Kate Middleton’s 40th birthday portraits are in — and they’re fabulous. A true testament to her perfect taste, they express her bold, beautiful, and individual style while showing reverence for the royal family’s history.
As we know, the royals are all about upholding tradition. These include following the rules for sitting (knees and ankles together, only crossing the ankles if necessary), always including myrtle (a flower signifying love and luck) in a wedding bouquet, and packing a black mourning outfit when traveling in the case of a sudden family death while they are away from the Palace.
However, one of the most anticipated and celebrated of these traditions is Royal portraiture. For her 40th birthday, the ever-elegant and never boring Duchess of Cambridge sat for photographer Paolo Roversi at Kew Gardens (also known as the Royal Botanic Gardens) in London.
The portraits will be unveiled at St. Andrews, Anglesey, and Berkshire before they are formally exhibited at The National Portrait Gallery for the museum’s ‘Coming Home’ exhibition.
In her collaboration with Roversi, the Duchess embraces her love for Victorian-era photography, as seen in the first sepia-toned photo. Although she wears her hair down, the portrait intentionally mimics the style of that time period, most notably Middleton’s shoulder-baring, filmy chiffon dress. The second photo, also in sepia, is reminiscent of her late mother-in-law Princess Diana, who used to pose for the camera with a similar close-up, radiant smile (see: the amazing Mario Testino’s body of work). Kate also wears Diana’s jewelry in the first photo: A pair of pearl earrings, and her famous sapphire engagement ring.
Although the first two photos are obvious homages to great women who came before, the third, in which she wears another stunning one-shouldered gown (in red this time) and glittering diamond earrings borrowed from the Queen, reflects none but the fabulous Kate herself. These portraits confirm that the mother of three and style maven has unquestionably come into her own and claimed a memorably unique place within the Royal Family.
Roversi told People magazine he wanted to keep the portraits “contemporary” by using “only natural light, little makeup, and no hairstyle.” And we haven’t even seen all the photos yet — in the People story, Roversi shared that he had the Duchess dance for him in some shots, playing “a kind of accelerated waltz mixed with a pinch of rock ‘n roll” to get her moving.
Forty has never looked so fierce! We can’t wait to see what else the Duchess has in store over the coming years.