When selecting which portraits she would share to commemorate her 40th birthday this month, Kate Middleton took the advice of her husband Prince William and their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.
In an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera, the photographer behind those royal images, Paolo Roversi, explained the process that went into creating a more modern image of the Duchess of Cambridge. He revealed that her family helped her go through all the photos taken in November at London’s Kew Gardens and make the final selection about which photos to show the public. Roversi explains that they ultimately chose the close-up of Kate wearing a white dress in which she is smiling at the camera with her hair swept behind one shoulder, an image he says is “where a carefree girl returns.”
The photographer added that each of the three portraits is meant to show a “different” side of the royal. The black-and-white shot where she is pictured in profile, a classic pose in royal portraiture, “is regal and has a maturity that goes beyond her age, and the white dress dampens the seriousness of an effigy.” Another portrait, which shows Kate in a red one-shoulder gown, on the other hand, is “a little more glamorous.” Above all, Roversi explains that he wanted to create a “contemporary” portrait of the Duchess, using “only natural light, little makeup, and no hairstyle.”
He also teased that there are many more images yet to be shared from their photoshoot together, including one of the royal dancing. “In the end I wanted to take pictures in motion, so with that wonderful wide skirt I made her dance in front of my camera, a kind of accelerated waltz mixed with a pinch of rock ’n roll,” Roversi said. Kate’s portraits will be put on display in three places that hold special meaning to her over the course of 2022—Berkshire, St. Andrews, and Anglesey—before ultimately being added to the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery. The portraits will also be included in the Gallery’s forthcoming “Coming Home” project featuring portraits of well-known people in places they’ve become closely associated with.
More Great Stories From Vanity Fair
— Camilla: The Controversial Figure Who May Become Queen
— Ghislaine Maxwell’s Guilty Verdict Comes Into Question
— Caitríona Balfe’s Celtic Conquest, From Outlander to Belfast
— Can a New Perfume Rekindle Eroticism?
— The Queen Is Mourning Two of Her Ladies-in-Waiting
— 21 Wardrobe Winners Inspired by And Just Like That…
— The Life and Death of Rosanne Boyland, a Capitol Rioter
— From the Archive: Princesses Behaving Badly
— Sign up for “The Buyline” to receive a curated list of fashion, books, and beauty buys in one weekly newsletter.