a close with the wonderful news Kate was expecting a baby. Sadly, Kate was hospitalised for three days at the King Edward VII hospital in London with Hyperemesis gravidarum, an acute form of morning sickness which can lead to dehydration. When Kate was discharged she said she was "feeling much better".

2013

Following a quiet Christmas with the Middletons, the Cambridges were first publicly seen in 2013 sitting in the audience at Cirque du Soleil, which they attended with the Middletons and friends for Kate's 31st birthday. The night offered an opportunity for Kate to not only celebrate her birthday, but to unwind and enjoy a relaxing evening with family and friends. Kate had been very poorly, particularly in the early months of her pregnancy. William and Kate's first engagement of the year was a visit to the National Portrait Gallery, where they viewed Kate's first official portrait, by artist Paul Emsley. The divisive portrait received very harsh criticism with many stating it made the Duchess look older and failed to capture her sparkle. Nine years on, have your views on the portrait changed?


During her pregnancy, I remember Kate wearing a much-loved Hobbs London coat as she paid a solo visit to the seaside town of Grimsby where she revealed the baby was kicking. There were many memorable moments from the visit, most notably when Kate made an unscheduled stop at St Andrew's Hospice, where she met ten patients. One of the elderly patients said, "I'm waiting for you to be Queen." Kate laughed and said, "You might be waiting a long time!" Also on this visit, a local thought the Duchess had accidentally let slip she was expecting a girl. Of course, we now know with certainty the onlooker was mistaken :)

On 23 July, proud parents William and Kate introduced their son to the world. Kate said, "It's been very emotional. It's very special. Any parent will know what this feeling is like." While Prince William revealed: "He's a big boy, quite heavy. We're still working on a name. He has a pair of lungs on him that's for sure." Within a couple of days the baby boy's name and style was revealed -- His Royal Highness Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge.


At the end of August, Kate returned to public engagements to bid farewell to Anglesey with William at the Ring O' Fire Marathon. It was a poignant day for the couple who loved their time on the island, where they enjoyed privacy and normality. There was a great deal of speculation at the time on plans for the future and assuming greater royal roles. William decided to work with the East Anglian Air Ambulance and the family made plans to base their lives in Norfolk.


2014

Looking tanned and relaxed following a trip to Mustique, Kate began official engagements for 2014 on 11 February when she attended the Portrait Gala at the National Portrait Gallery in London. The Duchess made a short but endearing speech in which she praised the work of the gallery. Kate wore her much-loved Jenny Packham silk tulle gown with a dazzling necklace on loan from the Queen. The priceless piece was given to Her Majesty as a wedding gift in 1947 by the Nizam of Hyderabad. It was a memorable night for Kate and the debut of perhaps the most substantial pieces of jewellery from the royal vault she had worn up to that point.


April was the month of the royal tour and what a memorable one it was. From the moment the Cambridges left London, media and royal fans were waiting to see William and Kate arrive with Prince George -- one of the few glimpses of the young Prince we had seen at that time. The highly-anticipated tour offered a wide array of engagements over a three-week period which saw William and Kate meet as many people and take in as much of both countries as their schedule allowed, whilst spending as much time as possible with George. The little prince stole the show at each appearance he was involved in.


Supporting causes close to their hearts was also on the agenda. When Kate visited Bear Cottage Hospice with William she said, "To be here together as a family has been very special and we will always remember it with fond and happy memories."


2014 also brought delightful news the Duchess was expecting again. You'll all remember the Cambridges' whirlwind visit to New York later in the year. The Duchess undertook a variety of engagements, including a visit to Northside Child Development Centre, and receptions where she met everyone from Sir Ben Kingsley to Hillary and Chelsea Clinton. The Cambridges attended their first NBA game where they met Beyoncé and Jay Z. Kate gave a nod to her host country in the Tory Burch metallic tweed 'Bettina' coat and J Crew black skinny jeans.


2015

In 2015, Kate was chic in a baby blue Séraphine maternity coat for a day of engagements in Kensington which saw her attend a coffee morning at Family Friends, a voluntary organisation providing befriending and mentoring services. When asked about the baby, Kate said, "It's moving all the time. I can feel it kicking now." The Duchess also opened Kensington Aldridge Academy and a new leisure centre. I loved this look, and it was perhaps my favourite of the maternity styles she chose throughout her second pregnancy. The coat was beautifully tailored and the colour had us all speculating Kate might have been expecting another boy :)


One of the most anticipated appearances of the year was Kate's visit to the set of Downton Abbey. William and Kate have long been fans of the show and the cast were tickled pink to meet the Duchess.  Kate had a ball as she watched a scene being filmed and met the cast who shared many memorable quotes afterwards. Michelle Dockery, who plays 'Lady Mary', recently revealed the Duchess "smelled like roses".


On Sunday, 2nd May, I awoke to news the Duchess had been admitted to St. Mary's Hospital in the early stages of labour. In the following hours it was announced Kate had given birth to a daughter. Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge was baptised at St. Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk in July. I loved the Norfolk christening -- the appearance was the perfect time for the first photos of the family of four.


On the 20th October, it was time for William and Kate's first State banquet. We had been awaiting the white-tie appearance since the couple got married and it certainly didn't disappoint. Kate was the picture of elegance in a bespoke red Jenny Packham cap sleeve gown as she took centre stage, seated beside President Xi of China. As you all know, I do love a tiara appearance and was thrilled to see Kate in the late Queen Mother's Papyrus/Lotus Flower tiara. With a chic updo, the piece looked fabulous and added a regal sparkle to the look. There was plenty of chatter over the other jewels Kate wore too, most notably two beautiful bracelets loaned to Kate by Her Majesty. One in particular is without question a very special piece in particular. It was in fact a wedding gift from Prince Philip, made with diamonds from a tiara belonging to his mother. The other, a choker worn by Queen Mary c. 1920, and later converted to a bracelet worn by the late Queen Mother.


2016

2016 was a significant year when the royals collective focus on mental health came to the fore with Kate's brainchild Heads Together. During a joint speech to mark the launch Kate said, "Too often, people feel afraid to admit that they are struggling with their mental health. This fear of judgment stops people from getting the help they need, which can destroy families and end lives. Heads Together wants to help everyone feel much more comfortable with their everyday mental wellbeing, and to have the practical tools to support their friends and family."


We know the Duchess is a keen photographer, but how does she feel about being on the other side of the lens? As one of the most photographed women in the world, HRH is used to the glare of the camera. Kate has been asked to do a shoot for countless publications and British Vogue was no exception. I think we were all quite surprised when the Duchess was unveiled as British Vogue's centenary issue cover star in June 2016. Much like her portrait, we saw a very informal Kate which was something she wanted. Vogue reported: "Having participated in choosing not only the clothes worn in the shoot and the locations used as a backdrop, but also the photographer who captured the images, the Duchess was pleased with the resulting feeling of informality in the final shots." Kensington Palace said: "The Duchess had never taken part in a photography shoot like this before. She hopes that people appreciate the portraits with the sense of relaxed fun with which they were taken." Kate worked closely with Josh Olins to convey a casual look opting to eschew a glamorous photo shoot at the Palace with gowns and jewels in favour of an outdoorsy spread at Anmer Hall, with her favourite stripey tops and jeans. Again, this is another stellar example of Kate using art to convey a message.


The Duchess was regal in Catherine Walker for the National Service of Thanksgiving for the Queen at St Paul's Cathedral. Another wonderful look and perfect for the occasion. Below, we see Kate curtsying to the Queen. In 2016, we saw Kate participate in her first documentary, Our Queen at 90. Kate discussed motherhood and praised the Queen's sense of duty and commitment: "Being a mother and new in my job as well, I have no idea how the Queen has managed to do it with four children as well of her own. To manage all those elements of your life, from the family as well as to the work, to the national importance of her role, I think it's extraordinary and also for so long as well. All the time William and I are so struck by the Queen's sense of duty and commitment and I think to do that by yourself would be a very lonely place to be, but I think to have the support of your husband there by your side on those occasions, and behind closed doors as well, I think is very special." Kate continued: "William and I have got quite a long way to go but it really is fantastic and to see and experience as much as they have together. It's very special."

It was a year of milestones, and notable to see overseas engagements accounted for almost half of Kate's overall tally in 2016 (61 out of 140 to be precise). It was a year of firsts, too: the first year the Cambridges undertook two full scale tours; Kate made her first solo overseas visit to the Netherlands; and there was a trip to France for Somme commemorations. If I'm not mistaken it remains the most prominent year for Kate in terms of overseas work.

2017

A key focus for William, Kate and Harry in 2017 was their mental health campaign Heads Together. The trio spoke at a briefing at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in Carlton House Terrace to outline the next phase as efforts intensified to create conversations around the world to break the stigma surrounding mental health. The Duchess said, "We have heard time and time again in the course of our work how talking can help heal the hidden challenges we can’t deal with alone, so the question that William, Harry and I have asked ourselves is, how we can get more people to start talking?" This was a fabulous look, featuring the Erdem Evita dress and that hairstyle.

A very stylish moment at the BAFTAs in McQueen.

A number of engagements culminated in a London Marathon with a difference for Heads Together. Efforts supporting William, Kate and Harry's Heads Together initiative had all been leading up to that day. More than 700 Heads Together runners took part in that year's London Marathon, raising money and awareness to change the national conversation around mental health. All 39,000+ runners in the event were given a Heads Together blue headband to help make 2017 the 'mental health marathon'. It is believed the event raised millions for mental health charities.

Unusually, the Cambridges did not visit a Commonwealth country in 2017. Instead, the Foreign Office had one firm focus on their mind: Brexit. The Royal couple were deployed on several visits across Europe in what was described as a "soft power diplomatic charm offensive". William and Kate's first trip as goodwill ambassadors saw them undertake a two-day visit to Paris to bolster Anglo-French relations as Britain prepared to exit the European Union. This stunning Packham number is affectionately remembered as the 'Elsa Gown'.

2018

2018 was an exciting year for the Duchess who was expecting Prince Louis. Below Kate during a visit to the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative. Kate was in her element during tennis exercises; she adores the sport. There was a very sweet moment before she left when the pupils assembled in a uniform line to shake her hand, and one by one a row of little girls hugged Kate instead.

As January drew to a close, the Cambridges began a four-day visit to Sweden and Norway. The European trip was one of a number designed to bolster relations and deploy a touch of soft diplomacy as Brexit unfolded. The tour began in Stockholm with a very fun bandy hockey event at Vasaparken, an outdoor ice-skating venue. This was an incredibly fun photo garnering many a 'photo-caption'.

On 23rd April, Prince Louis Arthur Charles of Cambridge arrived to a delighted Kate.

It was a sparkling appearance for the Duchess at the glittering State banquet in honour of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima's visit. Kate was draped in jewels including the Lover's Knot Tiara, Diana's Collingwood pearls, a stunning pearl necklace from the Queen's vault and shimmering bracelet. The story from the night was news Kate had received the Royal Family Order from the Queen. Traditionally the order was made of ivory, but we knew we wouldn't see the Duchess wearing the material and instead Kate's was created with glass. The Order is awarded by the Sovereign of the United Kingdom to female members of the Royal family as they typically do not wear the commemorative medals men do. The order is a personal memento rather than a State decoration.

2019

Now to 2019...

It was a night of glamour as the Duchess donned a beautiful one-shoulder McQueen gown for the annual BAFTA awards at the Royal Albert Hall. Sarah Burton outdid herself with the design which featured a whimsical flowing skirt and floral detailing on the shoulder. Statement earrings and glittering Jimmy Choo pumps completed the look.

I remember May as the month of 'Back to Nature' and the many appearances we saw during the week the garden was unveiled. Kate shared a preview of the garden with a group of schoolchildren, saying, "I really hope this woodland we've created, in a huge collaboration, really inspires families and kids and communities in general to get outside, enjoy nature, enjoy the outdoors, and really spend quality time together." At the preview in the evening, the Queen joined William and Kate for a tour. Kate incorporated memories from the Queen's life "including carrots and beetroot which she remembers planting as a girl". HM was overheard saying, "Very interesting." Kate replied, "Thank you very much, Your Majesty. We will see you later."

The couple's trip to Pakistan was a highlight of the year. In Lahore, there was a spot of cricket before William and Kate visited SOS Children's Villages -- the largest independent, non-profit development organisation operating across the world. The villages provide alternative families to children without proper parental care. Typically, children of all ages live together in a house with a 'mother' who is responsible for meeting the children's physical needs. During a speech, the Duchess said, "Being here in Pakistan this week, William and I have seen on several occasions how family is at the heart of your culture. Parents, children, aunts, uncles, grandparents all play important roles - you have reminded us exactly what family means. You have shown us too that it is not simply a term that describes the relationship between blood relatives. You have created a home, where children are given the love, protection, and support that will enable them to have a fairer chance in life. Here, women who were once vulnerable, now play the most vital of roles as mothers and it is most heartening to see that you are not doing this alone."

2020

Before 2020 changed our lives in ways we could never have imagined, the year began very much business as usual with the launch of Kate's survey, 5 Big Questions. The Duchess gave her first podcast interview to Giovanna Fletcher of Happy Mum, Happy Baby. Speaking about the survey during the conversation, the Duchess said, "I think ultimately if you look at who’s caring and looking after and nurturing children in the most vital period from pregnancy all the way to the age of five, you know parents and carers are right at the heart of that, and families are right at the heart of that, and although I’ve spoken to the scientists and the service providers, it’s so important to listen to families. What is it that they aspire to? What are their challenges? What we’re doing with the survey is asking people – what is it that matters for them in raising their children today. It’s going to take a long time – I’m talking about a generational change – but hopefully this is the first small step: to start a conversation around the importance of Early Childhood development. It’s not just about happy, healthy children. This is for lifelong consequences and outcomes."

To mark Kate's birthday, KP shared a lovely informal photo by Matt Porteous.

As Covid-19 patient numbers began to sky rocket and the NHS came under colossal strain, the Royal family began to disperse. Before the Cambridges decamped to Anmer Hall with the children, the 'virtual engagement' became a part of the royal schedule.

Adjusting to the new normal meant altering goals and changing plans and priorities, too. In collaboration with her patronage the National Portrait Gallery, the Duchess of Cambridge launched a new photography project to reflect the sense of community, acts of bravery and kindness amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In a statement about the Hold Still effort, the Duchess said, "We’ve all been struck by some of the incredible images we’ve seen which have given us an insight into the experiences and stories of people across the country. Some desperately sad images showing the human tragedy of this pandemic and other uplifting pictures showing people coming together to support those more vulnerable." The project became a huge success and leaves a poignant reminder of a year like no other.

2021

We know the centre of Kate's world is her family, and with that in mind, images from 2021 were chosen to reflect that. To mark their tenth wedding anniversary, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shared two new images taken by celebrated British photographer Chris Floyd at Kensington Palace. The very sweet picture below of the couple embracing each other is a terrific shot.

Accompanying a message of thanks for ten years of support, the Duke and Duchess also shared a family video filmed in Norfolk last autumn by filmmaker Will Warr.

For their Christmas card -- a family snap taken on holiday in Jordan.

Sending the Duchess warmest wishes for an amazing birthday!


124 comments:

  1. Valerie in Arizona8 January 2022 at 22:47

    Stunning is the word!

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  2. Wow, wow, wow! Simply wonderful. These are quite Cecil Beatonesque at times. The red dress is out of the world & I can't help but see glimpses of a Queen Victoria type image in the picture where Kate stares out. She is most definitely marking herself as Queen to be! Wonderful. Many happy returns, HRH.

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  3. She is just stunning; and beautifully photographed; gorgeous red dress. I'm so glad she has eliminated the heavy black eyeliner and eye makeup; she is beautiful and now even more so in her more natural look.

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    1. I agree too -- the iconography here and in Vogue was the more natural Duchess.

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  4. Anonymous in Colorado8 January 2022 at 23:10

    Oh wow 🤩 That profile full length portrait…getting modern Queen Victoria vibes. Such regal portraits yet somehow there’s a relaxed air about her, how did she do that? Props to the photographer too!

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  5. Absolutely gorgeous. Took my breath away. ❤❤❤❤

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  6. Incredibly stunning! Wow! ♥️♥️♥️

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  7. Happy New year Charlotte. Wishing you and your family the very best for the year ahead. Thank you for the quick update. The pictures are just beautiful, she looks amazing. Simply stunning. A ruby bracelet would of been nice. 😁. As always your choice of pictures is spot on. I hope she has a wonderful family birthday. Well deserved after all her hard work on behalf of The Crown this past year. I can't help wondering what amazing jewellery is on the way from Her Majesty and The Prince of Wales. As second in line to the throny. I hope we will see a royal banquet for the Duke and Duchess, for their joint birthday celebrations. Happy New year to all the followers on here. Please God a better year ahead for all of us. S. ☺

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  8. These are simply so beautiful! And I love that she used her natural curls rather than the blow out. Not that I think the blow out looks bad bit it's like she wanted every detail to be true to who she is.

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  9. I'm actually shocked people like these so much. I don't think they are flattering. The close up black and white reminds me of those bad glamour shots from the 90s. I am sadly disappointed. To me these don't even look like Kate.

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    1. I agree. While the photos are stunning, they simply don't look like her. Obviously, if she didn't like them, we wouldn't see them, but if someone just slipped them to me, I don't think I'd recognize her in the first two (and I've been following her since before her marriage). I really do like the last seated one- appropriately regal and historical ( very Victorian in style). At least her hair looks right in that one. The Vogue portraits now seem to me to catch her more naturally.

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    2. Yes I think they’re painfully dated and photoshopped. The glamour shot one reminds me of a very specific type of photo you could get in the mall in the 80s and 90s. There was an opportunity here to be original and forward looking, but I suppose I should accept that won’t happen with a 1000 year old institution rooted in tradition.

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    3. Beautiful & timeless royal portraits of our future Princess of Wales & Queen Consort - regal & royal!

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    4. Unfortunately, I agree. The images don’t do her justice.

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    5. I agree. I think her hair is messy. Portraits of younger Queen and Margaret look so polished and regal. She looks kind of strange in these.

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    6. I actually agree. Kate is beautiful but I can hardly recognize her on these photos.

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    7. I echo you, i also feel like something is off with these photos, her face looks different in all of them. Is it the camera angle? Or maybe the sepia effect is not becoming to her? I cannot put my finger on it, but something is preventing me from being over the moon with these photos.... In any case, let's not forget her milestone birthday, Happy Birthday Duchess! What an incredible journey she has been on for the past 11 years!

      Lady S.

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    8. I absolutely agree. KarenR in Virginia

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    9. I absolutely agree. KarenR in Virginia

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    10. I agree as well. I barely recognized Kate and the photos themselves are rather boring and a bit odd.

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    11. I so wanted to love them. I’ve gone back to them often today hoping I would see something different. I love the nod to history, and it is regal, but she is so modern and it doesn’t capture that at all.

      And, Charlotte - I loved your look at her in 40 images, that’s the Kate I love!

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  10. Courtney, MD USA9 January 2022 at 00:50

    lovely post, Charlotte. What a fun time to look back at the past ten years, thank you for taking the time to put this together for us (though choosing just 40 pics must have been tough!).

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  11. Happy New Year to everyone!
    The 3rd Picture of her looking off sideways gives me Queen Mother vibes.
    Love the look back highlights.

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  12. The most stunning pictures of any royal I've ever seen. Kate is truly a Cinderella story. Beautiful!

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  13. The portraits are very much in the style of the photographer and I like them. We see a myriad of true to life photographs so refreshing to have some that are artistic and different, very suitable for their home in the National Portrait Gallery. I like the pared back look to the essence of Catherine and the symbolism of what has been at what is to come. They will fit well with portraits of other royal ladies and have the feel of a painting as well. I can understand though they will not be to everyone's taste especially those with a formal tiara type expectation.

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    1. Agree, they are perfect for the Portrait Gallery and for what they represent.

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    2. Completely agree Libby, well said. Very much an artistic impression that suits the Portrait Gallery and welcome Kate sharing this side of her. She is beautiful in many ways.

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    3. Tammy from California9 January 2022 at 19:26

      I loved them! Even if they didn't represent anything, I'd still love them.

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    4. I love them. Are they the outfits/poses I would have chosen for her? Probably not. The family obviously loves them.
      She looks like an angel, incredibly regal, every inch a future queen. I think William is probably bursting with pride. She's got an amazing presence and whether you like the poses or not, that presence shines through.

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  14. Thanks for a wonderful post! I never tire of seeing photos from the past, Happy Birthday Kate! The portraits are gorgeous.

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  15. Lynn from So Cal9 January 2022 at 02:07

    Wow.

    That’s it. That’s the comment.

    🤩 Wow.

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  16. The close-up one of Kate seems to have been somewhat digitally-changed. A pity, it doesn't look like her now, pointless.

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  17. I enjoyed looking at your reflection of her public life here and the choice of photos. Thanks for compiling!

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  18. Oh my goodness! These are the most beautiful photos I have seen! They are so regal and yet so personable. With Catherine's smiling eyes looking straight at us through the photos, it is like she we are best friends. She is so naturally beautiful and styled in such a stunning way. The colours don't detract, rather they emphasise her elegance. She should be so proud of them. Happy birthday to the DoC.

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  19. Oh my goodness! These are the most beautiful photos I have seen! They are so regal and yet so personable. With Catherine's smiling eyes looking straight at us through the photos, it is like she we are best friends. She is so naturally beautiful and styled in such a stunning way. The colours don't detract, rather they emphasise her elegance. She should be so proud of them. Happy birthday to the DoC.

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    1. Thank you Mary. Absolutely love those photos. Fun, confident and they express her twinkle in her eyes and her beautiful smile plus her hair looks amazing. Can’t believe the negative comments. These photos are posed portraits not shots taken of her talking and laughing. These are timeless photos that will be around always.
      DD

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    2. I agree that these are posed portraits, not out-and-about photos; of course there will be a more professional quality to the poses and finish work of the photographs. I still think they are/she is absolutely stunning.

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  20. She looks SO beautiful in the photos Charlotte chose -- especially the first ones listed for 2012, 2015, 2017, the one holding little George while on tour, and the last one. She is just remarkably beautiful in those. I don't like the three portraits at all. She does not look like herself and does not look good. I don't like the blowing hair. If she wasn't so pretty, I would not say this, but she's not well represented in these photos.

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  21. Kate, Texas, USA9 January 2022 at 02:58

    Absolutely beautiful! I think my favorite is the black and white where Kate is looking away. It’s very striking and a definite nod to the Victorian Era. All are just beautiful and begin a beautiful decade of her life where we will most likely see Kate become the Princess of Wales. I wish her the happiest of birthdays celebrating with her lovely family! ❤️

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  22. I don't like these photos. They don't look like Kate. Too much airbrushing the contours of her face and it gives her this flat, faraway look. I always think Kate's beauty is essentially an earthy beauty, which is why I dislike many of her most princessy looks the most.

    Also, her eyes are usually very large, expressive, and happy. These photos make her eyes look washed over.

    Overall, I think the photos look like very prom princessy and the b&w ones look like something Queen Alexandra would have posed for.

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    Replies
    1. I totally agree, it looks so much airbrushed, the proportions are different. Especially the eyes, the forehead and the hairline.
      There is so much natural beauty in the little irregularities, they are all missing now and she looks like a completely different person.
      It's absolutely unnecessary in my eyes, the idea and the dresses are so beautiful.

      Delete
    2. Although the photos are well taken, it would be nice if they had been more original, and moreover showed Kate’s individuality, rather than trying to mimic images of the past. I think she should have worn some of her own more modern pieces of jewellery instead of the pieces she chose.

      Delete
  23. Oh my gosh, Catherine's inner joy, peacefulness, and beauty simply radiate in these photographs. I love the cultural references and historical styling of them, they are wonderful.

    Border Terrier lover

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  24. could not agree more. i have seen many far more beautiful photos of her. her face and head seem disproportionately large. not that they are not beautiful....just not the most beautiful. i always think kate is the most gorgeous when her hair is up. very unpopular not to like her long locks i know. but i think there is an age at which women cannot pull of the long hair as well.

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  25. These new photos are much like the Vogue cover in that they want Kate without eye liner. Yes, she used too much early on, but that is her look. A portrait photo should like the person. These do not.

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  26. And thank you, Charlotte, for the wonderful review of the past 10 years!

    Border Terrier lover

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  27. I am torn on the photos. In the one hand they are pretty and very much in time what we have seen from other royal
    Houses for such an occasion. On the other hand, they really don’t look like her a lot. Especially the one with the red dress. That’s not her face is it? She looks more like CP Mary then herself. It reminds me a lot of her look for the Royal Variety Performance last year. Which was in November too. The smaller waves, the very different make up. Many speculated if she did something to her face because she looked completely different to before (and after). So I think she tried a new style but it didn’t really work, but now it’s set in stone because of the pictures. They are nice, and I love the idea of the more “regal” b/W shots but the red dress one is neither a look nor a pose she ever does. It looks fake. A little less editing would have helped too I guess.
    I like the first one best.
    And yes, they should have done one with a tiara. Because these pictures - they can be done by anyone basically. But she is going to be a Queen. A real modern regal portrait would be well deserved at that point. Maybe we get a decked out couple portrait for William’s birthday.
    C.

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  28. great post charlotte thanks as always for your hard work
    i love these photos especially the third one (side profile) she looks gorgeous and a photo that is truly befitting of a Queen. the photo is timeless and so regal. looks as if it was taken a hundred years ago. she looks beautiful love the outfit choices. happy 40th to kate man time flies.

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  29. Thank you Charlotte for taking the time and energy to put together the 40 photos - bought back some great memories and lovely looks of Catherine. Really appreciate the time and effort you always put into the blog.

    I'm not 100% sure of how I feel about the photos, but kudos to Catherine for working with different photographers and trying different looks and styles. How boring would it be if all portraits were the same year after year?!

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    Replies
    1. Agree—they are not my favorite photos ever, but I can appreciate her trying a different, more “stylized” look. I particularly like the third portrait that echoes Queen Victoria.

      Thank you for the wonderful trip down memory lane, Charlotte!

      Delete
  30. Oh Charlotte, what a great overview of the last 10 years of Kate's life! Thank you very much!

    I have waited so long for some beautiful pictures of Kate in evening gowns. I thought I would have to wait until she was the Princess of Wales, but I am so glad that I didn't. These are beautiful pictures and chosen with such care and thought that characterizes Kate. What a wonderful gift to us for her birthday!

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  31. Just beautiful. A lot of people here are writing that it does not look like Kate and the different eye make up is a huge factor. But this IS Kate and it IS a side of her she wants us and the world to sed...confident, bold, romantic, fresh faced...itbeautifulle says something of her. I love them all and cannot pick a favourite yet I have to comment on the sepie profile one...it is done so skillfully and her ring and earring stands out. Just WOW. I thought the Queen might give her an honorary gift.

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    1. I absolutely agree. I see the photos as the glam version of the Vogue shoot, which I thought captured Kate so perfectly. They look to me like photos Kate would have taken of herself. I think that was her reason for picking this particular photographer. A good photographer must not only capture an image of the person--and anyone who can skillfully use a camera can achieve that--but, capture the personality and character of the person. I think he did that marvelously. They are also formal portraits. How many of the Queen's past formal photographs, or paintings, show her with all her wrinkles and flaws? How many of the great paintings of the past capture every line and mole on the women's faces? The photographer said William and the kids chose the black and white closeup, and I can understand why. I see all the sweetness and fun of Kate's character in that photo. My favorite is the profile, though. The simplicity of it is timeless. I love that they didn't go for jewels and glitz. I don't think any jewels or tiaras are needed to make Kate look like queen. I love her hair, the gown, her choice of jewelry--with her (Diana's) ring on full display--and the lighting. Time enough for a full-on royal look when she does become Queen one day.

      Delete
  32. Stunning 😍

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  33. I love the photos and I love Kate. I just wish the photos actually looked like Kate. Except for the profile one, I would not have recognized her if I came across the photo out of context.

    I do however like the concept of the photos. We have lots of formal photos at events, lots of candid shot and lots of informal photos. But except for the vogue shoot we have never see Kate have fun in an artsy photoshoot. This is something different.

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  34. Nicole from France9 January 2022 at 09:47

    The photos are gorgeous , but it could be any woman , it is absolutely not Kate . She never looks herself on posed photos , that was already the case on the Vogue cover .....
    thank you for that splendid review , Charlotte , and I wish you all a very very good 2022 year (I must admit I was not very successfull in my wishes for the two previous years , but let’s hope , things have to change at the end !)

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    Replies
    1. Zora from Prague9 January 2022 at 16:44

      I respectfully disagree. This could not be any woman, not in a 100 years. The photos are different from the usual ones that we are used to but that's the point. They were intended for the National Portrait Gallery and they are perfect for that. They are remarkable for their artistic (and symbolic) quality plus they capture Kate's personality (as Libby and ali have said), her kindness and charm. Of course her family album will contain very different pictures from informal settings and going through the collection Charlotte has put together, we can enjoy the variety of looks and choose our favourites, but I'm sure these portraits will serve their purpose impeccably.

      Delete
    2. Well said Zora and I completely agree!!

      Delete
  35. Dear Charlotte,
    thank you again for this post. For me, it is not only a way to congratulate HRH The Duchess of Cambridge to her milestone birthday but also a moment to reflect on her life and work so far. I‘ve been following her way (thanks to your blog mainly) since before her wedding and I must say I admire her way of doing things more and more. She has grown into this role of hers. The images of 2012 you selected show a shy and insecure young women. Ten years later Catherine is confident enough to release artistic portraits that show her personal intrest in portrait photography. This is a courageous step when you’re such a public figure as she is. What a development! I think we will get to see more and more of the professional and personal side of Catherine in the future. I really look forward to it!
    Thank you for your insightful selection of photos, Charlotte, and your continuous dedication to the blog.

    Happy New Year 2022 to you all!

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    Replies
    1. Agree, these are courageous choices for Kate and emphasize to me, her personal growth and confidence. This is an artistic venture and it is very much in sync with her love of art, photography, and gives us a glimpse into Kates perspective. It isn't always about Kate, she is showing her appreciation of an art form and allowing another artist to use his skills to capture an effect, a moment, and a place in time. Agree with another poster there is much symbolism in these photos. There will be many tiara moments and official portraits in years to come, this reflects where Kate is at this time in her life. I think Kate has more strength of conviction and character than she is truly given credit for. I love the photos for what they are and love Kate more for putting herself out there.

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  36. Stunning !I cannot believe her beauty!

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  37. A very happy birthday to Catherine and thank you Charlotte for your wonderful post. However I can't say that I like these photos. They don't suit Catherine at all in my opinion. Everything seems much too large and the dresses don't suit the occasion.

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  38. The photographs are stunning! However, when I first saw the photos I was admiring them without realising that it was Kate! Despite these portraits being very striking I do not think the photographs in any way capture Kate's warmth, her beauty, and her inner beauty - I do not feel that the portraits reflect the Duchess we have come to know.

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  39. I for one feel that Catherine is performing a role in all of the portraits, which probably shouldn't be a surprise as being a duchess, princess or queen is besides many other things a role people expect you to perform. I cannot perceive much personal warmth in the pictures but rather a kind of toughness that may be very helpful while performing the role. Although being in a formal style, in the Beaton photos the Queen and Princess Margaret are much more personal and unguarded. Even while not looking at us.

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  40. Happy New Year everyone. Thank you Charlotte, what a great post!!! Happy 40th Birthday to Catherine. The photos are great and she is soooo wonderful. Her inner beauty shines through her eyes and smile. Amazing person. She deserves lots of "treats and celebrations"!!! (My favourite photo is the b/w one with the ruffled gown and her warm smile.)

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  41. The third photograph might be my favorite in terms of its being a royal birthday portrait—immediately it echoes previous royalty while having a modern stylistic twist. Also I like how her engagement ring is given prominence in that one. However I cannot stop looking at the first picture. She looks so young!!! How is she 40?!?

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  42. Happy Birthday, Kate! I do really like the photos although I do know what other posters mean when they say it doesn't look like her. As someone else said above, these are her, it's just that we're seeing a very different side to her than we normally see. I would have liked an additional picture with her hair up. However, it was a wonderful surprise to get any photo so I'm not complaining! Charlotte, thank you for the 'retrospective' - I loved the trip down memory lane. I felt that she moved very slowly and didn't do enough work for a long time but actually she really had achieved a lot in the last 10 years so she and William probably got the pace exactly right.

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  43. wow. these are stunning, just stunning. I have followed the blog for many years, this is my first time commenting. I love love love the images, as others have said they capture the Duchess wonderfully, they represent different aspects of who she is, in ways we have not seen before. I saw a small version of the red one on social media earlier and straightaway knew it was her. It captures confidence, style and a sense of fun. The close up image in sepia is so warm and engaging. I read elsewhere the photographer said the Duke and children had picked it. The side profile is a stunning regal shot, serene and very much evokes royal portraits of the past. The images send out a very strong signal from the Duchess - this is me, this is who I have grown into, this is the future - they are breathtaking.

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  44. Robin in Ontario9 January 2022 at 17:02

    I am struggling to find the words, because I do not want to be unnecessarily negative... but these are borderline awful to me. It doesn't even look like her and they are so dated and "glamour-shot" looking. I am truly surprised by these photos.

    The post is wonderful Charlotte! A great collection of images to look back on. Always fun!

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  45. Oh, oh, oh!!! These portraits are gorgeous!!! Thank you for a splendid review of some of Kate's most special moments as she reaches her 40th birthday. She has demonstrated an ability to grow into her role, and yes, she has known that role from the very beginning, and respected it. Kate is a natural, and William fell in love with a woman that the entire world has also fallen in love with. She's a wonderful, intelligent, and authentic woman to follow in Diana's footsteps. The RF is extraordinarily blessed to have her as an addition to their family. God bless Kate, Duchess of Cambridge!

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  46. First of all Charlotte thank you for the lovely post. So very enjoyable and a history of Catherine's growth into a royal stature.

    I wondered if you would post the photographer's comments on the photo shoot and his philosophy behind the photographs. It does help to have things in context.

    Also I would like to mention that although these photographs were released for Catherine's birthday they were actually shot for exhibition in the NPG and that is what would have determined the feel and substance of the photographs. Catherine would have knowledge of the intent and format of the exhibition and with her artistic ability the photographs will be perfect for the setting, just as her photographs for of Holocast survivors were for that setting although those photographs also were not to everyone's taste.

    I think the photographs are refreshing showing Catherine freed of the cast of her formal working life,with minimal make-up and hair flowing freely, very symbolic of how Royalty has changed from the times of the Queen Mother to now. The photographs express the modernity of the new generation evolving Royal tradition. I am looking forward very much to see the new exhibition at the NPG.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! People are saying the pictures are photoshopped instead of reading the purpose of the effects applied to them

      Delete
  47. Tammy from California9 January 2022 at 19:20

    These photos...breathtaking. What a fun post too Charlotte! So fun to see the last decade of Kate. I am not sure if anything for me will ever top the video they put out last year for their 10 year anniversary, but the black and white, side photo of her in these 3 pictures will go down as a favorite for me.

    Happy Birthday Kate!

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  48. Unfortunately I don’t like the potraits. They look too photoshopped and it doesn’t even look like her. Looks more like a glamour photo shoot than a regal potrait of the future Queen

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    Replies
    1. They have an sfumato effect as the photographer has explained, I wish people stop calling photoshop to anything that is done to a picture

      Delete
  49. I really like the profile picture of Kate. The dress, her seated, her nature hair cascading down her back IMHO is very pretty. I do think it looks like a picture Diana would have taken (remember Diana sitting in wedding dress?). That red McQueen is stunning, would really like to see that dress move at an actual event the DoC attends. The sepia photo in the ruffle dress - as much as I would like to see that dress - is a little off and I don't care for her hair in the photo. Perhaps she could have had two hair style instead?

    Charlotte - wow! That work accumulating all of those photos. Spectacular. That was no easy feat to pull all that work together. So many wonderful photos and memories. I really did love Kate's look when we wore the Erdem Evita dress and those BAFTA looks - stunning. Thank you.

    Happy Birthday Kate - I indeed think it's a special time when a women turns 40. I remember as a little girl hearing, "life begins at 40." It's very much a 'new you'. I still feel that birthday was the most special.

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  50. I like this. Good advice. I hope Kate reads it. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-10376143/Dear-Kate.html (Also, wouldn't you just love to see this photo? "In the end I wanted to take some moving pictures, so with that wonderful wide skirt I made her dance in front of my lens, a sort of accelerated waltz mixed with a pinch of rock'n'roll”. And it’s a secret image for now.")

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    Replies
    1. OMG RM, what a lovely article, and ageless advice for all women. And yes, I too hope that we get to see this photo one day! Feels like the photographer was able to see and capture another side to our Kate! BRAVO!

      Delete
  51. I think the one everyone refers to Queen Victoria might also be inspired by Alice in Wonderland

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  52. Happy Birthday lovely Duchess. And, thank you Charlotte for putting together such a wonderful retrospective.

    That said, I must confess that I do not like the new pictures taken by Paolo Roversi. They don’t even resemble Kate. She is such a beautiful woman, and the makeup and hair, in these pictures is all wrong, in my opinion.

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  53. I had to look twice to recognise Kate. I like the profile photo best. It reminds me of the portrait of Empress Elisabeth (Sisi) of Austria. https://images.app.goo.gl/5iF31JfaGDvuiEkQA

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    Replies
    1. Elizabeth, London12 January 2022 at 10:35

      Hmm, not really flattering to be compared to her, she was an incredibly vain woman.....

      Delete
    2. Was she vain? I wouldn't say that. She had a tragic life and she is a legendary figure for many reasons, her beauty is of course one of them. And her portrait is wonderful.

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    3. Elizabeth, London16 January 2022 at 05:15

      Well, I've read that she was obsessively concerned with maintaining her youthful figure and beauty.

      Delete
    4. She was obsessed, but that must be seen in the context from which that obsession came. This is a short article about her life that gives information about the difficulties she faced, her significant accomplishments, and yes, her obsession with appearance. https://www.thoughtco.com/biography-of-empress-elisabeth-of-austria-4173728

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  54. Thank you for this overview. Very informative.

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  55. What a wonderful retrospective, Charlotte – thank you so much! My favourite photo of them all is the one at Charlotte’s christening when the Duchess wore a cream outfit and is smiling down at baby Charlotte. Such a beautiful image!

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  56. The trio of photos has a unifying element, ie long and loose flowing hair lifted by the wind. Perhaps signifying a free spirited woman. Is that the message from Kate on her 40th birthday?

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  57. I prefer the painted portrait over these photos, not because I particuraly like the portrait, but because it signals a certain stature, as in a role or a function, something serious and steadfast.

    The photos are lovely - but what is Kate saying here? The bare shoulder, the well placed hand, hair in the wind. These are images of a 25 year old romantic, or an it-girl.

    Maybe it's just that I feel that they are a bit out of touch - maybe even old fashioned. I desperately want to be amused these locked-down days - but not by taking a step back.

    Heidi

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    Replies
    1. For me there is a fairly clear message to the combination of portraits. The first (profile) picture is very reminiscent of the queens/princesses of old. The sepia close-up have a strong 80’s feel and remind me of the b&w Testino did of Diana. And the third picture is a completely different look for a modern day princess.

      It says something about how Kate is the latest in a long line of princesses. But also how the role of princess has changed and keep on changing through the years.

      Delete
    2. Very good observation RachelZA!

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    3. Elizabeth, London12 January 2022 at 10:34

      Heidi: I completely agree with your sentiments.

      Delete
  58. She’s so amazing and stunning. I love the third picture, so so Winterhalter !

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  59. Lynn, befuddled in SC10 January 2022 at 14:47

    I didn’t even know this was Kate!

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  60. Hi Charlotte.

    Thank you for the retrospective. You did a very good job highlighting Kate’s time in the spotlight. With so many images to choose from, I imagine it was a lot of work. Well done and much appreciated. (When I just read your post, I was focusing on the new portraits, and didn’t take the time to read through the rest until this morning. Seems like the majority of comments were about the new portraits, but hopefully the other readers were like me and eventually caught up with your great post!)

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  61. The photographer reported that Prince William and the children picked one of the photos to be used....it was "the close-up shot of Kate smiling in a one-shoulder dress with her hair swept over her shoulders, and according to the photographer, it's "where a carefree girl returns." So it would appear that Kate's family, saw Kate in these photos!!

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  62. I love these photos! I doubt they would have been released if Kate, William, the Queen, her parents and siblings didn't all love them. Beautiful. My favorite is the one in red ..but, a hard choice, 😊. Happiness, joy, character, symbolism, bravery .. all shine through. Brava, Kate!!

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  63. I'm simply amazed that people cannot see the difference between cheap mall glamour shots and these studio portraits. There is SUCH a difference! I do understand why people don't like these, but I like them very much for their artistry on a number of levels.

    I do like the Victorian style portrait the best, but the one of Kate in the red dress captures my imagination of a fun-loving, kind, and warm beauty.

    One thing that struck me is how pretty Catherine makes that red dress look, and how ugly it looks on the designer's model. Why, oh why do they think a pouting model makes a dress attractive? And the stance this model has: she looks like an angry child being forced to dress up, and her shoes scream rebellion at the very idea of glamour. The combination makes me wonder why any woman would find this dress appealing, but then you look at Kate's portrait in the dress, and you immediately see its possibilities realized.

    Charlotte, thank you for the wonderful retrospective. I admire you for sticking to "only" 40 images! Well done.

    Here's to 40 more happy years for the Duchess of Cambridge, and more after that.

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    Replies
    1. Zora from Prague10 January 2022 at 21:39

      You said it all so well, Marci Andy! Thank you for your insight!

      Delete
  64. I didn't know that she wore Diana's pearl bracelet as well. A beautiful touch and nod to the late Princess of Wales. S. ☺

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  65. Interesting the comments are splited. True, the pictures are different to the snapshots we are used to.
    Those photographs are works of art. I have read somewhere that Kate had the possibility of having her portrait painted but she chose photography.
    I think they could be better discussed and understood as portraits.

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    1. I agree Natacha, they are in my opinion historical portraits, and they do look like Catherine to me as she now looks at 40 and as she wants to be represented in "portraits" that will be representative for hundreds of years.

      Delete
  66. I think I'm getting the photos finally -- I read that Kate is very interested in Victorian photographs. There's an article in People, "How Kate Middleton Was Inspired by Royal Portraits of the Past foe Her 40th Birthday Photoshoot." The article has some lovely photographs of the Queen and the Queen Mother. But the older photographs are very rich in detail and in light/dark contrast. Kate's photos just look washed out to me and could have been much more interesting and vibrant.

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  67. This is truly a wonderful recap-post on the activities of the Duchess of Cambridge in 40 great photos and commentaries. Thank you very much. Happy birthday to the Duchess!

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  68. I just read an article on people.com where the photographer says Kate was “fearful” going into the shoot. He notes that she’s bombarded by photographers but not used to posing. He claims she loosened up during the session, but I’m wondering if the “doesn’t look like her” sentiments are a reflection of her being tentative while in front of the camera? After all, we’re used to photographers capturing her in action, interacting with other people. That kind of interaction might bring out her warmth and authenticity, whereas the photographer-directed posing could leave her feeling sort of self-conscious and flat. Just a thought. Hopefully, she’s pleased with the results.

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  69. Beautiful retrospective of photos--some of my favorites there! Thank you.

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  70. hmm happy birthday duchess Catherine hmm im love the third photo the side black aand white

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  71. As I noted way above, I love the photographs and feel they depict Catherine's inner light beautifully, regardless if it is a sepia/B&W or color photograph.

    For everyone saying they don't look like Catherine, I suspect it is because they don't look like how the viewer thinks Catherine should look (if that makes sense ... It does to me anyway). Our inner thinking of how someone should appear does not always match reality.

    And to say that someone looks different, well the same could be said for each and every one of us, depending on the day, the outfit, what we we are thinking about in that millisecond a photo is taken, and maybe even the jokes the photographer told or music that was playing at the time. I love that William and the children selected the one photograph and I can certainly understand why. There is so much joy and happiness coming through that it makes me smile back too.

    Border Terrier lover

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  72. Zora from Prague12 January 2022 at 07:32

    Exactly, Border Terrier lover! I also thought about how very different we look at various photographs.

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  73. Elizabeth, London12 January 2022 at 10:49

    I feel that Kate looked absolutely incredible at her 2014 National Portrait Gallery engagement; Charlotte has included a photo here. Interestingly, she had her hair very long then, as it is now.

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  74. It makes sense Border Terrier and you are right, these are unexpected photos, with an added artistic effect, that makes us look at them differently. It's still Catherine though and I can totally see the family choosing the photo they did, her smile and light in her eyes is very evident, it makes me smile too! I am sure they felt her love!

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  75. These blurry, sepia with gentle wind blown looks are meant to beautify and harken to romance and the good old days. For Americans, it’s Norman Rockwell, for Brits, it’s the fictional James Herriot’s Jerusalem. These photos are aimed at women as we are the hardcore consumers. You can get similar portraits done and they are popular for weddings, engagements, and other watershed announcements. People can opt for color and black and white copies too.

    As people aged, there’s a lot more use of photoshopping to minimize flaws. There’s nothing wrong with that. We’ve gotten cards from people with similar heavily edited photos. The only jarring thing is if you see people in real life or in untouched photos, it can be a bit of a psychological let down. The problem with photoshop and what gets put on digital and printed media is when it clashes with reality.

    It’s unfortunate for women as there’s far more pressure placed on us about our appearances. Our looks are our worth which often is followed by the usual defensive trope- it’s the inside that counts. Yet outward appearance is how we often judge people and treat them accordingly.

    The world wants fantasy right now. The monarchy needs it badly too. The only danger here is at some point, most of us must return to the real world where our problems can’t be photoshopped away.

    Grateful

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  76. These photos are really artistic, and Kate looks stunning as always, with or without Photoshop. But I'm so sad that we haven't seen her for a month...

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  77. You may be interested to see that NYTimes paid notice in its Styles section to the birthday photos and mentioned past references, but only mentioned the Queen, P. Margaret & Diana--completely missed the Victorian references. They called it The Romance of the Royal Portrait. https://www . nytimes . com/2022/01/10/style/catherine-duchess-of-cambridge-birthday-portraits.html

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing this article. It is a well written combination of some of the opinions shared in this blog about the symbolism of these photos. I love that others can state so well and so so much better than I can, what I feel about these photos!

      Delete
    2. Another aspect to this is that I doubt these were photoshopped. Photoshop is great for those of us with basic camera skills. But professional photographers use filters, lighting, stop setting and a number of other techniques to create certain looks. (One portrait photographer I know literally uses Vaseline on a lens cover.)

      Delete
  78. Hi, I wanted to share something & encourage all of you to do this, if you haven't in a while. I went back & watched Will & Kate's Engagement Interview! It was amazing!! I've seen in countless times before, but viewing it at this moment in time, knowing how she has lived her life & has emerged as this amazing asset to the Royal Family.... One can really see that this ability she has to live out the "long game", really was always there & it's wonderful to realize what a self-aware, insightful person she is & these traits have stood the test of time. As we often say.... The British Royal Family & the whole UK is so fortunate to have her!! xoxo

    Becca USA

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    Replies
    1. Zora from Prague21 January 2022 at 11:50

      Thanks for the tip, Becca! 😊

      Delete
  79. Haven't seen Kate in what seems forever. I wonder what's going on? I remember hearing that W and K were anxious to get back to work and get out there. I wonder if Andrew's troubles are causing them to lay low?
    Beth in SF

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  80. Alejandra Campos26 January 2022 at 05:46

    Splendid recap!!
    She truly has changed the world by opening the conversation about mental health!!
    May She Be Blessed!!

    And so you Miss Charlotte!! Thank you for all your hard work

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