LONDON – Paolo Roversi has captured the Duchess of Cambridge in a series of dreamy, soft-edged portraits meant to mark the royal’s 40th birthday on January 9.
The portraits, released Sunday on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Twitter account, show Catherine Middleton dressed in three different outfits by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen.
Middleton has been wearing McQueen regularly since Burton designed her wedding gown nearly 11 years ago.
In one of the portraits, the Duchess is wearing a silk jacquard lace organza and tulle dress made from the fabric remnants of past collections.
In another, she’s pictured in an off-the-shoulder tulle dress with gathered ribbon detailing. In the third one, she dons a one-shoulder flower dress in red poly faille.
All three images have a painterly look, and recall the images that Cecil Beaton shot of Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. At the same time, they also convey a sense of informality: the Duchess’ hair is soft and wavy, she’s wearing minimal jewelry and looks relaxed.
Kensington Palace said the new 40th birthday portraits will be shown “in the community in three meaningful places: Berkshire, St. Andrews and Anglesey as part of the National Portrait Gallery’s ‘Coming Home’ exhibition,” which takes place ahead of the physical gallery reopening in 2023.
The three images, shot at Kew Gardens in London last November, will enter the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery, of which the Duchess of Cambridge is patron.
The three venues where the photos will be displayed are meaningful for different reasons: Berkshire, England, not far from London, is where Middleton grew up, and where her parents still live, while the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland, is where she first met, and began dating, Prince William.
Anglesey, in Wales, was where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent the first years of their married life when Prince William was training to become a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot in the Royal Air Force. They lived in a country cottage in Wales before returning to London to live at Kensington Palace in 2013.
Roversi said in a statement that taking the portraits of the Duchess was a “true honor, and a moment of pure joy. 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.”