The Duchess of Cambridge recently celebrated her 40th birthday with new portraits, and had a little bit of help from her family when choosing which photographs to share with the world.
Acclaimed fashion photographer Paolo Roversi revealed that Prince William and the couple’s three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, helped pick one of the three portraits that were released over the weekend to mark Kate Middleton’s milestone birthday.
He told Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera that the family landed on a shot of Kate smiling straight at the camera with her loose, wavy hair swept over her shoulders, while wearing a one-shoulder ruffled dress.
The other two photographs of Kate that were revealed to the public include a black-and-white portrait of the duchess sitting in a traditional side profile pose and a full-colour portrait of Kate in a bold red one-shoulder dress.
In the more traditional photograph, Roversi said Kate’s pose is “regal and has a maturity that goes beyond her age, and the white dress dampens the seriousness of an effigy”.
She wears a white tulle gown paired with a pair of pearl earrings that previously belonged to her late mother-in-law, Diana, Princess of Wales.
In this photo, she also wears her 12-carat oval sapphire engagement ring, which contains 14 diamonds that also once belonged to Diana.
Meanwhile, the full-colour photograph is a “little more glamorous”, as the photographer wanted each portrait to show a “different” side of the duchess. She accessorised the vibrant red gown with a pair of drop diamond earrings loaned to her by the Queen.
Roversi also explained that he chose to style Kate’s portraits using “only natural light, little makeup and no hairstyle” for a more “contemporary” feel.
The shoot also included Kate dancing in a dress with a “wide skirt”, but the images have not yet been revealed to the public. Roversi said he shot around 250 photographs, which were whittled down to around 70 after editing.
“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, adding: “It’s a secret image for now.”
Describing what it was like to work with Kate, the photographer said the duchess was “a nice, welcoming woman who puts you at ease and is respectful of everyone’s work”.
She also had “bursts of joie de vivre” and was “open, generous, luminous”, Roversi added.
The Duchess’ portraits will enter the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery, where she is Patron, and will also be displayed in Berkshire, St Andrews and Anglesey throughout the year.
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